Every day, as we move through our lives, we will naturally have some moments where we feel grateful. When our partner makes dinner after a long day or a colleague praises us during a team meeting. But we don’t often take the time to reflect upon these moments, or the people in our lives. Taking the time to internalize these positive emotions and writing them down has been shown to have many positive benefits like healthier eating habits, lowering cardiac risk, improved physical health, and combating depression. Additionally, writing out a grateful list has been linked to better quality sleep, falling asleep faster, and sleeping for longer periods of time. Focusing on these positives puts us in a better mental health space, allowing for improved sleep. It is not important if we write these lists before bed or earlier in the day, just taking the time to reflect on the positives in your life can help you feel better and get a better night’s sleep. And reflecting on these moments doesn’t need to be a complex process or something you spend hours on. It can be as simple as writing out “I am grateful for” and then jotting down three things. If you have the time, or the interest, you can get more in depth into what these people or moments are, why you are grateful for them, and the positive impact they have on your life.
This exercise should be completed in whatever way will benefit you and help you feel best. Recognizing what you are grateful for and why can be challenging, this is a great opportunity to set five minutes aside and really reflect on that and what that means to you. You can read more about how gratitude impacts sleep in this 2009 study.