Late-night fights with your partner are inevitable. In today’s fast-paced world, most of us are exhausted, sleep-deprived, and irritable at the end of the day. So, one small comment can turn into a full-scale argument.
Here’s how to sleep after an argument:
- Acknowledge your concerns
- Understand your stress response
- Set aside time to deal with your worries
- De-stress with binaural beats
- Practice deep breathing
- Change of scenery
- Progressive muscle relaxation
- Avoid stimulants
Avoiding going to sleep angry or sleeping on an argument is easier said than done. A study published in the Journal Nature Communications found that when you sleep apart after a fight, your brain stores away negative experiences that are harder to forget. If you go to sleep feeling angry or upset, there’s a chance you’ll wake up angry.
How to Sleep After An Argument
Most of the time, the repercussions of an argument are worse than the fight itself. We spend hours overanalyzing our partner’s words and focusing too much on being right while not knowing what to do next.
By focusing extensively on negative thoughts and the events that occurred during the night, you’re not only putting yourself at risk of feeling groggy in the morning, you’re also preventing yourself from being able to think clearly.
It’s 3 A.M. now, and you’ve finally taken a step back and have decided to sleep. The only issue now is that your racing thoughts will not allow it to happen. So, what should you do?
1/ Acknowledge Your Concerns
You’ve had an enervating argument with your partner, and now, your laundry list of troubling thoughts isn’t enabling you to fall asleep.
Your first step to having a few restful hours of sleep is recognizing when you’re worrying. While it’s obvious what’s troubling you in this situation, it helps to recognize the underlying signs of your stress.
You may have a negative trail of thoughts due to that person’s actions or words. Or you may show physical signs, such as muscle tension, in the form of clenching your jaw, grinding your teeth, back and shoulder tension, and headaches. Other signs of stress in bed include a racing heartbeat, shallow breathing, and tossing and turning.
When you notice any of these symptoms, remember that there’s nothing positive to gain from this behavior. You need to sleep. Staying up and waking up without any energy to spare isn’t going to help your relationship.
2/ Understand Your Stress Response
There are times when your partner may say or do something that will trigger a negative emotion that keeps you awake.
Understand that your body’s chemistry is evolutionarily designed to make you feel more alert during stress. This enables you to make it through strenuous workouts or meet tight deadlines.
If you find yourself being emotional, disengage from the fight, and take some time off to calm down and reflect on what’s happened.
Not all of us react to stress the same way. Therefore, it helps to determine your stress style, which is your way of reacting to troubling situations.
During a stressful event, we quickly go into our fight-or-flight mode, where we either get ready to defend ourselves or flee the scene.
In a fight, you may be the one who:
- Feels sad and becomes withdrawn, or
- Gets agitated, mad, or angry
Understanding your stress response enables you to use the correct technique to simmer down during the heat of the moment, thereby immediately abating your negative thoughts about the argument.
If you’re the type who feels rejected, sad, upset, or tearful, calming techniques may not necessarily work.
Instead, use tactics that will bring in more positive energy, such as:
- Happy music
- Stroking a pet
- Sipping on some peppermint tea
- Deep breathing.
- Writing in your journal
- Reading a book.
If you find yourself slamming doors, banging on objects, or stomping, you’ll respond to calming techniques that quiet your mind. These include:
- Deep breaths. Take deep breaths through your nose and out through your mouth.
- Listen to calming music
- Close your eyes and imagine being in a serene location, such as a beach or a lake.
- Listening to rain sounds.
- Light your favorite candles
- Drink a cup of warm herbal tea
- Taking a warm bath
- Petting your dog or cat
- Listen to guided meditation. The Headspace app is a good place to start
Practice these techniques before conflict arises. The next time you find yourself entering fight-or-flight mode, you’ll enter a calm and relaxed state that’ll allow you to have a more productive conversation.
3/ Set Aside Time For Your Worries
According to the Sleep Health Foundation, most individuals find it beneficial to set aside time during the day to address their worries and plan possible solutions.
Having a set time when you’re free ensures that you can give your thoughts undivided attention. Therefore, you don’t end up taking time away from your sleep by contemplating them subconsciously.
It helps to have a journal on your nightstand so that you can document your concerns and deal with them the next day. When you write something on paper, you’re making a solid statement.
4/ De-Stress With Binaural Beats
While this may sound like a new genre of music, binaural beats are a fascinating piece of technology that uses the brain’s responsiveness to sound and puts you in a state of deep relaxation.
The idea behind binaural beats is that when the brain is exposed to two separate frequencies in each ear, it perceives it as one and tunes to this new frequency.
A relaxing background sound or music often accompanies these frequencies. What’s great about this technique is that you can try it right away. Just grab your earphones and download a binaural beat app or search for binaural beats for sleep on YouTube.
So, how do these sound frequencies relax your mind, de-stress you, and put you to sleep? Binaural beats are designed to change your brain’s extent of arousal. Listening to these sound waves slows down your brain activity – thereby lowering your anxiety and helping you enjoy deep sleep for much longer.
Also, binaural beats may impact hormones that play a role in your sleep. These include:
- Melatonin: Natural sleep hormone.
- Cortisol: A hormone responsible for alertness. High cortisol levels are associated with chronic stress and insomnia.
- DHEA: A master hormone that controls other hormones. DHEA suppresses cortisol, thereby helping you maintain a normal circadian rhythm.
According to research conducted by a previous president of the American Board of Anti-Aging Medicine, Dr. Vincent Giampapa, M.D, an average of 97% of the participants showed an increase in melatonin levels after listening to binaural beats. Furthermore, 70% of the participants experienced a drop in their cortisol levels, and 68% showed increased DHEA levels.
5/ Practice Deep Breathing
Many of us take shallow breaths when we are anxious. This reduces oxygen flow to your brain and other vital functions, making our emotions feel worse.
Deep breathing directly counters the impact of stress on the brain and body. To perform a deep breathing exercise, breathe in slowly through your nose, and hold for a few seconds.
Breathe out slowly through your mouth and observe the sensations in your body. Pay attention to how your stomach expands and recoils as you breathe.
6/ Change of Scenery
If you feel especially alert following your argument, try getting out of bed and going into another room with dim lighting. Now, perform a quiet and relaxing activity for 10-20 minutes. Think about a relaxing technique that has worked for you in the past.
7/ Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Progressive muscle relaxation involves tensing your muscles and releasing them to encourage these muscles to enter a relaxed state.
Here’s how it works:
- Inhale, contracting one muscle group, such as your upper thighs, for 5 to 10 seconds.
- Exhale and abruptly release that muscle group, relieving all its tension.
- Allow 10-20 seconds to relax your body and move on to the next muscle group, such as your buttocks.
- Pay attention to the different sensations in your body as you relax each muscle group. Imagery can be especially useful while releasing tension.
- Work your way up your body slowly in the same manner.
8/ Avoid Stimulants
If you’ve already had a stressful night and you foresee another stressful day tomorrow, restrict your intake of caffeine and alcohol. Avoid them at least 4 hours before bedtime as they can make it more difficult for you to relax.
While alcohol may help you fall asleep, it suppresses your breathing and inhibits rapid eye movement or REM sleep. Alcohol interrupts your natural circadian rhythm, resulting in more sleepless nights.
How to Heal a Damaged Relationship
During a fight, there’s nothing more troubling than being wrong. So, you’ll drag the argument out for longer only to find that it doesn’t matter who’s right or wrong.
You’ve had a good night’s sleep and now feel it’s time to discuss your concerns. The key to making amends is meeting in the middle with your partner.
It’s critical that you step into your partner’s shoes and see their side of the argument and be understanding of their feelings. Understand that a big fight doesn’t necessarily mean a broken relationship.
Here are some ways to improve the relationship with your partner:
Listen To Your Partner
Next time you have a heated discussion with your partner, take steps to stop it from boiling into an argument. For starters, listen to what your partner is saying.
Most conflicts arise from misconceptions and miscommunications. To prevent yourself from getting the wrong end of the stick about what the other person is saying, try understanding their perspective and be sure they know that you understand. Disagreeing with someone shouldn’t necessarily result in an argument.
Silence is powerful in this scenario. If your partner has something to share, avoid confrontation and listen to their point of view before suggesting anything further.
It’s also important to understand that it is okay to agree or disagree. There isn’t an answer that is right or wrong.
Be Honest With Yourself
As your argument worsens, it can be more challenging to see where the other person is coming from. Many of us find ourselves so focused on our side of the argument that it blinds us from the facts.
One of the steps to calming down after a big fight is being honest with ourselves about what happened. Slow down, get some space if you have to, and try thinking clearly about the argument, not just your version of it.
Don’t Avoid Your Partner
One of people’s main mistakes following a fight is building a stone wall.
While it’s okay to give yourself some time, you should avoid brushing them off entirely or ignoring them as it may give them the impression that you’re trying to punish them. This can result in your partner holding back when they want to share their feelings with you about something in the future.
Instead of ignoring them or giving them the silent treatment, make a calm request for some space for a few hours.
It’s Not About Who is Right or Wrong
If you’re looking to build a strong relationship with your partner, avoid parting company with the idea of always wanting to be right, especially during an argument.
Whether you believe you were correct about the issues or not, it’s vital to understand how your partner feels about the events that just occurred. You can be wrong about facts, but they can never be wrong about how they feel.
Don’t Use Their Words Against Them
Most individuals who make lists during an argument can never tell the other person what’s bothering them at that moment.
Therefore, if your partner says something that bothers you, let them know that their words are troubling you. If you’re still annoyed by those words the next day, give yourself some space before approaching them.
Continually bringing up an argument can cause you and your partner to end up in a vicious cycle with no solutions.
Don’t Just Say You’re Sorry
Instead of asking your partner to leave you alone so that you can do something else, try sincerely apologizing with an explanation regarding what you’re talking about.
Add another part explaining how and why you won’t make that mistake again in the future.
In the middle of a row, you may find that your partner responds more openly and calmly if you touch them kindly to relax the two of you. This can be a gentle touch on the hand or a hug.
However, avoid this strategy if your partner resists touching during uncomfortable situations like these.
Don’t Make Excuses
Hundreds of factors can be blamed for causing an argument – a rough day at work, not enough sleep the previous nights, a headache, and tight deadlines. The list is endless.
A study conducted by the University of California, Berkeley, shows that couples who aren’t able to get enough sleep are more likely to engage in arguments.
Whatever the reason is for your current mood, blaming something else isn’t fair on your partner. Information is a critical aspect of fights. Let your partner know if you’re sad, hurt, angry, or upset.
This will help your partner understand that you may be more irritable in certain situations, such as after you get home from work. If you’re returning home after a tough day, it helps to let your partner know beforehand.
Avoid Personal Criticisms
Fights are about facts. Therefore, there are certain habits you may be better off not taking part in while fighting, such as throwing around criticisms that may be too personal. For example, calling a person dumb isn’t going to make your argument more productive.
Other habits most couples get into but should avoid like the plague, including being defensive, stonewalling, and avoiding the topic altogether.
Even if your mind is still revolving around the fight, it doesn’t mean that you should mutter anything hurtful. Avoid calling a person a name because it makes it difficult for you and the other person to recover from that.
For example, if you had a fight about the budget for your vacation, avoid calling your partner cheap while going through your friend’s Instagram photos from their recent vacation.
Name-calling is a surefire way of starting a whirlwind of never-ending insults. Instead of making a mistake that you’ll regret later, ask your partner to talk about what’s bothering them after calming down.
Don’t Just Have Makeup Sex
Once you’ve apologized and have meant it, your partner may want to have sex. However, you may not be in the mood.
This doesn’t mean that your partner doesn’t realize you’ve had a serious argument. Most men feel the need to have sex to feel close.
If this is the last thing on your mind right now, let him know. Hug your partner and tell him you’d prefer to make love tomorrow instead of rolling over and declining without offering any explanation.
Don’t Focus on the Cause of the Fight
Spend your energy on a solution, not what caused the problem, especially when the issue is resolved. Avoid replaying your partner’s mistakes in your head and focus on enjoying the rest of the evening.
Understand that what makes a good fight different from a bad fight is whether you’ve both found a solution to the problem being faced.
However, if you notice your partner consistently makes these mistakes, ask your partner about what’s going on in a non-judgmental way instead of giving them a “Not again!”
Avoid Saying That You Didn’t Mean it
This is like using an eraser on permanent ink.
Not only does this make you feel that they can get away with calling them names next time they fight, but it also exacerbates the situation. Your partner might say, “Yes, you did!” and you both may go back and forth on who said what and whether they meant it.
Saying you didn’t mean something keeps you in the past and distracts you from working out a solution that will prevent any arguments over the current situation in the future.
If your partner says they didn’t mean it, you can let them know that you believe them, but it made you feel hurt or disappointed. Also, it will help to ask them how you would like them to behave in case you have a fight over the same matter in the future.
Don’t Give Yourself a Hard Time
While having no fights may sound like an ideal relationship for you, the reality is that all of us want partners who are committed. Fighting is a sign that both parties are still working things out, which is a positive factor.
When some people say they don’t fight anymore, it doesn’t mean they’ve stopped disagreeing. It probably means they’re letting their relationship go.
This is often the case before they find an affair or they leave. Therefore, take heart in knowing that you two care enough to solve an issue, even if it involves some disagreements.
Cut the But
Consider removing the word “but” from your sentences.
Sometimes, we use the word ‘but’ to show that we still stand by our original opinion on the issue. Try removing the word entirely from your vocabulary, especially when you’re trying to develop a solution during an argument.
Find Common Ground
Try finding common ground with your partner that makes both of you feel better at the end of the argument. Exchange information until both of you reach that “Aha!” moment, where the solution functions well.
Create a Happy Memory
After your conflict has been resolved, create a positive memory. Walk to your favorite ice cream store or coffee shop, check out a new hiking trail, or have dinner in a new restaurant.
Understand that sometimes you fight hard because both of you care. After creating a positive memory, you’ll notice that the rest of the week doesn’t become the week you had your big fight. You’ve instantly transformed it into the week that you visited that new place, had laughs, and created good memories.
Moving forward, share the same bed and go to bed at the same time.