Common Arguments at Bedtime

Common Arguments at Bedtime

Spats. Tiffs. Barneys. Whatever they’re known as in your house, you’ve likely had your fair share.

Whether a late-night disagreement over domestic chores, or a full-blown barnstormer about household finances, arguments in relationships are a common occurrence, with a staggering 22% of people admitting to some form of conflict each month.

And these disputes – however significant – can greatly affect your sleep.

Arguing before bed can reduce the quality and quantity of sleep you get; potentially exacerbating the problem the following day.

Or worse, having a negative effect on your overall health and wellbeing.

So, in the spirit of protecting your forty winks, we thought we'd mediate - with the help of two sleep experts - and offer a few insights on how to stop arguing with your partner.

Arguments in relationships at bedtime

Arguments in Relationships: The Stats

Despite being a taboo (albeit a taboo that everyone shares), we surveyed 2,000 people on the most common arguments they have. And our findings were… fascinating.

For example, a whopping 42% of couples admit to monthly arguments. Broken down as:

  • 22% arguing once a month
  • 20% arguing twice a month
  • 10% arguing three times a month
  • 17% arguing between 5-9 times a month
  • 2% arguing up to 45 times per month

Staggering, isn't it?

But you needn’t worry if you find yourself disagreeing with your partner. In fact, according to renowned dating coach, Ollie Pearce, it’s a natural part of any relationship.

“It’s not unhealthy to disagree, but it’s always unhealthy to argue... Reaching an agreement through a calm, democratic discussion is key.”

And so, with that in mind, and quarrels often starting before bed, it's important to recognise the most common arguments, and how to defuse them.


Sex

Intimacy is tricky. There’s never a ‘right’ time to discuss it, and, for some, discussing it at all can lead to conflict.

But with sex most often being desired or expected at bedtime, it can become a trigger for late-night arguments in relationships.

Research indicates that 11.25% of couples regularly argue about sex.

For example, couples cite sexual compatibility and frequency of lovemaking as chief argument starters.

So, how do you avoid arguments about sex?

Given the potentially inflammatory topic – everyone feels vulnerable when talking about sex – it’s crucial to engage in honest, open conversation when discussing sexual preferences.

For Chris Pleines, dating expert from Dating Scout, the key to discussing sex is communication.

“Open communication about sex makes a relationship stronger, If you want more from your partner sexually, be honest and go and tell them. Be clear, concise, and positive. Not critical.”

So, whether you’re talking about trying something new, or seeking a way to balance individual sex drives, transparency is key. Set aside time to talk and be considerate of your partner’s feelings.

Who knows? Maybe the talk will lead to… pillow talk?

Snoring

From the intimate to the infuriating. Snoring ranked highest amongst those polled, with a staggering 38.28% of people citing it as the most common argument they have in the bedroom.

And snoring annoys all ages, too. Our survey revealed snoring irritated:

  • 27% of people aged 16-24
  • 26% of people aged 25-43
  • 41% of people aged 45-54
  • 40% of people aged 55+

Snoring can damage the quality of shuteye you get, interfering with REM sleep and preventing you from feeling fully rested. It can also lead to resentment between partners, as the lack of sleep makes patience nigh-on impossible.

Clearly, snoring is an equal-opportunities irritant, but what can be done about it?

Temporary solutions can include earplugs, white noise machines, and even sleeping in separate beds.

But if the problem persists, it may be worth consulting a doctor or sleep therapist, who'll identify any underlying issues such as sleep apnoea or sinusitis.

TV, Tablets, & Phones

A relatively recent entrant into the common arguments between couples world, 22.12 % of people noted their partner using a device in bed as an argument-starter.

And you’d think it’d be an issue mostly affecting younger generations, but you’d be wrong, as the most affected age groups are:

  • 45-54 (24%)
  • 55+ (17.5%)

Smartphones and tablets emit light that can damage our sleep, (not to mention noise) so, using them immediately before bed can be risky.

And while one partner may be willing to take the risk, another may not: setting the stage for an argument.

But, perhaps more so than any other of the common arguments we discovered, this one can be easily avoided by setting ground rules on devices in the bedroom.

For example, you may implement a 'no devices after lights out' policy, or request that your partner wears headphones whilst watching something on TV.

You may even choose to ban all devices from the bedroom, making it a place for sleep and intimacy only

We did it before devices. And we can do it again.

Common arguments between couples: Devices in Bed

Share of the Duvet

If someone hogging the duvet vexes you, you’re not alone. An eye-opening 21.18% of people identified share of the duvet (or lack thereof) as a common argument trigger.

And it sounds trivial, but it's anything but.

You see, our level of duvet coverage links directly to our night-time temperature, which massively factors into the quality of sleep we get.

Imagine repeatedly waking up dithering, only to glance over at your partner who’s snug and slumbering. (That’s even irritating to type)

One - perhaps more radical solution - is the approach known as the 'Scandinavian Method.'

In this model, you can address issues of duvet-hogging by simply...having two duvets!

We’re being glib, but the logic holds. By having a duvet each, you and your partner can select a duvet that suits your temperature needs, allows you to snuggle or discard the duvet at will, and banish common arguments over cover-hogging!

Common arguments: Duvet Hogging

What Time to Go to Sleep

Lark or nightowl? Nobody's both.

Interestingly, our final entry is most inflammatory amongst the engaged to be married, with 25% of people in the category noting bedtime as an argument starter.

And that sentiment is echoed more generally, too, with 14.25% of people overall admitting to having argued about time to go to sleep.

And it's not entirely unreasonable. After all, if you prefer to hit the hay early, only to be disturbed by your partner turning in in the early hours, your sleep is going to suffer - leading to arguments in relationships.

But how can this issue be resolved?

A common solutions is to sleep in separate rooms. (Or separate beds if space is a factor.)

For some, it's a relationship-saver; others find that it affects intimacy.

Ollies feels the latter to be true:

“[Sleeping separately means] not only are you physically apart, but also spiritually and mentally. Sleeping separately means that opportunities for intimacy, including sex, arise less frequently, driving your further apart.”

And Chris agrees:

“[By sleeping separately] you rob yourself of the chance to cuddle and make conversations in bed.”

So, if sleeping separately isn't ideal, what can be done to address bedtime disputes?

As with any of the tips on our list, the key is transparency. And finding a balance that suits both parties in the relationship. As Chris suggests,

“...the more in-sync a couple’s schedules are, the more harmonious the relationship.”

So, rather than resorting to sperate beds, or even separate bedrooms, sit down with your partner for a frank discussion, and find a sleeping schedule that suits you both.

An open-minded conversation with your partner can – quite literally - save you from sleepless nights. And in doing so, prevent some of most common arguments in relationships from even starting.

Sleeping Couple

Your mileage may vary. There's no one-size-fits-all approach.

But bedroom-related spats are amongst the most common arguments in a relationship, not to mention the most damaging.

And the best way to solve them? Well, that'd be our old friend conversation.

For Ollie, the best way to diffuse bedtime spats is to disengage.

“It doesn’t matter who’s right or wrong. You’re both adults. Agree to disagree, and, if needs be, return to the issue the next day.”

And Chris concurs, adding:

“It’s how you deal with [arguments] that matters. The best thing to do is respect each other’s opinion. This doesn’t mean you have to change your opinion. You’re still two individuals.

Discuss it calmly and intelligently. If it can’t be settled at that moment, go to bed, and discuss in the morning. Don’t skip the hug and kiss before bedtime.”


How to Deal with Frequent Arguments in Relationships

If conflict has become a regular part of your bedtime routine and you’re worried it could spell disaster, it’s crucial that you identify the root of the issue, and our relationship experts agree. Ollie says:

“Have an open discussion about the arguing. This isn’t about who’s right and who’s wrong, it’s a chance for both parties to listen to each other.”

He's right. It's easy to become defensive when arguments persist, but in doing so, you risk further damaging the relationship.

Similarly, Chris notes that identifying the root cause of the arguments is key:

“If you and your partner are always fighting, it’s time to pause and identify the reasons. Most of the time, arguments are rooted in mistranslation. Choose an appropriate time to talk and be prepared to compromise.”

Couple talking in Bed

So, whether you're at odds about togs or tired of tablets, remember:

  • Communication is key
  • Sleeping separately is a last resort
  • Disagreements are healthy, arguments less so
  • Discuss issues calmly and rationally
  • Be prepared to compromise

You'll sleep better for it. Trust us.

How do you deal with arguments at bedtime in your house? Do you sleep in separate rooms? Let us know in the comments!

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