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Lack of sleep increases bickering in couples

Narrator:       This is Science Today. People are much more likely to lash out at their romantic partners over relationship conflicts after a bad night's sleep. This, according to new research from the University of California, Berkeley. Amie Gordon, a doctoral student in psychology, led the study.

Gordon:          We know that when we don't get enough sleep, our brain is just not all there. We don't have those resources, particularly what they call executive functioning, so that higher-order complicated thinking and that's really what's going to govern our relationships is this need to step into your partner's shoes and see how they're thinking and feeling and what we're finding in our research is that there's less of that, so you are less likely to perspective take, you experience more negative emotions, there's more conflict in the relationship we're finding. And how much is that a function just of the fact that you're not getting enough sleep?

Narrator:       Previously, Gordon and her colleagues found that poor sleep had a negative impact on romantic relationships, but these new findings shed more light on how bad sleep compromises couples' ability to avoid and manage conflict. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.