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It is an unwritten couple law: "Do not go to sleep angry!" Why it can ultimately be helpful to let an argument rest for a few hours.
Never go to sleep with an unresolved argument, angry and annoyed - our grandparents taught us that. What is now often passed on in various relationship guides, often turns out to be impractical in reality. Partnerships are not always sunshine and roses … and a conflict does not always wait for the right moment.
So is the millennia-old wisdom actually long out of date, no more than a cliché? Absolutely. Katharina Henz, a psychotherapist from Vienna, is rather convinced that it is sometimes even wise to go to bed angry after an argument: "In the evening we are often tired and exhausted. It makes no sense to have lengthy discussions. " Not to mention trying to solve relationship problems.
Sleep as a dispute solver?
Sometimes arguments are just too complex to unravel in one night. At the same time, discussions trigger emotions that need time and space. Henz knows that the problem would often only appear half as buried the next day.
This is also confirmed by the research carried out by the "Gottman Institute". In a large-scale study, couples were interrupted during a conflict and forced to spend 30 minutes doing something else, such as reading a magazine. The result: Both partners calmed down during the break and were then able to resolve the issue with a cooler head (and thus more rationally).
Plus: Discussions that only go in circles and leave both parties frustrated would benefit from a few hours of sleep: "The brain continues to work during the night," says the couple therapist. A clear head often brings out new aspects and solutions in the morning as if by itself.
Loving dealings with each other
An open conflict is not an excuse to go to sleep completely divided. There should continue to be respect and love in the relationship while the argument hangs in the air: "As a couple, you should agree to go to bed now and benevolently decide to continue the discussion at a later point in time!" This "delaying and postponing" is an important skill in every relationship. So even if the scraps flew shortly before: Give your partner the usual goodnight kiss, snuggle up in bed together and promise to work on the problem together. This offsets the negative feelings of the argument.
Quarrel is always a team thing
While it is clear, according to Henz, "that with a conflict in your head you still sleep a little worse", it is important to recognize that every person deals with such friction differently, says psychotherapist Johanna Böhm-Schöller, who has also been advising couples for years: "It is also totally legitimate to use the couch to gain distance from the situation. It is perfectly normal to be angry!" So that in the end one does not roll around sleepless in bed because of sheer worry, while the other snores with pleasure, both partners must also feel understood.
Exactly this understanding is also the key to solving relationship problems. These questions can help even in the heat of the moment:
- Do I really want to understand my counterpart better right now or do I just want to win?
- Am I really listening to my counterpart or am I just waiting to get rid of my arguments?
Those who make mutual understanding a common goal often even feel more connected after a dispute that has been postponed. The only important thing is to clearly communicate your emotions and feelings before the lights are turned off. Then nothing stands in the way of a quiet night.