There's a piece of relationship advice that tells people to never go to bed angry. But according to some experts and recent research, going to bed angry might in fact be the best way to maintain your bond.
A recent study from the University of Massachusetts found that a night of sleep can help enhance our decision-making abilities, like the saying "sleep on it
", as our brains are able to elaborate on several different ways to solve a problem.
According to Bonnie Eaker Weil, Ph.D., author of Make Up, Don't Break Up, putting your argument on hold and getting rid of some negative emotions before bed is better for conflict resolution and overall bond. To do this, you have to take a step back from the heat of the moment and say to your partner, "I really love you, I'm sorry that we have this misunderstanding, and in the morning we'll discuss it when we have some more time." Weil says it's actually acceptable to put the argument on pause for the night to make sure those negative emotions don't impact your sleep.
So why is it helpful to take the night off during an argument? Well apparently a night of bad sleep can lead to more fights down the line, so you don't want to stay up all night rehashing the same argument if you're not getting anywhere. Plus, any resolution you reach at 2am might be temporary as you're probably agreeing just to end the conversation, says couples mediator Laurie Puhn. In that case, you didn't really resolve anything.
This however doesn't mean you should halt an argument if you're actually getting somewhere. If you're both communicating effectively, then by all means stay up and hash it out!
"The reason people say not to go to bed angry is because they're thinking that if you [do], it [grows into] resentment over weeks and months and years," Puhn explains. "But it's good to go to bed angry if you talk about it the next day with a clear head. You actually deal with it in a conscious way the next day."