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Married couple swears by the '3-Hour Night' as a relationship game changer

"If you’re stuck in a rut with your evenings — try this!"

relationships, marriage, intimacy, parenting, time management
@racheleehiggins/TikTok

Want out of a relationship rut? The Three hour night might be the perfect solution.

Almost every long term relationship suffers from a rut eventually. That goes especially for married partners who become parents and have the added responsibility of raising kids. Maintaining a connection is hard enough in this busy, fast paced world. Top it off with making sure kids are awake, dressed, entertained, well fed, oh yeah, and alive…and you best believe all you have energy for at the end of the day is sitting on the couch barely making it through one episode on Netflix.

And yet, we know how important it is to maintain a connection with our spouses. Many of us just don’t know how to make that happen while juggling a million other things.

According to one mom, a “three-hour night” could be just the thing to tick off multiple boxes on the to-do list while rekindling romance at the same time. Talk about the ultimate marriage hack.


The three-hour night was something that Rachel Higgins and her husband began incorporating into their lives at the beginning of this year. And so far, “it's been so fun and such like a game changer for how our evenings go,” she says in a clip posted to TikTok.

Before using the three-hour night, the evening would look a bit like this: their daughter would go to bed, they would lounge on the couch, scroll through social media, then fall asleep. Sound familiar?

But with a three hour night, Higgins and her husband divvy up the time before bed into three section, each for a different focus.

In the first hour, starting around 7 p.m., is what Higgins calls “productive time,” during which the couple sees to any household chores that might need to be done.

“So start with like a quick cleanup of the kitchen or just like things that accumulated throughout the day, and then we try to do something that either ... has been being put off or cleaning the bathroom or like organizing the pantry or hall closet or something like, super random like sharpening the knives. Anything that's productive for the household,” she explains.

@rachelleehiggins if you’re stuck in a rut with your evenings try this! i saw someone do something similar to this a while ago but can’t remember who! #marriage #1sttimeparents #newyearsgoals ♬ original sound - Rachel Higgins

Next, the second hour is geared towards re-establishing a physical or emotional connection in their marriage. The phones go away, and they focus only on enjoying one another.

“So, that could be things like showering together or ‘having fun’ together, playing a game together, or just like anything that's gonna get you guys talking and connecting or like debriefing from the day or just like talking about what you're doing and like the plans for tomorrow or like how works going or whatever. So, anything that's gonna connect and strengthen and build your marriage,” Higgins says.

Lastly, the final hour of the night is dedicated towards anything Higgins and her husband individually want to do, any sort of personal recharge activity.

Since this is a judgment free time, Higgins states that “If you just want to lay on the couch and scroll your phone and watch TikToks or whatever like watch YouTube videos,” it’s totally acceptable.

Higgins’ novel approach definitely interested viewers, who chimed in with their own questions. One major concern was how the heck this could be done every night. But even Higgins admits that she and her husband don’t succeed at having a three-hour night every night—they usually try for about 3-4 times a week. And honestly even once a week could still probably be beneficial in building intimacy.

Others wondered how to have a three-hour night when things randomly popped up in their schedule, like when kids won’t magically go to sleep promptly at 7pm. Higgins shares that in these cases, they tend to just shorten each phase. The point being: these can and probably should be customizable, even fun, rather than yet another rigid chore.

Plus, a three hour night (or whatever your version of a three-hour night may be) is a great way to remind yourself just how high of a priority your relationship has in your life…no matter what else is going on at the time. Odds are you'll probably find you do have more time for it than you previously thought when you set aside time for it.

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Longtime GRAMMY Awards partner Mastercard is using this year’s campaign to shine a light on the environment and the Priceless Planet Coalition (PPC), a forest restoration program with the goal of restoring 100 million trees. Music fans are 1.5 times more likely to take action to help the environment, making the GRAMMY Awards the perfect opportunity to raise awareness.

“Through our GRAMMY Awards campaign, we’ve created an opportunity for our brand, our partners and consumers to come together over shared values, to participate during a moment when we can celebrate our passion for music and our commitment to make meaningful investments to preserve the environment,” says Rustom Dastoor, Executive Vice President of Marketing and Communications, North America at Mastercard.

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Mastercard’s partners are also joining the mission by encouraging people all over the country to participate; Lyft and Sirius XM are both offering ways for consumers to get involved in the Priceless Planet Coalition. To learn more about how you can support these efforts, visit mastercard.com/forceofnature.

While fashion is always a highlight of any GRAMMY Awards event, SZA’s outfit worn during her performance of Saturn was designed to make a statement; made of tree seeds to help spread awareness. Fans can even comment ‘🌱’ and tag a friend on Mastercard’s designated post of SZA’s GRAMMY House performance for a chance to win a tree seed from the performance outfit*.

“SZA has a personal passion for sustainability – not just in forest restoration but in the clothes she wears and the platforms and partners she aligns herself with. It was important to us to partner with someone who is not only showing up big at the GRAMMY Awards – as the most GRAMMY-nominated artist this year – but also showing up big for the environment,” says Dastoor.

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Scientists tested 3 popular bottled water brands for nanoplastics using new tech, and yikes

The results were alarming—an average of 240,000 nanoplastics per 1 liter bottle—but what does it mean for our health?

Suzy Hazelwood/Canva

Columbia University researchers tested bottled water for nanoplastics and found hundreds of thousands of them.

Evian, Fiji, Voss, SmartWater, Aquafina, Dasani—it's impressive how many brands we have for something humans have been consuming for millennia. Despite years of studies showing that bottled water is no safer to drink than tap water, Americans are more consuming more bottled water than ever, to the tune of billions of dollars in bottled water sales.

People cite convenience and taste in addition to perceived safety for reasons they prefer bottle to tap, but the fear factor surrounding tap water is still a driving force. It doesn't help when emergencies like floods cause tap water contamination or when investigations reveal issues with lead pipes in some communities, but municipal water supplies are tested regularly, and in the vast majority of the U.S., you can safely grab a glass of water from a tap.

And now, a new study on nanoplastics found in three popular bottled water brands is throwing more data into the bottled vs. tap water choice.

Researchers from Columbia University used a new laser-guided technology to detect nanoplastics that had previously evaded detection due to their miniscule size. The new technology can detect, count and analyze and chemical structure of nanoparticles, and they found seven different major types of plastic: polyamide, polypropylene, polyethylene, polymethyl methacrylate, polyvinyl chloride, polystyrene, and polyethylene terephthalate.

In contrast to a 2018 study that found around 300 plastic particles in an average liter of bottled water, the study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in January of 2024 found 240,000 nanoplastic particles per liter bottle on average between the three brands studied. (The name of the brands were not indicated in the study.)

As opposed to microplastics, nanoplastics are too small to be seen by microscope. Their size is exactly why experts are concerned about them, as they are small enough to invade human cells and potentially disrupt cellular processes.

“Micro and nanoplastics have been found in the human placenta at this point. They’ve been found in human lung tissues. They’ve been found in human feces; they’ve been found in human blood,” study coauthor Phoebe Stapleton, associate professor of pharmacology and toxicology at Rutgers University’s Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy told CNN Health,

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That's not to say there's no cause for concern. We do know that certain levels of microplastic exposure have been shown to adversely affect the viability of cells. Nanoplastics are even smaller—does that mean they are more likely to cause cellular damage? Science is still working that out.

According to Dr. Sara Benedé of the Spanish National Research Council’s Institute of Food Science Research, it's not just the plastics themselves that might cause damage, but what they may bring along with them. “[Microparticles and nanoparticles] have the ability to bind all kinds of compounds when they come into contact with fluids, thus acting as carriers of all kinds of substances including environmental pollutants, toxins, antibiotics, or microorganisms,” Dr. Benedé told Medical News Today.

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Is it possible that some of these nanoplastics were already present in the water from their original sources? Again, research is always evolving on this front, but microplastics have been detected in lakes, streams and other freshwater sources, so it's not a big stretch to imagine that nanoplastics may be making their way into freshwater ecosystems as well. However, microplastics are found at much higher levels in bottled water than tap water, so it's also not a stretch to assume that most of the nanoplastics are likely coming from the bottling process and packaging rather than from freshwater sources.

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We need to drink water, and we need to drink safe water. At this point, we have plenty of environmental reasons for avoiding bottled water unless absolutely necessary and opting for tap water instead. Even if there's still more research to be done, the presence of hundreds of thousands of nanoplastics in bottled water might just be another reason to make the switch.

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