It's the advice that longterm marrieds often credit to their successful unions, and now scientists say they've found conclusive proof that resolving differences before hitting the hay definitely makes for a happier relationship.
Researchers gave study participants pairs of photographs - one showing a human face, the other a distressing scene. Half an hour later, people were 9% less likely to remember the distressing image if they were asked to try not to think about it. After a good night's sleep, however, participants were only 3% less likely to recall the image.
This led researchers to identify a phenomenon whereby negative ideas, images, thoughts and beliefs are solidified in our minds as we sleep. So going to bed angry can reinforce all those feelings of resentment. But resolving those differences and reaching a truce before going to sleep will do the opposite - reinforce the warm, fuzzy, post-fight feelings you get when you make up with your other half.
“In our opinion, there is certain merit in this age-old advice,” said Yunzhe Liu, who led the research at Beijing Normal University. “We would suggest to first resolve argument before going to bed; don’t sleep on your anger.”