This concludes the debate on whether to Sleep on a Problem v. Staying up to prevent going to bed angry. In my last post I provided some of the reasons people should NOT go to bed angry (which you can read here: Link to Article 17 Sleep on it or Go to Bed Angry? Part 3). In this post I’ll wrap up the debate and what research says about Sleeping On It.
I wanted to provide some examples of why sleeping on a problem might be better than staying up. I have to admit I’m starting to really shift toward emotional self-control and still getting my beauty sleep because I’m not finding a whole lot of actual times that it is really better to stay up versus going to sleep when it comes to conflict resolution.
Here are some Examples of WHY Sleeping on It is Better:
- Arguing before bed is likely to prevent good, solid sleep.
- If something will be fully resolved it means it is at the expense of how rested you will feel the next day.
- Arguments in the evening are less likely to resolve an issue than scheduling a good time to talk since fatigue makes humans more emotional and less rational.
- Arguing can increase arousal levels, heart rate, adrenalin, and cortisol levels in the brain which all make it even more difficult to go to sleep even if the conflict is resolved.
Examples of WHEN Sleeping On It Is Better:
Aside from the physical implications of “Why” not to discuss issues before sleeping or before preparing to go to bed, there are certain circumstances where the best thing to do IS GO TO SLEEP. This Huffington Post article highlights what various relationship experts highlight as the TYPES of arguments or conflicts that are more suited for sleeping on it rather than hashing it out. Click here to read the article from the Huffington Post that lists the seven times when it is BETTER to go to bed angry according to psychologists and therapists specializing in relationships Huffington Post “Go to Bed Angry”
In sum, taking time to consider WHEN sleeping on a problem might be better is probably one of the best factors in deciding whether or not to address it or flip the switch off and pop a melatonin instead. If you have a big presentation at work the next day or your partner has an interview, tuck the problem to the side and wait until you both have time and nothing else contributing to the already existing heightened stress levels one of you might be feeling. If you are both tired from travel, have been out late for a “happy hour” or consuming a few too many drinks, or when you recognize that you are in an elevated emotional state where you are less likely to be able to calm down when it is time for rest.
I think we’ve all been in a situation when we feel our heart pumping, we feel upset and vulnerable to the person we are next to in bed or that we’ve just hung up on during a phone call.
Asking What Factors Are Setting the Scene for a Productive Conflict Resolution v Note and Why any of these Factors Make Sleeping on it rather than staying up and hashing it out is my new guide to conflict resolution at night.
I know myself. So one time I should ALWAYS go to sleep upset is when I know I am getting my period. Here’s an example of why. If it is that time of the month, I personally should go to bed angry regardless of circumstance. If I take the time to think about my hormonal state before I start some type of discussion between the hours of 6 PM – 6 AM, I can tell you that if I am getting my period or have PMS, the desire to get into an argument for ANY reason at all is already there. When I am getting my period/PMS-ing, the only ingredients for this desire to fight with you:
1. You happen to be a male or identify as male
2. You have a pulse
3. I can communicate with you…: in a vicinity near me like a bedroom, in the bed next to me, on the other end of the phone and/or have a phone and/or said phone is something I can send any type of text message, SMS, WhatsApp or emoji too…
4. We have dated for more than a month.
NOTE: You take this formula and you multiple it by a magnitude of emotional drama and anger and mean-factor x 10 if we have been sleeping together.
That’s all it takes. When I PMS my body becomes overwhelmed by hormones and my emotional state is going to likely to cause me cry or get angry. I will cry at a commercial. I will get mad if I feel fat. I just become this firecracker and 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 above makes you a flame ready to ignite me. It sounds dramatic, but if we have slept together, it is even worse. My body becomes overwhelmed by hormones and I will explode if given any tiny little reason because subconsciously my ovaries are pissed that I’m an animal who did not get pregnant (and no I’m not trying) and now I see you as a male failure and push you away in efforts to find a more suitable mating partner before my next fertile ovulation time comes around.
This Buzzfeed article on “Why You Should Definitely Go To Bed Angry According to Science” makes a lot of sense on why it is probably best to say, “Can we talk about this in the morning when we’ve both gotten more rest and can think more clearly than right now?” That’s a really great way to avoid losing self-control and saying something you might regret…just make sure that the issue is actually addressed so it does not turn into resentment or make the feelings harder to fix if they build up during the night.
Final tip I found in my research…
If you can’t sleep because you’re angry, let the other person sleep and do something to calm yourself down physically and emotionally.
Your elevated heartrate and heightened emotional state will possibly make it harder to sleep because you’re angry and that anger has physical manifestations. So instead of lying there feeling bad about the bottom line and continuing to “lose sleep” over a problem, try taking a warm bath or shower, going for a walk while listening to some calming music, reading a book or magazine in another room, or spending some time writing your feelings down to get them out of your system whether in a notebook or on a laptop. Then when it is all out there, you will likely feel BOTH physically AND emotionally enough to let it go until the next day without losing more ZZZ’s while tossing and turning.