It is loaded at all times, whether, or not it has cartridges in the chambers, or not. It matters not that it is in, or out of the safe. The gun is always loaded.
If you have to defend yourself I sure hope you tell the BG that as your "loaded" gun is clicking away.
I understand the theory behind that statement but we can all agree that it is false. A gun is not always loaded. I unload mine frequently to clean them and for dry fire practice. The goal with that statement is to treat all guns AS IF it is loaded. That is the key. I know I'll probably get flamed for the "as if" thing but I hate it when people say "no, don't treat it as if it's loaded, it is always loaded". We all know it's not a true statement. Treat your gun as if it is loaded.
OP, I understand not wanting to risk losing your right to own a gun completely. If you want to unload it every night I don't think you'll do any harm to your gun as long as you aren't flipping it open and closed.