Here in Canada, we are celebrating Thanksgiving this weekend. I thought that this would be a great opportunity to get all nerdy on you and present some pretty great reasons to start infusing gratitude in your life.
The land that Canada is on was originally occupied, and cared for beautifully, by indigenous people. Since this land was taken over without negotiation, we Canadians could at least be grateful for the life that this land has given us. There is nothing worse that first world problem whining in a land of such prosperity. Ok, said my piece on why gratitude should be a given, but since it still seems to be a difficult task to master, let me tell you what a attitude of gratitude can do for your nocturnal angst.
Often the reason why people have difficulty getting to sleep, and sometimes remaining asleep, is what you think before you go to bed. Scared, fearful, anxious, freakout out thoughts keep you in a state of “fight or flight” in your brain. Seriously! Your brain kinda needs you to be alert if you are gonna use your fists or your legs to run away. So, my suggestion is to do the following:
There are some pretty smart, researchers at the University of Manchester in England who looked at how gratitude might affect people’s snooze time. Their study included over 400 adults of all ages, even some with diagnosed sleep disorders. They asked these folks to complete questionnaires about gratitude, sleep and pre-sleep thoughts, and these people provided some pretty cool information that resulted in the data being smooshed into patterns and trends that showed that gratitude was related to having more positive thoughts, and fewer negative ones, at bedtime. What this means is that gratitude leads to dozing off faster and sleeping longer and better.
*With nerdspeak translations
Gratitude was uniquely related to:
- Total Sleep Quality: multiple measures of how you slept such as brain waves, duration, self-report of how you slept, etc.
- Subjective Sleep Quality: how you thought you slept
- Sleep Latency: fancy word, in sleep science, for the length of time that it takes to accomplish the transition from full wakefulness to sleep.
- Sleep Duration: how long you slept as observed by sleep scientists.
- Daytime Dysfunction: your amount of sleep mixed in with how well you function during the day.
Here is an awesome resource, with a free APP :), to get you started on the magical infusion of gratitude in your life.
You can even get weekly free tips sent right to your email. Seriously, stop whining and start noticing what is going well in your life and you will start to sleep better (an then be less whiny). Even I get whiny at times, but I really try hard to balance my negative thinking with expanding my life view by forcing myself to also see what is going well. Trust me, it works 🙂
Surround your gratitude with healthy sleep habits.
I wish you all a weekend of getting some gratitude swirling around your brain . This is the first step to better snoozing’ 🙂
Dr. Heather Drummond, EdD (Counselling Psychology)
eSuccess-Coach * Passionate Advocate for Student Success
Wood A.M., Joseph, S., Lloyd, J., Atkins, S. (2009). Gratitude influences sleep through the mechanism of pre-sleep cognitions. Journal of Psychosomatic Research 66 43–48