Before You Sleep, Be Thankful - Research Linked Gratitude to Quality Sleep

By Sharon Moore on August 23, 2012

Instead of counting how much more money you need to make to settle your bills, recalling how your boss admonished you in front of your colleagues, or worrying about tomorrow’s presentation at work, why not be grateful about the person who made you smile today, or count the blessings you received? Sure, there are plenty of them. If you do this, chances are you will have a good night sleep.

It was estimated that 25% of UK population suffer from sleeping problems, which usually result to daytime sleepiness. Majority of these people rely heavily on the use of sleeping medications, not knowing about the possible side effects that the pill might give them.

There are many factors that affect one’s quality of sleep. One of them is stress. With all the problems and challenges people get to meet each day, it can be hard to sleep at night without going back to those stressful moments.

But researchers found a better way to sleep at night without popping a pill. The only thing they would have to do is close their eyes, stop worrying, and be grateful for the great things that happened all through the day.

Gratitude Promotes Quality Sleep

In a study headed by psychology professor Nancy Digdon, it was found that grateful thoughts can give people a good night sleep. She and her team asked the participants to write in a gratitude journal for 15 minutes every night before going to sleep. They found that it helped participants to sleep longer and better.

Psychologists Robert Emmons and Michael McCullough got similar results. In their study, they invited a group of people who had neuromuscular disorders and asked them to write about the things they are grateful for, each night. After three weeks, the participants reported getting longer, more fulfilling sleep.

In another study, researchers from the University of Manchester looked into the effects of having high sense of gratitude to sleeping. Their study involved 400 adults of all ages, 40% have sleeping disorders. They were given questionnaires about gratitude, sleep, and pre-sleep thoughts. Gratitude was measured by how optimistic the participants were. The researchers found that those who rated high in gratitude scales are those who are able to doze off quickly. They also had the highest quality of sleep.

Being thankful of all the good things that come to your life is often easy said than done. You may probably remember the day when you and your friend quarrelled but have no recollection of that wonderful dinner date you had with a new companion. One of the big life mysteries is that we tend to forget majority of the good things happening around us than the bad memories which we should have let go a long, long time ago. But gratitude is like a muscle, the more you use it, the more it gets stronger. Tonight before dozing off, take time to write down or just think of the good things you had for the day or the past few days. Who knows, it might give you the quality of sleep you’ve been longing for all these years.


Source of this article:

Effects of Constructive Worry, Imagery Distraction, and Gratitude Interventions on Sleep Quality: A Pilot Trial, by Nancy Digdon, Amy Koble, DOI: 10.1111/j.1758-0854.2011.01049.x

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