Do you know the saying that married couples should never go to bed angry? Just how true is that belief, and can it actually impact your relationship? The Sleep Judge set out to examine couples’ nighttime quarrels and quality of sleep by surveying more than 900 people who have gone to bed angry in the past year.
Were couples who resolved their problems before bed happier overall? We’ll break down the results below.
How Often Do People in Relationships Go to Bed Angry?
Before looking at the findings, it’s important to note that most couples don’t seem to deal with the issue of going to bed angry that often. Of the more than 900 individuals surveyed, just 8.9% said they go to bed angry often. Forty-eight percent reported rarely going to bed upset, and 39.5% said it happens sometimes.
Couples in relationships of one to five years also seemed to go to bed angry more often than long-standing couples of 21 or more years.
Primary Reasons Most Couples Go to Bed Angry
There was an interesting tie between sleep quality and going to bed angry, as noted in this study. While only a quarter of participants experienced poor-quality sleep in the past month, 65% noted poor sleep quality on a night they went to bed angry.
So, what are couples arguing about late at night? Here are the main topics of conflict:
- Finances: 24.8%
- Communication: 22.9%
- Partner’s habits: 11.7%
- Kids: 7.9%
- Sex: 5.4%
- Relatives: 5.1%
- Lack of time together: 5.1%
Married individuals said money was the No. 1 reason for going to bed angry, while unmarried individuals cited communication as the top reason. However, the most common reason for poor sleep after going to bed angry was fighting about a partner’s habits, regardless of relationship status.
Does Going to Bed Angry Make the Fight Worse?
Since popular advice suggests that resolving conflict before bed makes for a better relationship, The Sleep Judge asked participants about their experiences.
Nearly half of participants believed going to bed angry makes the conflict worse, while only 15.7% believed it makes the conflict better. Interestingly enough, men were more likely to report that going to bed angry resolves or improves issues in their relationship.
Overall, 32% reported the last argument they had with their partner when going to bed angry was serious enough that it was likely to end their relationship.
It’s Not Always the Argument That Leads to Poor Sleep
Another interesting discovery was that it was not always the argument itself that led to poor sleep, but rather how the discussion and argument were handled. For instance, 45.8% believed the argument was worsened or prolonged by talking in circles, followed by 45.4% believing it was due to their partner’s stubbornness or inability to back down. Only 31.7% believed it was due to their own stubbornness.
Behaviors After the Argument Also Impacted Sleep
After these arguments, 53.1% of participants admitted to ignoring their partner, which was also the most likely to cause poor-quality sleep on behalf of the ignored partner. Another 41.6% said their partner ignored them, while 23.3% reported sleeping in another room.
The next morning, 47.8% stated they talked through and resolved the argument, while 26% admitted to ignoring the argument and acting as if nothing had happened.
Sexual Implications of Going to Bed Angry
Along with resentment and poor sleep, another factor that correlated with going to bed angry was a lack of sexual connection. This study found that the more often an individual went to bed angry, the less likely they were to report sexual satisfaction. Those who went to bed angry five times or more throughout the year were 20 percentage points less satisfied with their sex life than those who only went to bed angry once or twice.
It’s Usually Best to Resolve Issues Before Going to Bed
Overall, 70% of participants who were satisfied with their relationship believed it’s best never to go to bed angry. Additionally, 73% of all participants admitted that doing so has negatively impacted their relationships.
Talking through your problems and reaching some sort of healthy resolution might lead to a better night’s sleep and an improved relationship with your partner. Unless resolving an issue on the spot will lead to more resentment than waiting until the morning, couples seem to agree that you should try not to go to bed angry.
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