Could Gratitude Lead to Great Sleep?

Your head hits the pillow and instead of falling asleep, your mind fills with worry. You relive everything that went wrong throughout the day, leaving you tossing and turning.

Sound familiar?

While dwelling on the negative at the end of the day may feel like second nature, you can change your habit and get a better night’s rest with one simple step: Focus on the positive.

Before heading to bed, ask yourself, “What am I thankful for today?” Better yet, write it down.

Count your blessings instead of sheep.

Writing down what you’re thankful for can help you fall asleep faster and sleep longer. Don’t take our word for it; we’ve found the science behind the claims.

In a recent study, researchers found that people who spent 15 minutes jotting down what they’re grateful for before bed fell asleep faster and slept longer than those not focused on gratitude before sleep. It makes sense that paying attention to the good things in life is more relaxing than worrying.

Give it a try yourself: Spend a minute thinking about three things that haven’t gone well today, then try meditating. Do the experiment again—this time, focusing on the top three things you’re thankful for in your life.

Which was more successful?

Sleep and gratitude both play a part in mindset and pain relief, too, according to a study by the Journal of Health Psychology. An increase in gratitude and sleep quality are linked to a reduction in depression and anxiety. It’s a win-win-win situation.


Sleep-smart tip

Cultivate gratitude every day. Making gratitude a daily habit will make it easier to relax at bedtime.

Keep a gratitude journal. Dedicate a notebook for your nightly gratitude reflections.

Write a thank you note. Though a Facebook or Twitter message expressing your appreciation is thoughtful, there’s something special about receiving a handwritten letter via snail mail.

Say, “thank you.” If you appreciate someone, don’t keep it to yourself; tell them. A simple, sincere “thank you” will suffice.

Post what you’re grateful for where you’ll see it every day—at your desk, on your refrigerator, on your bathroom mirror. These reminders will give you an unexpected mood boost each time you see them.

Our new sleep series focuses on boosting your sleep IQ to help you get your best sleep—and health—yet. Read our last post on how to change your morning routine for a better night’s rest.

The information herein may not be construed as medical advice. The medical information on this site is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. It should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment. It is best to obtain medical recommendations from your physician.