Getting a good night sleep helps heal and regenerate our physical and psychological well-being, and by expressing gratitude before we go to bed helps to promote a good night sleep.
Sleep is so much more than just rest because when we sleep our brain and body don’t shut down, instead they perform tasks that promote both mental and physical healing. During our time of sleep our body produces hormones that help repair cells that fight off illness and our brain forms new path ways for us to be able to continue to learn and remember information.
But although sleep is important, we are not getting enough of it, in fact in a recent survey the Health Foundation found that only 33% of adults get a good night sleep. They also found that most adults have difficulty falling asleep or did not have enough sleep due to a poor sleep pattern, which leaves us feeling irritable and tired the next day. The study also found that as a result of not getting regular quality sleep, between 22 and 28% of us suffer from depression, anxiety and hypertension, and 20% of us admitted to either falling asleep at work or while driving.
So why are we not experiencing quality sleep and what is keeping us awake at night? There are many causes but the most common are, noise and light, cognitive or emotional issues such as stress, worrying and physical pain.
Unfortunately in this day in age our minds are so active, that it’s keeping us up rather than letting us rest, as holding on to negative thoughts, lifestyle habits (watching TV or surfing the internet before bed) and charging our phones next to our bed, all prevent us from being able to unwind and get a good night sleep. Not forgetting that our body is already deprived of sleep and all we want to do is go to sleep, so we start to become anxious about not being able to go to sleep, which can then lead to symptoms of mild depression and even more less sleep.
How can gratitude help me get a rest full sleep?
The key to getting a getting a good night’s rest, is having a positive mindset and being thankful , according to researchers at the University of Manchester, when they looked at how having a attitude full of gratitude before going to sleep had an effect on us. They found we fall asleep faster, longer and wake feeling more refreshed.
They also found, by practising gratitude before we go to bed, broke our patterns of negative thoughts and anxiety because by being grateful we are training our brain to look at what we are thankful for.
This happens because our mind can’t focus on a negative and a positive at the same time, so by focusing on the good things that happen in our day to day life, like the food we enjoyed, the people we spoke to or the experiences we had, before going sleep or in the middle of the night, we encourage our minds to go into a relaxed mental state. In turn this helps to initiate the rest and kick starts part of our parasympathetic nervous system, which sends us off to sleep opposed to the fight or flight stress response of our sympathetic nervous system which keeps us awake.
This link between the combined effects of gratitude and sleep has also been found by research carried out by the University of Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Institute of Education. Who found that gratitude had a direct effect on lowering depression, which led to better sleep and then by having improved sleep lowered our anxiety levels.
This link between the combined effects of gratitude and sleep has also been found by research carried out by the University of Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Institute of Education. Who found that gratitude had a direct effect on lowering depression, which led to better sleep and then by having improved sleep lowered our anxiety levels. They also reported in their findings that expressing gratitude before going to sleep acts like rest button for our brains and as we drift off to sleep, thoughts of gratitude are more likely to slow our heart rate and also invite rest, rather than heart racing thoughts.
What are the effects of bedtime gratitude?
Poor sleep is a powerful downward spiral for our personal and professional growth, including how our day is going to turn out. Let’s face it we are all pretty much guaranteed to be pretty grumpy, struggle to concentrate, be kind to others and even appreciate what we have in our lives when we are tired and running on only a few hours sleep.
But once we connect gratitude with our sleep routine and start experiencing its positive effects, like waking up with more vitality, the brain will start looking for more things to be thankful for and this will gradually lead to more life satisfaction, less job related stress, better relationships, and long term happiness in all areas of our lives.
This feeling of gratitude boosts our serotonin (our neurotransmitter associated with regulating our mood and appetite) and releases dopamine ( a neurotransmitter that promotes self-esteem and increase energy), resulting in the spiral effect of feeling happy with ourselves, our whole being changes and starts to shine outward and our motivation to do more with our life increases.
How do you feel about starting a gratitude journal to help you get quality sleep at night?
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