Many people have heard advice or words of wisdom from couples who report that they “never go to bed angry.” But is this really sound advice? In a perfect world, it would be great if all problems could be solved by 10 p.m. and everyone went to bed feeling happy and loved. However, in the real world, this isn’t always possible.
If you and your spouse have had a conflict during the day, there’s no rule that says you have to solve it by the end of the day. In fact, you may be more emotional by the end of the day if there has been ongoing conflict. The more emotional you feel, the less productive trying to resolve a problem is going to be. When emotions are high, arguments are likely to become heated. People’s voices raise, their listening skills decrease, and logic goes out the window. Going to sleep may help you to wake up feeling less emotional in the morning.
A new day can also give you new perspective. A problem that seemed overwhelming the previous night may seem easier to solve the next morning. You may be able to look at an issue from your partner’s point of view and you may be able to hear what your partner is saying better.
Imagine being upset with your partner about something in the evening. You argue some and then go about your own business. You are still feeling angry at bedtime so you bring up the issue again. The two of you continue to argue until past midnight, often yelling at one another. What are the chances you are going to be able to feel better before you go to sleep? Compare that to going to sleep, still feeling angry, but at a reasonable hour, and waking up the next morning and trying to re-visit the issue.
It may make more sense to go to sleep while you are still angry rather than staying up until 3 a.m. “working it out.” Exhaustion is not going to solve the problem that night or the next day. However, getting a better night’s sleep can be much more beneficial to you in thinking about the issue.