Fighting late into the night is just disaster waiting to happen.
Sometimes what we take as common sense is really just a bunch of pie-in-the-sky crap! I call it crap because it's too idealistic or just ignorant of how people's minds and bodies really work.
For example, take the whole idea that a couple should never go to bed angry.
Now, I'll be honest with you, I used to believe that this was a great rule to live by. But that was back when I was in a relationship that lacked passion - including the passion to argue.
These days I'm in a much more vibrant relationship and know without a doubt that if we didn't go to bed angry we'd still be arguing about some stupid thing that happened three years ago. (Yeah, we're both stubborn enough that we just might be.)
Going to bed angry is actually great for our relationship because things usually look completely different in the morning.
When the alternative is a sleepless or nearly sleepless night going to bed angry is best for most relationships. The reason is that sleepiness from staying up to argue can actually make things a whole lot worse.
How does sleepiness make arguments worse?
Here's what the sleep experts have to say:
- Sleep loss makes you stupid. Stanford sleep expert, Brandon Peters, MD, explains in his Huffington Post piece that difficulty sleeping interferes with higher cognitive functioning of the brain.
This means you need sleep to be able to pay attention, concentrate, reason and PROBLEM SOLVE! If you're so sleepy that you can't problem solve, then how on Earth are you going to resolve an argument? Yeah, you're not.
- Sleep deprivation can lead to serious health problems and increase the risk of death, according to WebMD.
OK, the data shows that it's chronic sleep loss that can dramatically impact your health, but if you're regularly arguing instead of sleeping it will add up. Who knows, the next time one of you says "You're killing me" during a late night argument, you might actually be right!
- Lack of sleep kills your sex drive. Dr. Robert D. Oexman, Director of the Sleep to Live Institute in Joplin, MO, told Shape that chronic sleep deprivation can lower the sex drive hormone (testosterone) in both men and women.
So for those of you who think that your epic arguments at night will lead to amazing make-up sex you are probably going to be disappointed. Sleep specialists have found that both men and women report less interest in sex when they're sleep-deprived.
- Sleepiness is depressing. There's a definite link between lack of sleep and depression according to WebMD. And it seems to be a bit of a chicken and egg situation. Insomnia can be a sign of depression and lack of sleep can play a role in causing depression.
Let's face it, even if neither of you have depression, it's just almost impossible to feel great and excited about the day when you've missed a lot of sleep the night before because of some ridiculous argument. In fact, you're more likely to feel depressed about the argument which could lead to even more discord and yet another sleepless night.
- Sleep deprivation makes you forgetful. In 2013, sleep researchers at UC Berkeley discovered a "dysfunctional pathway that explains the relationship between brain deterioration, sleep disruption and memory loss" (Medical News Today)
Now this forgetfulness could really go either way toward helping or hurting your argumentative ways. If you both forget what you're arguing about because you're too sleepy to remember, then that's great! You can catch some zzzzz's and address the issue (if one of you can remember it) in the morning when you're both fresh.
Alternatively, you could also forget that word you want to use to really let your partner know you're right and how wrong they really are. And on the argument goes...
- Sleep loss impairs judgment. WebMD also says, "Lack of sleep can affect our interpretations of events. This hurts our ability to make sound judgments because we may not assess situations accurately and act on them wisely."
So the longer you stay up arguing, the worse the argument will probably get because both of you lose your ability to realize that staying up to fight just isn't worth it.
Look, just because you now know that going to bed angry won't end your marriage either, it doesn't mean that you're ready to give up all the crappy "common sense" that you've adopted as part of your marriage. What is does mean is that you're ready to start questioning it. Like, what's the deal with make-up sex being the best?
I’m Dr. Karen Finn, a divorce and personal life coach helping people just like you who are contemplating divorce. Should you stay, or should you go is a powerful question and I’m here to help you make a smart decision that will lead to your greatest happiness… whether you stay OR go. You can join my newsletter list for free weekly advice. And, if you're ready, you can take the first step toward working with me as your personal coach by scheduling a private consultation.