Sleep and Emotional Regulation

By | July 15, 2009

sleeping-trouble-tired-angrySleep is one of the most key elements in emotional and relational health. Sleep is a process within which your body rejuvenates. I am not referencing merely resting, it is a time when the body-mind repairs itself. It is during rapid eye movement or REM that you actually rest and your body is restored.We live in a time when technology and demands for our time has never been greater on individuals, couples, and families. Persons experiencing emotional or relational distress are often lacking in their sleep. Sleep does not often cause these problems but is a catalyst to conflict in relationships if not managed and honored. Erratic and inconsistent sleep can fuel a lack of rational reasoning and prompt reactivity in relationships.

Research indicates that the average adult needs eight hours of sleep to be fully healthy and have access to your emotional resources and to be able to regulate smoothly ones emotions. You can often get by with a bit more or less but over time it does and will catch up with you. This is called sleep debt, a lack of that builds up like accrued debt and wears on ones ability to regulate emotion. Often I find that individuals and couples in relationships find themselves fighting when they are tired and lacking sleep. Clients report of debates and caustic statements that are made late in the evening or when they are struggling with a history of sleep debt. These statements are often impulsive and quickly undermine the relationship.

Get your sleep! Not simply to feel rested per se, but to have all your cognitive and emotional resources at your disposal. Want more information on sleep? Get more details about sleep, levels of sleep, sleep debt, etc at this link on sleeping and health.

Copyright: No part of this article in section or full may be reproduced without permission from the author Justin Stum, MS LMFT. The one and only exception is for educational purposes and only if the contact information below for the author is fully cited here in article. Justin Stum, MS LMFT, 640 E. 700 S. Suite 103, St. George Utah 84770? 435-574-9193,

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