Going To Bed Angry Can Harm Your Relationship And Your Health, Says Study
If there is one skill that I wish I could develop is to not feel anxious about loose ends. They say curiosity killed the cat. I am that cat. If you tell me that there’s something you wanna talk about, I will keep thinking about it till we talk. And in all probability, I will force you to talk about it sooner than you had planned to. Why? Why can’t we just talk about things and get over with it? Which is why if I have a fight with bae or I am angry with him, I don’t like space. Like hello, please talk about it and get past it because if I am feeling something, I have to express it. I can’t even deal with movies that have an ‘open to interpretation’ ending.
None of this is healthy. I mean, yes expressing myself is good; not bottling my emotions is good. But I don’t like my peace of mind being dependent on another person. This is the reason I started journaling because sometimes when you have a storm inside, you can’t make it rain on unsuspecting loved ones. So when I can’t say some things out loud, or I just need to express myself but not to a person, I pen it all down. And then I feel much better.
How do some people do it? Going to bed angry is so anxiety inducing, I just can’t! According to a recent study by Oregon State University, it isn’t quite healthy. When you reach a resolution or at least an almost one, the negative emotions associated with it are drastically reduced. This also reduced the overall stress!
The study analysed the emotions of 2000 participants checking for their reactivity to situations that can possibly evoke feelings of anger. It compared their reactivity on the day of the argument with the residual feelings in the days post the argument. The researchers observed that people who felt their argument was resolved showed half the reactivity than those whose fights remained unsolved. That means they didn’t snap back at each other or throw unnecessary shade to further aggravate the situation.
What is the reason behind this? When you fight with bae, and go to bed angry you are trying to overcome the anger and other negative emotions all by yourself – consciously or subconsciously. By the time you wake up, the anger has evolved into resentment. “Other research shows that when we sleep, the brain reorganizes how negative emotions are stored, making them harder to suppress in the future. This means that not only do we wake up more worked up or angry, we can carry this into future disagreements,” states YourTango.com.
While the stress can lead to health problems, it can also be detrimental to your relationship! How going to bed during an argument can destroy your relationship. Carolyn Hidalgo, a life and relationship coach, told Your Tango, “Anger that isn’t resolved or released before you go to sleep remains in [your] “energy body,” and makes the next argument worse.” Hidalgo added, “Unresolved energies build up and can later get unleashed in ways that become fighting over how the dishwasher was loaded when it’s really about not feeling respected or heard.”
Before you know it, you are fighting with each other over trivial things that really don’t matter. You are both fishing for arguments and after a point, there will come a time when you just can’t talk straight. Every response will be a dig, every statement a taunt.
However, this doesn’t mean that you stay up, fried AF, endlessly arguing on things when no conclusion is in the horizon. When your mind is stressed and exhausted, your brain makes it difficult for you to rationalise. This makes you fail to understand your partner’s side of the argument and dwell on yours.
In such situations, the best thing to do is to agree to disagree and sleep on it. This doesn’t mean you will yell at each other and just end the fight badly. You can just acknowledge the fact that this situation requires more and clearer thinking. You both could use the cooling off time to help look at the fight with more compassion than sheer despise.
Relationship counselor Keith Dent told Your Tango, “It can make an argument worse if you [hold] resentment due to the fact that you couldn’t resolve the issue before going to bed. If you can address the issue only, and come up with solutions, your relationship will get stronger.” However, it may be a good idea to sleep on it “when the argument is at an impasse and can’t be resolved. This is especially important if one, or both of you are tired. You won’t be able to think clearly if you are exhausted,” Dent said. “There is a saying that “cooler heads prevail” and this is definitely true when it comes to conflict in marriage,” Dent explained.
How do you deal with anxiety when you are unable to come to a solution before bed? Penning down your thoughts will help for you to vent it out. The next morning you can go through it and feel grateful that you didn’t say all those things in anger. After this exercise, your thoughts will be more organised and you will find a more compassionate tone to put your points across. If you still feel anxiety, you can think about something about your partner you are grateful for. For instance, remember how he pulls you closer each time you hug or how he wakes you up in the morning because he knows your alarm fails at it.
When they say you should not go to bed angry, it doesn’t mean that you have to resolve the entire fight before sleeping. But you need to validate each other’s feelings and agree to work on it as a team. Just the willingness to find a solution reduces stress and kills those negative emotions. “If you use active listening, meaning if one person is speaking, then the other person must purely listen without jumping in to immediately address it then the active listener should restate the problem to make sure he/she understands the issue then validate his/her feelings. Then reverse roles if necessary. You may not be able to solve the issue right away, but at least it will reduce the tension as a couple,” Dent said. “When we can acknowledge how detrimental it is to go to sleep angry and hold the intention and willingness to seek peace with each other you’re halfway there even if both partners still feel angry,” Hidalgo explained. “Make this an agreement or commitment of “let’s not go to bed angry at each other.” Willingness goes a long way. Each partner is responsible for finding patience, and respect for the other despite your anger,” Hidalgo emphasised.