sleep disturbances – the emotional response to divorce
how relationships affect sleep
Across the globe relationships are increasingly ending in divorce. The effects of divorce are widely felt by those involved. Almost 50 percent of all marriages in the United States will end in divorce or separation.
How well you sleep is affected by your day to day experiences, and by your psychological well-being How you feel about your current and expected lifestyle is a significant determinant of how well you sleep.
Whether you were expecting the divorce you are likely to suffer some sleep disturbances because of it. Lack of sleep can make it more difficult for you to handle the whole process of divorce.
A good night’s sleep is key to processing the changes in your life, and the emotions that are an inevitable part of divorce. Divorce is difficult. It is an emotional time for the whole family. It is a time during which it is essential that you and your family get the best rest you can.
In this article we investigate the effect of divorce on the family, and we make recommendations on how to improve your sleep.
The Negative Impact of Divorce on Sleep
The US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, in a quest to understand the impact of divorce on sleep, studied 70 volunteers who were in the process of ending their marriages. The sleep patterns of the separating couples was compared to those of married couples of the same age.
The study found that every one of the 70 people who were separating had less delta sleep wave sleep than the married people in the same age group.
This research suggests that divorce and separation have a negative impact on the quality of sleep of the couple undergoing the breakup of their marriage.
Divorce is stressful and stress effects on our sleep patterns. Our bodies automatically attempt to protect us from the threat which has caused the stress. This influences the central nervous system and can significantly affect our quality of sleep.
Each of us has a circadian rhythm which tells us when to sleep and when to awaken. It is closely connected to our central nervous system. A circadian system which is out of sync can cause many sleep problems.
Delta wave sleep is the recuperative sleep that takes place during the third stage of your sleep cycle. It is also known as slow wave sleep. It is essential for our good health as it restores the body in ways that the other sleep stages do not.
It is the slow wave sleep that helps us to overcome sleep deprivation. It is during slow wave sleep that our cells are rejuvenated and repaired. When we have had insufficient sleep our bodies automatically counteract the lack of sleep by factoring in a higher percentage of slow wave sleep.
Sleep Will Improve in Time
Divorce brings with it many changes not least of all sleeping alone. It can take a while to get used to these changes which can lead to persistent sleep problems long after the divorce is finalized.
In the study discussed above, 61 of the research subjects who had gone through marital separations were interviewed a year after the initial study. 42 of the 61 subjects had finalised their divorces in the year prior.
Every one of the 42 subjects had improved delta sleep, proving that once the divorce is finalised sleep quality is often restored. How quickly you recover your sleep patterns will depend entirely upon you.
Research supports the idea that good stable relationships are vital to a good night’s sleep. It could be argued that the effects of divorce on healthy sleep is part of the larger social picture.
Besides being a necessary part of a healthy lifestyle, sleeping with a partner has a social side too. Fights before bedtime, or the inability of one of the partners to sleep, can affect the sleep of both partners. It may even lead to insomnia.
A 2011 poll found that 70% of adults had a sleeping partner. Surprisingly nearly all of them (67%) said that the movements of their sleeping partners affected their sleep. Sleeping partners with sleep problems may upset their partner’s quality of sleep. This could, in turn, lead to upsets in the relationship.
Your relationship, regardless of your marital status, has the potential to cause any number of sleep disorders. It is, therefore, essential that you see the signs of trouble ahead of a break up and take the time to deal with them.
Relationship problems can negatively impact on your sleep patterns and ultimately on your mental health.
Divorce stresses the entire family. If you are going through a divorce your children may well have a problem with sleep. During this uncertain and stressful time children need reassurance. They need to know that both their parents still love them, and that they are not in any way responsible for the separation.
Children need the assurance that they will continue to live a comfortable life with their needs fulfilled. Children who do not have this reassurance may suffer from stress and anxiety related to the separation. This may cause sleep disorders.
Sleep disorders may take the form of nightmares and bed-wetting. It is not uncommon for children suffering from anxiety to wake up frightened in the night. Your child’s sleep should start to improve once your divorce has been finalised.
Children react differently to stressful life situations. Some may quickly adjust to the changes while others may need counselling to help them to come to terms with the changes in their lives.
Many people believe that our dreams are a subconscious reflection of our everyday lives. Life’s major changes, including divorce, cause much stress and anxiety. Our daily routines are severely affected. Our dreams are likely to reflect these anxieties and emotional upheavals. Dreams help us to absorb the effects of changes and to make the changes necessary to move on.
A research team studying dreams and their effect on depression found that the women who had the longest and most detailed dreams that dealt with the problems that they faced were better able to adapt to the situation. They did not become depressed. depression. The team studied women going through a divorce against a control group.
The researcher’s conclusion was that the dreams helped the women to adapt. Those who were depressed had shorter less detailed dreams. Later follow up found that those who had overcome the symptoms of depression were now having more positive dreams which reflected a happier marital state.
Disclaimer : This article provides basic information only and is not a substitute for a professional or legal advice. It is prudent to obtain legal advice from a family lawyer.