Sleep is important. So much more important than we give it credit for. I’ve written about its importance before — how it’s crucial for mental health and well being; how it’s not a “luxury”, but an absolute necessity.
And if you want to get a good night’s sleep, in addition to a healthy lineup of rituals and preparations, there’s another, more unexpected way to get your zzzzzs on: gratitude.
Research shows that gratitude can help you sleep better. In one major study, participants practicing gratitude reported getting more hours of sleep each night, spending less time awake before falling asleep and feeling more refreshed upon awakening.
“This finding is enormous, in that sleep disturbance and poor sleep quality have been identified as central indicators of poor overall well-being, as well as increased risk for physical disease and premature death. It may sound simplistic, but the evidence cannot be ignored: If you want to sleep more soundly, count blessings, not sheep,” said the world’s leading gratitude expert, Robert Emmons.
So how, exactly, do you practice gratitude? There are lots of ways, but the two deemed most effective by researchers include a gratitude journal and a gratitude letter/visit. Here’s how to give these gratitude practices a go:
- Once a week, make a list of five things that have occurred over the past seven days that you’re grateful for. Call it your gratitude journal.
- Write a gratitude letter to someone you appreciate, who you’ve never thanked or told. Share it with them, in person if possible
Be grateful, sleep better (and be healthier, happier and nicer, too). Oh, and there’s an app for that. If you’d rather use your iPhone over a paper journal, try the Gratitude Journal app or the Thnx4 website.