40 percent of marriages in America end in divorce. Those who have seen their marriage crumble rarely describe the process in a positive light. The litigation, the loss of income, and the sudden social adjustments can be as emotionally difficult as the death of a child or loved one.
Sleepless nights caused by anxiety and depression can be expected, especially for women. A study published in the July issue of the journal SLEEP shows women reported the worst sleep in the years following divorce or a loss of a partner. Women in stable relationships have far better sleep quality.
370 middle-aged women from various ethnic and social backgrounds in four major U.S. metropolitan areas participated in the study. Each year they reported their relationship status to researchers, who then monitored their sleep for three nights. A polysomnographic sleep study and wrist actigraphy measured their sleep architecture, duration and number of disturbances.
In addition to widows and divorcees, newlyweds were also more restless. The authors of the study told the AASM there may be a ‘newlywed effect’, because women are still adjusting to sleeping with a partner.