Talking Before Bedtime Improves Your Relationship and Your Health

by Arthur Evans
pillow talk

According to a study carried out by researchers at the Gonzaga University in Washington, couples who share good news before bedtime were healthier and happier than couples who didn’t.

The study in question found that something as simple and readily available as pillow talk helps couples get more of their well-deserved good night’s rest, helps them feel more intimate, and also helps control their stress levels in the long run. The study’s findings also suggest that couples who spent more time talking in bed had a reduced probability of getting age-related diseases such as heart disease and hypertension, which we already know are often caused by chronic stress and a lack of sleep.

The study, which is part of a larger research project called the Study for Employment Retention of Veterans (SERVe), involved 162 post-9/11 military couples in Oregon who had been married for at least six months. The study also adds to the large body of research finding that sharing is important for relationship satisfaction and couples health.

Study Background

While an active and vibrant sex life is bound to make any sexual relationship work, there are other things you could do in bed to make your relationship flourish. Pillow talk is a good example of a bedtime activity that is bound to boost intimacy levels and with that, reduce stress and anxiety levels in both parties. As the social psychologist, Sarah Arpin, who participated in the study explains it, their study adds to a growing body of research emphasizing the importance of sharing in intimate relationships.

happy couple bedroom conversationsIntimacy in close relationships is achieved through sharing your experiences and being happy for your partner. On the other hand, when one or both partners fail to share their experiences and happiness, the relationship can become rocky according to other research. Previous research has also proved that failure to share your partner’s happiness is more than likely to lead to relationship dissolution if not long-term misery and poor health. This is because most people need emotional support from their life partners in order to handle daily stressors. The study’s findings were presented at the 2017 Society for Personality and Social Psychology Annual Convention.

About the Study

However, the study conducted by researchers at the Gonzaga University in Washington is unique among studies on the role of relationship satisfaction in marriage and health outcomes. This is because the study recruited former service members who dealt with some unique challenges in their work and even when they return home from their service.

Sarah Arpin explained at the 2017 Society for Personality and Social Psychology Annual Convention that military couples are more vulnerable to difficulties in their relationships after deployment and that there aren’t many studies out there examining the specific dynamics between military couples. This population group is much more prone to stress due to the nature of their work than the general population and relationships may be hard to maintain when you and your partner are constantly away from home. The study, which is part of a larger research project (SERVe), surveyed couples who had been together for a of minimum six months, but the length of the marriages in this study group varied greatly with the average marriage lasting around 12 years.

Stress and Illness

In sexual relationship research, sharing good news and being happy about your partner’s positive events is called capitalization. This is an important component of any relationship, and the presence or absence of capitalization can determine relationship outcomes. When you share the good news, and your partner shares your happiness with you, the positive experience is heightened for both parties involved, explains Arpin.

unhappy couple in bedOn the other hand, when the partner fails to respond positively or even bitterly to your happiness, the exact opposite can happen. The relationship may become a source of stress as a result, and it can either fall apart, or both partners may become ill. A large body of research has shown that chronic stress is the leading cause of high-mortality diseases such as cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, and even cancer. There are many sources of stress, with work and relationships being the primary causes.


Because healthy relationships are proven to buffer stress, taking necessary steps to keep your relationship thriving is a great way to keep stress-related diseases at bay. One way couples could boost their intimacy levels, and with that reduce their stress and anxiety, is by simply talking at the end of the day. However, just talking won’t amount to much if both parties aren’t actively involved in the conversation. Feeling happy about and supportive of the positive events in your partner’s life is the determining factor in relationship satisfaction and health outcomes according to the study conducted by researchers at the Gonzaga University in Washington. This behavior, known as capitalization in sexual relationship, makes a big difference in how well you sleep, how strong your bond is, and where your stress and anxiety levels are.

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