Chances are you have all heard of this little gem: don’t go to bed angry. Though it seems to make sense, I wonder why it’s been so widely repeated? As if it were a matter of fact instead of mere advice. Though I’ve always known the importance of putting our emotional attachments to bed before ourselves, I decided to do some research and find out why you should never go to bed angry.
Angry Nights Make for Angry Mornings
Going to bed angry reinforces the negative emotion. It’s possible that as an evolutionary mechanism, sleep enhances our emotional memories. Research suggests that going to sleep upset preserves this emotion. Thus you end up waking up angry too.
Put It To Bed
By staying up and dealing with a negative emotional response (whether its an argument or something that made you upset), you are reducing the effect it has it on you, not only now but as also the next time you experience it. Going to bed while still holding onto the negative emotion creates a state of preservation where it dwells. You lay with it. This can lead us into a never ending repeated response, with no progress or growth on either side.
Reaching some sort of resolution before your head meets your pillow is so important. It means that an identical stimulus thereafter (the same argument, or another late night heated discussion) will not be so bothersome, because it is now tied to the way in which you coped with it the first time. This will help to eliminate the chance of having something so heavy to carry with you in the morning and throughout your day. Don’t go to bed and wake up with a ball and chain!
Angry Beds Don’t Make For Good Marriages
I have come down to two ways to avoid an angry bed: communication and learning to back down.
Are you’re going to bed angry simply because you are not comfortable enough to speak to each other? The absence of proper communication leads to frustration and resentment. Not feeling heard is no fun!
The other possibility is that neither one of you are willing to ‘back down,’ so now the fight has no end. Not being able to walk away without the last word is likely linked to a need for control. Wind the argument down instead of turning it up. Take control instead of losing control. If you get a feeling that you ‘lost’ the argument because you chose to withdraw, remember you now have that much more energy for something else that deserves your focus, like resolving the disagreement.
What Can We Do?
First and foremost, find some common ground. Even if you don’t agree, try to see what they see. Truly try to understand each others’ position. Attempt to identify where the negative emotions are coming from. It is likely that the origin of the emotional trigger will surprise you. Ask yourself two questions: is it possible that this is deeply rooted? Or, are you displacing your anger from something else? If the feelings are not serving you, you must move on. Even if an issue has yet to be resolved, at the very least let go of the anger.
Explore the association between your general ability or willingness to resolve issues, and the emotional state in which you go to bed after a conflict. Holding onto the emotional trigger and becoming attached takes away your ability to discover your day to day contentment; reflect on the things that make you happy.
Your bedroom should be a place of peace and harmony; a relaxing atmosphere in which you both feel happy and at home. When you go to bed angry, you bring the frustration, anger, and resentment of the world into your sphere.
Ruminating over the conflict will surely cause you to miss out on all the beautiful things right in in front of you…like your handsome or beautiful significant other, lying in “your” bed in the home you created together.
About the Author
Feature Image: Allie Kenny