Sleep Affirmations: What They Are And How They Can Help You Sleep Better
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For years, I was a terrible sleeper.
I was hooked on sleep aids.
Some nights, I’d still be tossing and turning all night despite taking the sleep aid and being exhausted to the bone.
Most mornings, it would take me at least an hour to drag my drowsy, still exhausted self out of bed.
My dependence on sleep aids created another problem: I believed that I couldn’t sleep without it.
Not surprisingly, taking a nap was near impossible. I’d lost my childhood ability to fall into a deep slumber any time, anywhere.
The idea of sleeping well remained a dream for the longest time until the day I came down with a serious bout of the flu that rendered me unable to do anything….but sleep.
So sleep I did, for most of the day and all night for over a week.
I was sick, but I’d never felt more rested in my life.
I continued to sleep like a baby most nights for a month or two after I recovered. But as time went on, my ‘insomnia’ returned.
My accidental ‘break’ from bad sleep got me thinking: Apart from physical exhaustion, what made the difference that allowed me to drift off and stay asleep so easily?
THE ACCIDENTAL SLEEP EXPERIMENT
The one thing that stood out to me about my flu-induced sleep marathon was this: I’d told myself that I needed to sleep to get better, so there was no question in my mind that I would.
I believed that I could.
This mindset was a stark contrast to the usual mistrust I harbored of my ability to fall asleep without a sleep aid.
This awareness planted the seed in my mind that the key to cutting off my dependence on sleep aids and getting the rest I needed each night was simply to believe.
Without my realizing it, I’d self-affirmed my way to better sleep.
WHAT ARE SLEEP AFFIRMATIONS?
Sleep affirmations are simply short statements that you think or say to yourself daily with the goal of quieting your negative or stressful thoughts around sleep, and putting you in the mindset for easier, deeper and more restful shut-eye.
DO SLEEP AFFIRMATIONS REALLY WORK?
Yes they do, and studies prove it.
The exact mechanism by which affirmations are able have a significantly positive effect on people, however, remains a mystery.
One study published in the journal Social Cognitive And Affective Neuroscience attributed the success of affirmations to their ability to broaden a person’s overall perspective and reduce the effects of negative emotions, leading to greater levels of happiness and less stress.
And because they tend to be intimately based on a person’s core values and desires, affirmations are able to activate parts of the brain’s neural pathways that would be activated if they were to experience the goal they’re trying to achieve in reality.
Yet another study showed that affirmations are able to lower a person’s defensiveness or resistance to new information that threatens their sense of self-competence, even if they happen to be beneficial for them (like starting a new, unfamiliar habit like exercising, for example), effectively altering the way they view these perceived threats.
HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST SLEEP AFFIRMATIONS
Picking the right sleep affirmations comes down to figuring out what’s standing in the way of you and sweet, sweet sleep.
If, like me, one of your sleep blockers is the expectation that you’re not going to sleep well or at all, you’re probably experiencing more stress at bedtime, which in turn, keeps you tossing and turning.
Using night affirmations that address those stressful thoughts (as I inadvertently did) can help replace them with more positive — and therefore useful — ones, putting you in a better position to be calm, relaxed, and expectant of sleep.
AFFIRMATION IDEAS FOR BETTER SLEEP
Want to explore how bedtime affirmations can help you sleep but not sure where to start?
Here are some of my favorites to begin with:
- My bedroom is my safe and soothing sanctuary.
- I’m letting go of today’s stress and worries.
- I’m sleeping deeply and soundly tonight.
- I give myself permission to fall asleep.
- I’m going to wake up feeling rested when my alarm wakes me up.
- I am in control of my body and sleep.
- I am calm and in control.
- Work can wait until tomorrow. Now, I sleep.
- I give myself permission to get the rest I need.
- I’m choosing sleep and relaxation over stress and worry.
- I’m not allowing anxiety to rule my thoughts.
- My well-being is my priority.
- My mind has been full all day, so I’m letting go of what’s weighing me down.
- I’m going to feel safe in my sleep.
- I can and will fall into a deep sleep so I can heal.
If you need to, tweak the ones that speak to you the most so that they’ll work for your unique situation.
Even better, start creating your own that are tailored to specific goals that you have, like setting up a daily sleep routine, sleeping for a full eight hours without nightmares, or even getting answers to a question that’s on your mind come to you while you sleep.
HOW TO GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR SLEEP AFFIRMATIONS
There’s no rule book on how to use affirmations, but there are some steps you can take to get the most out of them:
It’s important that you put your night affirmations into practice as if they’re already happening right now since you’re trying to get your brain to believe that the goal you want to achieve has already been achieved.
To do that, focus on saying them in the present tense.
Doing this also tells your brain that you are completely capable of doing this right now, not just in the distant future.
MAKE THEM PERSONAL
Rather than using some random affirmation you found on the internet, it’s critical that you make yours about you, based on your past experiences, current situation, and future goals.
You want your affirmations to strike a deep, emotional chord in you for it to make the biggest impact.
If you must, take the affirmations you find that are most relevant to you, but be sure to tailor them to your personal values.
KEEP THEM REALISTIC
While affirmations can help drive a change in your perspectives and behavior, it’s not magic.
This means that if you want to see change, you have to focus on following up on your affirmations with action.
For example, if your goal is to establish a consistent sleep routine, it’s not going to happen by self-affirmation alone — you’ll also need to build other habits that’ll help support it, like going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, creating a calming sleep environment, and putting your devices away by a certain time every evening.
Your night affirmations also have to be anchored in the belief that you can achieve what you’re setting out to do.
If your self-belief isn’t there, no amount of self-affirming around it is going to help.
When it comes to achieving success with affirmations, turning it into a habit is key.
If you’re just starting out, keep things simple by practicing your chosen sleep affirmations for five to ten minutes an hour before bed to get you into the right mental and emotional state for sleep.
Constantly repeating your night affirmations every day will encourage your brain to accept them as fact.
This then prepares you mentally to take action towards achieving them, which in this case, is deep, restful sleep.
SET YOUR BEDROOM UP FOR DEEP SLEEP
The other piece in your better sleep puzzle is this: A calming, soothing bedroom that primes you for slumber.
Dr. Matthew Walker, a professor of neuroscience and psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, and the author of Why We Sleep: Unlocking The Power of Sleep and Dreams recommends the following setup for getting your best sleep:
1. A dark, cold bedroom
As the sun goes down, your body’s temperature drops naturally — a sign that it’s time to slow down and relax. Keeping your bedroom cool supports your body’s instinct to shut down for the night. Sleeping in a warm or hot room could disrupt this process, making it longer for you to fall asleep.
Meanwhile, your body’s pineal gland responds to increasing darkness by producing melatonin: A serotonin-derived hormone that stimulates drowsiness.
Exposing yourself to light can block this production of melatonin, interfering with your body’s sleep-wake cycle.
To keep your body temperature cool and constant all night, try sleeping with the RECCI 3-Inch Memory Foam Mattress Topper and WONAP Cooling Weighted Blanket, both of which are breathable and designed to keep you ventilated as you sleep.
To block out any light as you try to fall asleep, slip on the super-soft ZIMASILK Mulberry Silk Sleep Mask, which is lightly padded in the under-eye for the perfect ‘block-out’ effect.
2. Your gadgets in another room
Electronics like your computer and cell phone emit blue light, which can trick your brain into thinking it’s daytime, messing with its instinct to slow down for sleep.
Your best bet when it comes to keeping this disruption at more than an arm’s length is to move your gadgets to another room altogether, where you won’t be tempted to grab them for one last scroll in bed.
Can’t keep your hands off your electronic devices no matter how late it gets? Desperate situations call for desperate measures in the form of the Kitchen Safe Time Locking Container or MPLERVEN Multi-Purpose Timed Lock Box Kitchen Storage And Piggy Bank.
Both keep your gadgets (and other temptations) locked away for a pre-determined period of time and unlock automatically when the time is up.
3. A comfortable bed
A mattress and pillow that give your body the right amount of support and comfort are essential for a good night’s sleep.
For a deep-sleep set-up that does that just, try the breathable, responsive Tuft & Needle Original Mattress which is designed to cradle your pressure points like your hips and shoulders, while keeping the rest of your body aligned.
Pair it with the cooling, supportive Tuft & Needle Foam Pillow for a soothing night’s sleep.
4. A noise-free bedroom
If you’re a light sleeper who’s easily woken up like I am, you know how frustrating it can be to be woken up at 2 am only to not be able to fall back to sleep until hours later….or not at all.
So when you’ve got sleep to catch up on but can’t keep the noise out completely, earplugs are your best friend.
I like these super-soft, easy-to-spot, candy-colored ones from LYSIAN that come in a case that you can take with you when you travel.
5. Turning the clock face away from you
Keep watching the clock and find that it’s stressing you out even more? Dr. Walker recommends turning your clock’s face away from you don’t end up worrying about the time while you’re trying to fall asleep.
6. Waking up in the sun or very bright lights
To get into a regular sleep rhythm, you’ll need to have exposure to sunlight in the morning.
Short of getting out of bed just to open the curtains, your more leisurely option is to use a sunrise-simulating alarm clock like the Philips SmartSleep Sleep And Wake-Up Light, which comes complete with a customizable sunrise and sunset settings, as well as RelaxBreathe — a guided breathing feature to help you wind down.
Your other option for waking up to bright light in the morning is to use an automatic curtain opener, like the SwitchBot Curtain Smart Electric Motor.
It comes with a wireless phone app that you can use to customize your timer and can be combined with the SwitchBot Hub Mini to make it compatible with Alexa or Google Home.
START FEELING CALMER, HAPPIER & HEALTHIER…NOW.
If you’re too busy surviving, chances are, you’re not thriving. You’re feeling tired, unhealthy, unmotivated, and just plain worn-out from life. I created my FREE Daily Self-Care Ritual Workbook just for busy folks like you who want to take back their health, peace of mind and happiness. Get your very own copy of the workbook HERE. No spam. Just helpful, good-for-you stuff. Pinky swear.
Feature photo: Ann Danilina on Unsplash