Add “awesome sleeper” to your list of must-have traits in a partner (right up there with “good at making zucchini pasta”), because according to a new study in Psychoneuroendocrinology, when bae has a terrible night of sleep, you both suffer the consequences. At first glance, that seems pretty obvious—who hasn’t been woken up by their partner thrashing about in the throes of an intense calf cramp—but it goes beyond being a little cranky the next morning. It can actually trigger disease-causing inflammation in a way that’s specific to couples.
See, researchers found that when both people in the relationship don’t get adequate sleep (we’re talking seven hours), they became more likely to argue, and those arguments contribute to cytokine production in the body, which causes inflammation. For each hour of sleep lost, inflammatory markers rose by six percent. “Part of the issue in a marriage is that sleep patterns often track together. If one person is restless, or has chronic problems, that can impact the other’s sleep. If these problems persist over time, you can get this nasty reverberation within the couple,” says Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, senior author and director of the Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research.