Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

Why “never go to bed angry” isn’t just an old wives’ tale

iStock-515523322.jpg

It’s the kind of age-old relationship advice that gets doled out by tipsy aunts at weddings: never go to bed angry. If you get into a fight with your partner late at night, so the prevailing wisdom goes, the worst thing you can do is get into bed snapping, “Don’t even try and touch me.” (“Ha,” they retort. “As if I’d want to.”)

Instead, you should stay up to hash out the problem – no matter how late it gets.  

And now new research appears to back up the idea that it’s harder to move on from negative feelings after a good night’s sleep.

argument

"Get your feet away from me." "I wouldn't want to touch them with a barge pole."

While we’re sleeping, the brain reorganises the way bad memories – such as an argument with a loved one – are stored, according a study published in the journal Nature Communication.

As a result, these negative associations are harder to suppress in future – so you’ll likely still be stewing over that argument the next day.


Read more: This is the one word you should never say to your partner


Conducted over two days, the study used a psychological technique called the “think/no think” task to test how successfully 73 male students suppressed memories.

The scientists found that men were less able to resist thinking about upsetting memories after they’d had a good night’s sleep, than if they tried to “not think” about them on the same day the memories were made.


Watch: Why do you buy flowers?


MRI scans revealed that “overnight memories” were distributed more evenly across the participants’ cerebral cortex than same-day memories. This suggests that it would be more difficult to “unpick” the overnight memories in future, according to the Guardian.


Read more: How do our kissing habits change in a long-term relationship?


Neuroscientist Yunzhe Liu led the research at Beijing Normal University, and is now based at University College London.

“In our opinion, yes, there is certain merit in this age-old advice,” Liu told the Guardian. “We would suggest to first resolve arguments before going to bed; don’t sleep on your anger.”

Related

psychological-review-studies-depression-facebook-link.jpg

Psychologists reveal how to avoid social media-induced depression

gwen jonas.JPG

What it's like living with a Swedish boyfriend

single women quotes.jpg

30 famous women get really real about the power of being single

Comments

More

Quiz: which famous duo are you and your work wife?

It’s time to find out, once and for all, who you and your work wife really are…

by Kayleigh Dray
20 Jul 2017

You’ve been making your tea wrong this whole time, reveal tea experts

Wait, what?

by Jasmine Andersson
20 Jul 2017

Feed your inner Morticia Addams at these gothic London eateries

And not a unicorn in sight

by The Stylist web team
20 Jul 2017

Designer lattes are the new coffee trend taking over Instagram

Meet the new drink du jour

by The Stylist web team
20 Jul 2017

Two gloriously witchy 90s stars have made a creepy film together

Sabrina and Morticia are a force to be reckoned with

by Amy Swales
20 Jul 2017

Celebrating 50 years since the decriminalisation of homosexuality

Four women tell us what's really changed

by The Stylist web team
20 Jul 2017

The definitive list of TV shows to watch after Love Island

Because leaving the show behind is heartbreak in itself

by Jasmine Andersson
20 Jul 2017

Why you really need to start taking lunch breaks at work

A culture of presenteeism means we're glued to our desks and rarely go outside

by Anna Brech
20 Jul 2017

More and more women are reporting being sexually assaulted on trains

But there could be an upside to new figures revealing the true scale of the problem

by Amy Swales
20 Jul 2017

This is what happens to your brain when you fall in love

Ever wondered where those feelings come from?

by Sarah Biddlecombe
20 Jul 2017