It's more than sex: exploring the dyadic nature of sleep and implications for health

Psychosom Med. 2010 Jul;72(6):578-86. doi: 10.1097/PSY.0b013e3181de7ff8. Epub 2010 May 13.


Sleep is a critical health behavior and one that is typically shared between husbands and wives or romantic partners. However, the science of sleep has traditionally conceptualized and evaluated sleep at the level of the individual. Considering the social context of sleep represents a significant shift in sleep research and also offers a critical opportunity for investigating sleep as a novel pathway linking close relationships with health. The purpose of this review is to integrate research that focuses on how sleep affects or is affected by close relationship functioning and to provide a heuristic framework for understanding the interface between close relationships, sleep, and health. Exploring the links between close relationships and sleep may contribute to our understanding of why some relationships confer health benefits, whereas others confer health risks.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biological Clocks / physiology
  • Family Conflict / psychology
  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Health*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Marriage / psychology*
  • Oxytocin / physiology
  • Sleep / physiology*
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / psychology
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / psychology
  • Spouses / psychology


  • Oxytocin