This Bed Habit Could End Your Relationship, New Study Says

Nighttime habits are important. Maybe you have the habit of making yourself a cup of hot tea before turning off the light.

Or you read for at least 10 minutes before closing your eyes. You can even turn on a white noise machine or snuggle up with your dog for a few moments before bed. But in addition to creating an evening routine for you as an individual, you’ll also want to create one for you and your partner. And when creating that routine, there’s one thing you should avoid, according to a new study. Read on to learn more about this relationship-destroying habit and to hear expert advice on bedtime practices that will improve your partnership instead of draining it.

Your bedtime routine can strengthen your relationship.

Before we address the bedtime habit that can be detrimental to your relationship, it’s important to note that this time can also be used to improve it. “To stay connected in a relationship, you have to take the time to tune in to each other and reconnect,” says Angela Amias, LCSW, couples therapist and co-founder of Alchemy of Love. “When calm reigns and there are no distractions, it can be helpful to take time for an intimate conversation.

That said, you need to proactively avoid distractions. “Using your phone or watching a show while you’re falling asleep is a missed opportunity to nurture your relationship,” says Amias. She suggests putting your devices into sleep mode at least 30 minutes before you go to sleep so you can focus on meaningful reconnection.

Doing this in bed can ruin your relationship.

Eating in bed is a habit that can have a negative impact on your relationship. According to a study published in Talker and conducted by OnePoll for Serta Simmons Bedding, a third of respondents said their partner eating in bed was breaking up their relationship. Conversely, 35% of those surveyed admitted that they eat themselves in bed. Millennials are most likely to find this behavior particularly offensive. Oddly enough, this is also the generation that eats the most in bed.

It seems to be the mess left behind by meals in bed that is the most annoying. Four out of five people surveyed “say that crumbs in the bed give them the most unpleasant night’s sleep.” The most common bedtime snacks are cookies, chips, and popcorn, all of which are crumb creators.

You should also avoid arguing in bed.

Another thing to avoid in the minutes before bed is arguing. I know the saying “don’t get angry” is pretty common, but sometimes staying up to continue an argument only makes things worse,” says Elyssa Helfer, LMFT, licensed marriage and family therapist at Elevated Healing Center . “If we are tired, it is likely that we are not communicating in the most effective way, which can cause the argument to drag on without being resolved.”

If you need to have a discussion in the moment, Helfer suggests stepping out of the bedroom to do so. “Our bedrooms are made for rest, privacy and peace,” she says. By moving your conflict, you can help it stay that way.

Take time to be grateful.

You may already have a personal gratitude practice. But what about adding a relationship-focused practice to your evening routine? “I encourage couples to make a list of one or two things they are grateful for that day in regards to their relationship,” advises Ms. Helfer. “This not only builds connection and compassion, but also encourages individuals to pay more attention to how their partner improves their daily lives. ”

And don’t forget the little things.

Other aspects of your evening routine are also important — and Claudia Delgado, LCSW, a therapist specializing in infidelity, suggests making them a habit. She recommends in particular spending 10 to 15 minutes a day wondering about each other’s day and listening to them, saying goodnight by hugging and kissing, sharing a kiss six seconds at least three times a week before going to bed, watching a show while physically touching yourself, and doing an hour-long activity once a week, such as playing a board game or making a dessert.

“If the little things are ignored, the relationship can start to weaken,” says Ms. Delgado. “This can create many problems that can lead to thoughts of separation.” Conversely, establishing a routine that strengthens your bond can help you both feel confident, happy, and secure in your partnership. It may also mean that one or two missteps (like a cookie in the bed!) won’t be as much of a deal breaker.