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Changes in Sleep Time and Sleep Quality across the Ovulatory Cycle as a Function of Fertility and Partner Attractiveness

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Research suggests that near ovulation women tend to consume fewer calories and engage in more physical activity; they are judged to be more attractive, express greater preferences for masculine and symmetrical men, and experience increases in sexual desire for men other than their primary partners. Some of these cycle phase shifts are moderated by partner attractiveness and interpreted as strategic responses to women’s current reproductive context. The present study investigated changes in sleep across the ovulatory cycle, based on the hypothesis that changes in sleep may reflect ancestral strategic shifts of time and energy toward reproductive activities. Participants completed a 32-day daily diary in which they recorded their sleep time and quality for each day, yielding over 1,000 observations of sleep time and quality. Results indicated that, when the probability of conception was high, women partnered with less attractive men slept more, while women with more attractive partners slept less.

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