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Lack of sleep may make people less appreciative towards their significant other

Not getting a good night's rest may be negatively affecting your love life.

A UC Berkeley study shows that poor sleeping habits may lead to couples feeling unappreciated. Often times, not getting the required amount of shut eye can leave people "too tired to say thanks."

"Poor sleep may make us more selfish as we prioritize our own needs over our partner's," Amie Gordon, a UC Berkeley psychologist and lead investigator of the study, said in a press release.

The National Sleep Foundation said that adults need at least seven to nine hours of sleep. Lack of sleep can lead to increased risks of motor vehicle accidents, obesity, diabetes, heart problems and psychiatric conditions. It can also decrease a person's ability to pay attention, remember or react to stimuli.

More than 60 couples between the ages of 18 to 56 were enrolled in two experiments for the study. In the first task, couples were asked to keep a journal about their sleep patterns and write how they thought the quality of their sleep affected how they felt about their significant other. The second task required couples to be video taped while they did problem-solving tasks.

Both experiments showed that people who had a bad night's sleep the day before were less appreciative towards their partner. The study did not prove that sleep had any affect on attitude, but just that the two events were associated with each other.

In order to combat the bad mood, Gordon suggested that people should make a conscious effort to show gratitude.

"Make sure to say 'thanks' when your partner does something nice," Gordon said. "Let them know you appreciate them."

The study's findings were presented on Jan. 19 at the Society for Personality and Social Psychologists annual meeting in New Orleans.

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