Have you heard the term "hangry"? It is when hunger leads someone to become angry. It's a real thing -- and it may have some very real implications for your marriage.
New research just published in the medical journal "PNAS" found a powerful link between low blood sugar and higher levels of aggression among spouses, suggesting that the hungrier you are, the less self-control you have, and the more aggression you let come out.
And the target of that aggression is usually the person nearby -- your spouse.
Researchers tested more than one hundred couples -- measuring their glucose and recording their levels of aggression on a daily basis for 21 days. The level of spousal aggression was rated by how many pins a spouse would put in a voodoo doll that represented their partner.
Then, spouses were judged on how aggressively they tried to win a virtual game that held the promise of blowing a loud horn in their partner's ear and then how long and loud they blasted the horn.
Researchers found that the participants who had lower blood sugar levels were more aggressive with their spouse and that the results held up even after the researchers adjusted the data to factor in relationship satisfaction.
So what is the takeaway? One psychologist says that "aggression often starts when self-control stops" -- and so he suggests that if a couple has a particularly tough issue to work through, that perhaps over dinner, or just after dinner, might be the best time to talk about it.