When was the last time you had a life-changing conversation? I’m not interested in dates, I’m literally asking for numbers on a clock, here. I know myself, and even though I consider myself a morning person, don’t expect me to blow your mind with my thought process at 7:30 a.m., and lunchtime is crunch time, so I’m not much of talker then, either. When I think about all the times I’ve had soul-searching, heart-wrenching, eye-opening conversations, they always took place post-sundown. But why are conversations better at night, if this is the time when your brain’s supposed to be winding down, rather than getting itself more riled up? Well, it turns out, your relaxed state of mind actually has everything to do with this interesting phenomenon.
If it weren’t for nighttime conversations, I’m not sure my husband and I would ever have started talking back in college. The way we got together was super unconventional: He’d come to my dorm room to do homework — literally, he would sit on my bed, I would set up camp at my desk, and we would work in complete silence — until around 11 p.m., when we’d close our books, I’d join him on my bed, and we'd talk about life until the early morning hours. This went on for weeks, and by the time we started actually dating, I knew he was my soulmate just by going off our late-night conversations alone. The afternoons were nice, too, but there was just something about the darkness, and the quiet, that opened this door of opportunity for us to get to know one another on an entirely different level.
If your schedule keeps you super busy during the day, chances are nighttime is the only chance you really have to decompress and organize your thoughts about the day, or life in general.
Let’s say you have a full-time job, and on top of office hours, you’re also clocking in a few hours a week at university to get a certification. In the mornings, you wake up early to get some kind of workout in, then you head to the office, followed by an evening class, and then you try your best to make those dessert plans with your best friend. From the moment you wake up, to the moment your pillow case cradles your head, life is hectic, and it stops for no one. But when the sun goes down, and the knots in your neck unravel, you’re able to sit down and get past the to-dos you did throughout the day; there’s a sense of clarity there, and that’s powerful.
According to Alyssa Gaustad, co-founder of the Naam Research Institute and global naam trainer and Naam Yoga, the evening hours are the best time to engage in those deep-rooted, multidimensional conversations that can be loving, healing, and strengthening because, physiologically, that’s when you’re in your most relaxed state. “At night, our parasympathetic nervous system is more active” Gaustad tells Elite Daily, “and this is the part of the nervous system that causes us to come into a natural state of relaxation, receptivity, and healing.” She adds that this also has a lot to do with your physical body and mind mirroring the natural laws of the universe: sunrise and sunset.
“We are affected emotionally and physically by the movement of the sun and moon,” Gaustad says, explaining that the rise and fall of the sun reflects in your physiological, as well as emotional behaviors. “During the daylight, we are more active, and at night, we become more relaxed and receptive.” In other words, whether you like it or not, when the sun rises and shines, so will you, but when the sun goes down, that is the time when your body rests, your mind is at ease, and all the thoughts and emotions that might have felt jumbled up during the day become clear, making them a whole lot easier to express.
When your mind feels clear and your thoughts are organized, Gaustad tells Elite Daily, that is the time to have those impactful, intimate conversations with loved ones.
When my grandma was rushed to the hospital a few weeks ago, I was terrified about what might happen to her. Throughout the day, I kept repeating myself to my husband, and to my sisters, and the only thing I knew was that I was scared, and that I was emotional. Late at night, as we we were lying in bed, my partner and I sat together, talking about life, about afterlife, about growing old, and even though I was still upset, I was able to address my concerns, organize my thoughts, and really understand where the fear was coming from. It felt like one of those college nights where we'd hash out the day, and I'd fall asleep with a little less weight on my shoulders.
According to Dr. Danielle Forshee, LLC, a doctor of psychology and a licensed clinical social worker, this is exactly the type of conversation you should have at night. It could be with a significant other, best friend, parent, or sister, but conversations that communicate "anything you need support on, or anything you want to provide support for" are worth having at night because, when your mind is clear and you feel relaxed, that is when talking things out will "create cohesiveness in relationships and will help you unwind."
But even though nighttime might be the most opportune time to have these kinds of conversations, if something is on your mind, there's no reason you should hold back from talking about it at any time of the day. I know myself, and I'm always waiting for the perfect moment, the most ideal setting, or trying to catch someone in a certain mood before sitting down to chat, and more often than not, this is during dinner, or over a cup of coffee. The key, Dr. Carolina Castanos, the founder of MovingOn, tells Elite Daily, is to find a time and place that's both quiet and uninterrupted, so you and whoever it is you're talking to can be "fully present in a conversation." This way, you can express your emotions without feeling pressed for time, and your loved one on the receiving end can, in turn, process these emotions with you.
So, are conversations better at night? In my opinion, absolutely, but that doesn't mean the discussions you engage in with co-workers or loved ones when the sun's out are going to be less interesting, intimate, or impactful. The real key to a rewarding conversation is being both a good talker and a good listener. And if that doesn't work for you between dawn and sundown, no worries. There's always midnight.