London - If you were thinking of turning-in a little earlier tonight, here’s an incentive.

Scientists claim that a good night’s sleep could help your relationship by making you less selfish.

They found that a good night’s sleep makes you less likely to take your partner for granted. You are also more likely to say ‘thank you’, ensuring they feel appreciated.

Researchers from the University of Berkeley, California, studied 60 couples aged 18 to 56.

They each kept a diary which recorded how many hours they slept each night as well as how much they appreciated their other half.

The couples also took part in an experiment whereby they were asked to work together in problem-solving tasks.

According to the researchers, those who slept well worked better together in the tasks and encouraged each other.

They also recorded in their diaries that they appreciated them more and regularly showed gratitude.

Amie Gordon, a psychologist at the University of Berkeley who lead the study, said: ‘Poor sleep may make us more selfish as we prioritise our own needs over our partner’s.

‘You may have slept like a baby but if your partner didn’t, you’ll probably both end up grouchy.

‘Make sure to say thanks when your partner does something nice. Let them know you appreciate them.’

The scientists believe their findings may partly explain why sleep can be so critical for relationships.

Although the health benefits of a good night’s sleep are well-known, there has been little research into its effects on marriage.

The researchers presented their findings last week at the annual meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychologists in New Orleans.

Experts say adults need at least five hours’ uninterrupted sleep every day to properly concentrate and function.

It varies between individuals, however, with some needing as many as eight hours, some as few as three.

But surveys show that nearly two thirds of us aren’t getting enough and a third actually suffer from insomnia.

In fact a report by the Mental Health Foundation in 2011 found that just 40 per cent of adults slept well.

The authors warned that the situation was so bad it had become a serious public health concern.

They also found that insomniacs were far four times more likely to suffer relationship problems and three times more likely to have mood swings. - Daily Mail