Our love for coffee can feel as strong as any romantic bond.
Think about it: the hot stuff is always there for you when you need it, it picks you up when you’re down, and, when you’re running low, you can always go back for more.
So it makes complete and utter sense that drinking coffee can actually play a huge role in our romantic relationships.
In an academic study by Maranges and McNulty in the Journal of Family Psychology, experts put 68 newlywed couples to the test in a bid to figure out the secret to relationship satisfaction.
During the experiment, couples answered questions about their interpersonal specific experiences (for example, conflict, conversation, and sex), global relationship satisfaction, and the amount of sleep they got each night.
Scientists quickly discovered that the more shut-eye everyone got, the happier they were in their relationships.
Why? Well, we all need self-control, or self-regulatory strength, to help us differentiate between the daily ups and downs of life and how satisfied we are in our relationships.
Sleep can give us the mental strength to override feelings of despair after a heavy argument, which will help us isolate the event rather than seeing it as symptomatic of a romantic device.
And as self-regulatory strength is affected by sleep, our ability to judge these events without relating them to our relationship can take a significant toll on us and our partners.
So how does coffee enter this equation?
In another study – this time conducted by Welsh, Ellis, Christian, and Mai – half of the 229 participants were given coffee, while the other half were given a placebo.
Those who were given a cup of Joe were said to have more of the magical “self-regulation”.
“Caffeine moderates the relationship between sleep deprivation and depletion by replenishing self-regulatory resources,” say the experts.
So, as caffeine boosts our self-regulatory strength in the face of sleep deprivation, then a strong coffee can provide a temporary solution which will allow us to make balanced judgments, which will in turn stop them affecting our relationships.
Well worth remembering the next time you feel guilty about buying that expensive takeaway coffee…