Don’t Go to Sleep Mad – Get Back to Love

Burning Heart

Don’t go to sleep fighting with your partner and feeling emotionally upset.  Create a plan, in advance, for how you will handle late night disagreements.  This works best if you and your partner create a plan together, but for your own peace of mind set up a plan for yourself.

The time to resolve conflicts in a relationship is certainly not at night, close to bed time.  It is so much better to have a deep conversation while doing an activity together, such as walking.  Since walking energizes both sides of the brain, each person will be more receptive – rather than standing face to face and arguing, at night, near the bed.

Make A List of Positive Statements About Your Relationship

When you are upset with your partner’s attitude, behavior or responses and have not had an opportunity to talk it over and resolve the conflict, your mind will begin ruminating and repeating the upsetting thoughts over and over and over.  One solution would be to have a list of positive affirmations readily available, in the drawer of your night table, so you can immediately start repeating the positive statements to yourself – rather than exacerbating the upsetting emotions by arguing with your partner who just wants to get a good night’s sleep.

What If This Is A Pattern In Your Relationship?

If late night disagreements and unresolvable conflicts become a pattern in your relationship, it may be time to break up or reach out for counseling.  Discover for yourself whether this is just a phase, a temporary problem, or a deep-seated personality flaw in yourself or your partner.  Knowing that you or your partner has borderline tendencies or manic-depressive bouts, for example, does not mean that your relationship must end.  Love is the key here.  If you are in love with a difficult or high maintenance partner, and you choose to remain in the relationship, then it behooves you to seek counseling for yourself so that you can learn appropriate ways to respond.  For you, personally, this relationship may provide benefits that at this point in time tend to outweigh the roller coaster of emotional ups and downs you experience.

 Some Simple Affirmations

Here are some simple affirmations that can be adjusted to your relationship and your circumstances.  Repeating the thought that you DO love each other and that you DO have a good relationship can fire up your brain neurons to create new loving pathways.

“I know he loves me.  He’s just stressed out right now
and we can talk about this tomorrow.”

“I love so much about her.  Right now she’s not listening
so I’ll give her time to calm down.”

“He/she has difficulty handling emotions.  It is not my fault.
I am not the cause. I am not responsible.  I am okay just the way I am.”

We need training in how to create a successful relationship.  It does not come naturally to many of us.  We tend to repeat the patterns we have learned in our own upbringing, which may not be helpful in handling conflictual situations.

Counseling/Therapy Can Help You Understand What is Happening and Why

This is where counseling and therapy comes into play.  At least one partner, preferably both, needs to make the effort to understand them self and their partner – and counseling/therapy is designed to help you do that.  The more you understand your own behavior, attitudes, needs and desires as well as the spoken and unspoken needs and desires of your partner, the more easily you can forgive emotionally upsetting interactions.  And the more you can easily forgive and accept, the more easily you can calm down and get a good night’s sleep – in spite of a previously unpleasant interaction.

In relationships, you need foresight and a plan to handle upsetting emotions before you get into the upsetting situation.  Talk it over with your partner ahead of time.  Ask:  “What can we do when we get into these fights so that each of us can calm down and figure out a solution?”

And then talk it over with your partner again, after a difficult interactionhas occurred – but not while you are both in the throes of a big argument.  Pay attention to your partner’s responses.  If you seem to be getting attacked back, then double check on your own tone of voice, attitude and beliefs.  You may be showing judgment, irritation, and non-acceptance which may be lead to lots of resistance and anger from your partner.

Try saying:  “Honey, when you say this or do this, I feel…. hurt, insulted, put down… and I start reacting by….yelling, insulting, defending myself….etc.”  rather than saying something like this:  “Why are you always so selfish and nasty.  I should never have married you.  My whole family warned me about you.  Your parents are just as nasty as you….etc.”

Love makes the world go ’round.  It also can make your head spin and your heart ache.  Learn what it takes for YOU to thrive in a relationship.  You are the key here, not some idea of how your “should” be or how you compare to the way “others are.”

What is your habit, your modus operandi, your easy way out, when life stress seems to take over? And have you found a better way to cope?

Please share your thoughts and personal wisdom in the comments below.

Don’t struggle alone.  Talk to me.  Read a healing book.  Listen to my healing words.


Dr. Erica



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Dr. Erica Goodstone is a Spiritual Relationship Healing Expert helping men and women heal their bodies and their relationships through love. Having presented her comprehensive relationship healing programs throughout the U.S. and Canada over several decades, she has helped literally 1000's of men and women to heal through learning how to love. Dr. Erica believes "Where There is Love There IS a Way". When you love, accept, listen and pay attention to your body, trust your own sense of what you truly desire, and strive to understand, appreciate and really know the other people in your life, anything and everything is possible.

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20 thoughts on “Don’t Go to Sleep Mad – Get Back to Love

  1. Hi Erica,

    I wouldn’t be able to sleep if I were angry with my mate. My mind and heart would be racing all night long. My parents taught me to never go to bed angry and that is my practice.

    I love how you suggest that we talk about how we would handle upsetting situations before they occurred.

    In our family, we have a couple who have been married 50+years. They tell that they keep their spark by never going to bed mad at each other. I think that that is a wonderful example of a completion–not to allow resentments to build–not allowing unsaid words to get in the way of a great
    connection with your partner. We all probably can make completions in
    our lives that will free up energy so that we can have what we want. That thing left unsaid is an incompletion.

    Problems in the bedroom are probably almost always about unspoken truths, holding back emotions and incompletions.

    • Rachel,

      True, many problems in the bedroom are about unspoken truths. Yet there are many times when all is said but the partner chooses to avoid responding or feels unable to reciprocate warmth, affection or whatever else is desired and requested. That is when counseling is an option that can actually save the relationship.

      Dr. Erica

  2. You’re so right on this one – sometimes it takes a failed marriage (what I went through) to understand that this isn’t the best way to approach problems

    2nd time around – when we have issues we discuss them over dinner and don’t let them fester until bed – we found we both need that extra time to process things and come back to them if need be before we go to bed – works better for us.

    • Marty,

      So much better to talk when you are both relaxed and then allowing some time for each of you to process what has been discussed. By the time you are ready for bed, you are both more clear and centered.

      Dr. Erica

  3. I have never thought about making a plan to solve issues when it comes to late night disagreements. There is nothing worse than waking up with a bad taste from the night before, it can really hang a cloud over the day. Thanks for the advice!

    • Justin,

      So many of us have plans for our business, social events, vacations, leisure activities, but we do not plan some of the most important things in our life. Our most intimate relationship requires some planning to prevent unnecessary anger and hurt feelings. A little planning, lots of understanding and a whole lot of forgiveness can go a long way toward creating loving, fulfilling relationships.

      Dr. Erica

  4. Dr. Erica – My wife and I have always tried our best to never go to sleep angry or frustrated. This includes with each other but also just in general. I feel going to sleep angry will just start the next day off on the wrong foot and then could lead into worse conditions. These are some very inspiring words you have put together, Thanks! 8D

    • Kyle,

      It’s wonderful when both partners agree and are concerned with each others’ feelings and the outcome of arguments. But there are different personalities and some people are not as empathic, have an emotional disorder or are not willing to talk things out. Sometimes the partner with the best of intentions receives an upsetting response. So it is best not to start such a discussion at bedtime. If your partner’s response is negative and it is earlier in the day, there is still time for each of you to calm down and possibly resolve the issues.
      Dr. Erica

  5. I did what you advise against only last week. I rarely get angry but on this day I did let something get to me. I bottled it up and tried to rationalize my partner’s behavior, without success. I couldn’t get it off my mind. I left it until bedtime to talk to him about it. I remained calm and non accusing and told him what was bothering me and how it made me feel.

    So although I think I tackled it correctly and I relaxed and slept well, he took quite a while to nod off. All was fine between us again but my timing was wrong.

    • Sue,
      Relationships are not easy. Issues arise all the time and our emotions can easily get stirred up by the one closest to us. We cannot do it perfectly all the time but we can make the effort and be aware of what works and what doesn’t work. since the feelings had been bottled up, it was better to say what you had to say – even if the timing was off. Your tone of voice and attitude also make a huge difference on the outcome.

      Dr. Erica

  6. Dr. erica,
    well, well the truth is finally emerging haahh 🙂 fro what I know Only selfish people can go to sleep after having an argument with their loved one (meaning they do not have any love for the partner, correct?)

    This article remind me many a times when that happen to me and I know that did not help me at all to fall a sleep.. the upsetting stuff would keep me awake no matter what, I remember that year, years ago when I used to drink wine and hard liquor, I would drink hoping I would forget and the only time it worked was when I would be drunk enough and the day after with other pain, I still had to face what I did not resolve the day or night before with my ex wife.. TERRIBLE.. but it was true..

    Thanks so much for all you do fore others to alleviate pain that it is simple to alleviate, when knowing it..

    • Nick,

      Thanks for being so honest in your response. You are so right. Many of us avoid talking about and dealing with the growing issues in a relationship, so we do something to suppress the feelings temporarily. Alcohol, drugs, eating, gambling, even sports activities and working out can help us to avoid facing issues. But there is a saying “A coward dies a thousand deaths, a hero only one.” If you face the issues, even with lots of arguing – and perhaps using a counselor or therapists to act as a witness and mediator – the problems can actually be resolved. Then there would not be this huge need to find a way to escape the feelings.

      Dr. Erica

  7. Great advice!

    Nobody should attempt to sleep after or during a heated disagreement! And I like your advice regarding attempting to talk this out during a nice relaxing walk!

    Although until I read your post, I had no idea what walking did for both sides of brain.

    Clearly, effective communication is key here. Thanks for providing the blueprint to healthier and longer lasting relationships!

    • Mark,

      There really are different ways to respond to the same situation. Couples that last, and build a happy and fulfilling relationship, find a way that works for both of them to quickly resolve conflicts – or to delay dealing with the conflicts until both are in a calm enough state to communicate effectively.

      Dr. Erica

  8. I find it difficult to let go of my anger sometimes when my husband upsets me. I am the type of person who likes to make things clear as soon as they happen and who says hurtful things when I am upset. I know it’s a mistake but I am working on it. I recently started looking for something else to do instead of working myself up over something that can easily be discussed the next day. I also find it almost impossible to sleep when I am upset. So I started going to the kitchen and doing one of the things that I love the most: baking. It relaxes me and I love eating what I baked 🙂

    • Houda,

      I love what you decided to do – something completely different that you enjoy doing, that takes some concentration but does not cause any stress or too much to think about. That is a great way to cool down, not to mention the soothing effect of sugar, one of the substances usually found in cake.


      Dr. Erica

  9. I have never been able to go to sleep when I’m angry or upset – I’ll just toss and turn and things will only build up to be bigger than they really are. I’d much rather clear the air before we even head to the bedroom. I’ve never use affirmations, but I like and copied the examples you’ve provided.

    As far as therapy, the one “couples” therapy experience I’ve had was when my ex-husband was in drug rehab and the therapist told me – in front of him – that his recovery was dependent on my support! I bought into to that nonsense on every level and things did not turn out well, so while I’m sure there are caring competent therapists out there, I’d personally be reluctant to give it another try. Thanks for the insightful article Dr. Erica. 🙂

    • Marty,

      Yes, it can be helpful if a partner is supportive when someone is attempting to recover from addiction but recovery is certainly not dependent upon that partner. It can take “a village” to help someone overcome an addiction problem and the addicted person needs to be committed to his or her own healing. Sorry you had that experience of having responsibility thrust upon you in a therapy session.

      Dr. Erica

  10. Nathaniel,

    When we are angry, we are not usually in a receptive, cooperative state of mind. Better to let each other have some space and time to cool down. But if it is discussed during a pleasant activity, like walking together, then you can set up a planned way to handle conflicts when they arise. You may not follow the plan in the moment but that gives you more to talk about and to possibly fine tune the way you plan to interact the next time. Relationships are a work of art in action.

    Dr. Erica

  11. Dr. Erica,

    I have always heard “do not let the sun go down on your anger”. I still believe that to be true. I I do believe that trying to resolve differences at night is just an overall bad idea. Many times both people go to be stressed, angry, and end up not getting a good night sleep because of it. This can linger on into work the next day, which is not good.

    Love your affirmations and I think they should be practiced by couples more often. That is great advice about walking and discussing differences. This is something that we might not want to do because let’s face it, when you are angry you want to sometimes be far away from the other person, but I still love that idea. Thank you so much for sharing.

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