Sleep problems that persist after a divorce can be harmful to your health

Posted on July 23, 2014

Photo: flickr

A growing body of research links divorce to significant negative health effects and even early death, yet few studies have looked at why that connection may exist.

"In the initial few months after a separation, sleep problems are probably pretty normal, and this is an adjustment process that people can typically cope with well," said UA associate professor of psychology David Sbarra.

"But sleep problems that persist for an extended period may mean that people are potentially becoming depressed, that they're struggling with getting their life going again, and it is these people that are particularly susceptible to health problems," Sbarra said.

The study looked at 138 people who had physically separated from or divorced their partner about 16 weeks before the start of the study.

Participants were asked to report on their quality of sleep during three lab visits over a seven-and-a-half-month period, using the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, which takes into consideration sleep issues ranging from tossing and turning to snoring to difficulty falling and staying asleep. Participants' blood pressure also was measured at each of the three lab visits.

Although researchers did not observe a relationship between sleep complaints and blood pressure levels at the participants' first lab visits, they did observe a delayed effect, with participants showing increased systolic and diastolic blood pressure in later visits as a function of earlier sleep problems.

"We saw changes in resting blood pressure were associated with sleep problems three months earlier. Earlier sleep problems predicted increases in resting blood pressure over time," Sbarra said.

In addition, the researchers found that the longer peoples' sleep problems persisted after their separation, the more likely those problems were to have an adverse effect on blood pressure.

To read the full article, please click on the link below.


Category(s):Divorce / Divorce Adjustment, Sleep Disorders

Source material from Medical News Today


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