If you’ve not heard the relationship advice, never go to bed angry, you must have been living under a rock!
This conventional wisdom makes it clear that couples should always resolve their arguments before going to sleep. However, in some instances this advice could actually be doing more harm than good.
Many therapists and psychologists agree that there are occasions when sleeping on it is in fact the best option. Let’s take a look at seven examples where this is likely to be the case.
1. You’re very tired
Being tired and in need of sleep can put you in a bad mood and worsen conflict with your partner. If you’re already feeling irritable, you probably won’t be in the best frame of mind to resolve a situation with your partner.
In instances like this, it may be better to go to bed and see how you feel in the morning. After a good night’s sleep, you will be better able to empathise with your partner, see their point of view and resolve any conflict between you.
2. You’ve been drinking
Heated conversations when one or both of you are drunk will not be constructive. They can travel to strange places and escalate from a small issue into something much bigger if you’re not careful. Go to bed and revisit the issue in the morning (if you can remember what it was about).
3. You need time to process your feelings
Feeling angry is a good indicator that something needs to change, however, in the heat of the moment discussions can become more destructive than constructive, especially if they escalate into a shouting match.
You may need more time to process your emotions, reflect and sleep on it. Sleep provides your brain with an opportunity to mentally file the things you have learned and experienced during the day.
4. You’ve lost sight of why the argument started
Have you ever found yourself arguing about how you are arguing? Feeling tired, stressed, or irritable can lead to petty arguments that don’t need to escalate to the point where you forget why you started arguing in the first place. Pick your battles and if it’s late and you’re sensing some tension, go to bed and see if the problem still feels as important in the morning.
5. You’re really worked up
In a conflict situation, our bodies tend to go into fight or flight mode. Fight mode usually involves increased stressed hormones, an elevated heart rate and an inability to think rationally. When you’re in this state you are not going to be able to problem-solve or have a meaningful conversation. If it’s late and you recognise that this is happening, sleep is probably your best strategy to combat it.
6. You have an important day tomorrow
You may have a problem you want to address but if you or your partner have an important thing in the morning i.e., an exam or job interview, it’s probably best to swallow it and go to sleep. Do however, readdress the issue one the event is over and building resentment over time is likely to cause more problems.
7. You would benefit from a mediator
You’re unlikely to resolve an on-going issue by arguing about it before bed. When conflicts become ongoing and serious, you may require some intervention like therapy.
What do you think?
Would you go to bed on an argument, or do you think it’s better to stick to the never go to bed angry mantra? We’d love to hear your thoughts. Let us know what you think by leaving a comment below.