A new study from the big brains at UC Berkeley suggests that spouses or live-in paramours who complain of feeling unappreciated probably aren't getting enough sleep, which is turning them into selfish sourpusses too sleep-deprived to offer simple tokens of gratitude like saying, "Thank-you my dearest dearie dear, my honey pot of sweet, sweet love, my jigsaw counterpart, my talking orgasm machine, for not stuffing chicken bones down the garbage disposal."
Lead researcher Amie Gordon, a UC Berkeley psychologist investigating the ways in which sleep deprivation can impact gratitude among couples, is presenting her findings today, probably as we're all still wiping the sleep out of our eyes, at a convocation of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology in New Orleans. "Poor sleep," explained Gordon, "may make us more selfish as we prioritize our own needs over our partner's." The findings show that partners who slumber together are often emotionally interdependent to such a degree that if one partner is restive one night, their sleep deprivation will negatively affect their partner. Not sleeping well makes partners less attuned to each other's moods and sensitivities, so instead of your SO, say, stubbing his toe and reciting an alphabetical litany of swear words like a normal, well-rested human, he flips over the kitchen trash can, covers himself in used coffee filters, and screams, "I AM THE SWAMP THING! FEAR ME, SHARP TABLE LEGS!"
Gordon, along with fellow Berkeley psychologist Serena Chen, studied more than 60 couples with ages ranging from 18-56. Gordon and Chen first had these couples record a sleep diary, in which they were instructed to make note of how their sleeping patterns (whether good or bad) affected their appreciation of their significant other. Couples were also videotaped trying to collaborate on problem-solving tasks. Guess which couples sucked at problem solving? That's right — the poor sleepers sucked at problem solving because they were busy complaining about how too goddamn tired they were to participate in a stupid experiment so that some Berkeley Ph.D. candidates can go to New Orleans and party at a scientific convention.
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