As great as romantic gestures and over the top sentiments are, the reality is that healthy relationships are built in the mundane, everyday habits. Things like where and how you sleep, the conversations you have each day, and tiny things you do to make the other feel valued are what really matter. As much as you both probably want to go to bed without a second thought after a long day, the way you spend your nights can make or break your relationship. Even doing a few of the worst things you can do with your partner at night can have markedly negative effects on your relationship — you just might not know where it's coming from right away.
Believe it or not, the way your spend your final hours of the day (and, yes, even your hours sleeping) are vital for a happy relationship. According to Psychology Today, these seemingly insignificant nightly habits can contribute to your overall happiness in ways you probably haven't realized.
Instead of finding yourself in the position of trying to reverse years of damage, knowing what habits to avoid from the get-go will ensure that your nighttime hours lead to happy and healthy daytime hours. It's not glamorous or romantic, but it's so important.
1. Sleeping Separately
I can hear the moans and groans now: "But we sleep so much better apart." I hear you, I really do. My husband and I have spent our fair share of nights sleeping apart either in the wake of an argument or just for comfort's sake. But, according to solid research, sleeping in separate spaces consistently can damage your relationship.
On one side of the debate, the Huff Post noted that for some couples, sleeping in separate spaces works best for them. Things like loud snoring, restlessness, or light sleeping can cause resentment towards your partner when you don't sleep well, and so, sleeping in separate beds makes sense. However, the same article noted that when couples sleep separately they miss out on the literal boost of hormones that happens through being close to each other.
It's not all about sex, the article mentioned, things like pillow talk, cuddling, and close proximity boosts oxytocin, causing the couple to feel closer in more ways than one.
2. Forgetting To Say "I Love You"
As the Daily Mirror reported, studies show that the most important things are usually the smallest. Along with hugging five times a day, eating meals together, and traveling to new places together, saying "I love you" before bed was ranked as one of the most important daily habits for couples to form.
3. Having Opposite Schedules
Of course, sometimes schedules are impossible to align, but to the best of your ability, ensure that you and your partner are going to bed at the same(ish) time every night. My husband and I worked opposite schedules for three years in a row and, in hindsight, I can say with certainty that not going to bed at the same time wreaked more havoc on our relationship than anything else.
But don't just take my word for it. According to Psychology Today, sleeping at different times is usually the first "step" towards distance that eventually drives many couples apart. In fact, the article noted that a shocking 75 percent of couples don't go to bed together because of different schedules or because one is watching TV. Going to bed at around the same time shows that you prioritize your relationship more than staying up to catch up on Nexflix.
4. Spending Your Time In Bed On Your Smart Phone
Similarly, spending your time winding down on your smart phone instead of connecting with your SO can have damaging effects as well. Everyone is guilty of it, but simply shutting your phone off an hour before bed can have positive effects on both your relationships and your quality of sleep, Business Insider noted.
5. Not Getting Enough Sleep
Not surprisingly, poor sleep leads to poor relationships. In fact, according to Life Reimagined by AARP, getting enough sleep at night is one of the most important things you can do for your relationship.
6. Falling Asleep After A Big Fight
You've probably heard the age old advice to never fall asleep without resolving an argument, and, like most age old advice, most experts agree that it rings true today. Although many would say that sleeping on an argument helps it feel less important the next morning, according to Time, the opposite is actually true. When you sleep after an argument, negative feelings and information is consolidated in your brain, which can cause you to wake up with even more resentment than if you were to remain awake all night without sleep.
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