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sleep / wellness

Gratitude Meditation for Sleep

by BetterSleep
Aug 12 • 8 min read

As meditation becomes increasingly popular, different forms of this practice are starting to come to the forefront. From guided meditation to sleep meditation, there are even gratitude versions of the practice. There are a lot of options to choose from! But what if you could combine two of them? What if you could do a gratitude sleep meditation?

In this article, we’ll be breaking down exactly how you can fall asleep using a gratitude meditation. Plus, we’ll be sharing how it works and helps people reach a state of slumber and the benefits of this unique practice. Keep reading to learn more!

Sleep Meditation Gratitude: How it Works And How to do it

Does meditation increase gratitude?

From a practical standpoint, the idea that meditating increases gratitude makes sense. When you bring yourself into a state of presence, focusing more on the present moment and enjoying the little things is easier. Of course, this depends on your settings, but for the most part, it’s true.

Research suggests that meditation can actually cause structural changes in parts of the brain that are integral for emotional, cognitive, and sensory processing. So what does this mean? Meditating on its own, even without gratitude, can help us improve our ability to process emotions, thoughts, and more.

In one study, it was proven that using gratitude while meditating actually increases feelings of gratitude. This shows that a lot of evidence backs up the notion that the practice itself, specifically gratitude meditations, helps increase feelings of gratitude.

How do you do gratitude meditation?

There are many ways you can do a gratitude sleep meditation, from using your own thoughts and affirmations to using a guided audio piece. There’s really an endless amount of resources to help you do it.

If you’re a more experienced meditator, you might be just fine doing it on your own. However, for beginners, we recommend you take part in a guided meditation. If you’d like to do it on your own without a guided meditation, follow these steps:

  • Step one - find a quiet and safe place where you know you won’t be disturbed. This is important because meditating requires you to become completely present in the moment without distractions.
  • Step two - Sit upright in a comfortable position. Make sure your back feels supported and your neck and head are straight.
  • Step three - slowly close your eyes and begin to take deep breaths in your nose and out of your mouth.
  • Step four - pay attention to your breath. When your mind begins to wander, bring your attention back to the pattern of your breathing. Depending on your preference, you can use a specific breathing technique or simply allow your breath to flow as it does naturally.
  • Step five - because there’s no best way to do this, you can experience gratitude in many different ways during this practice. You could choose to simply think about things you are grateful for in your life, like someone you love, or even something as simple as your senses. Or, you could choose to verbally speak out gratitude affirmations to express your gratefulness and bring about feelings of gratitude.

Overall, this method is just like many other forms of practice. Although you can do it on your own, we’d recommend using a guided meditation version to help you follow through on the steps easier. This can make your gratitude sleep meditation easier to do and follow. And potentially make you fall asleep easier.

How does gratitude improve sleep?

It’s rather evident that feelings of gratitude can improve your overall well-being, but how does it actually improve our resting periods? In a study done with over 400 adults with 40% experiencing a sleep disorder, researchers found that gratitude significantly improved the quality of people’s slumber.

Another study followed a group of women keeping a gratitude diary. The women keeping a gratitude diary reported having decreased blood pressure, elevated optimism, and even better sleep quality.

Although there’s no concrete answer as to why gratitude helps us fall asleep, there is speculation. It may be because gratitude helps you have more positive thoughts before rest. This may affect your nervous system, and as a result, this may help you relax better and enhance the quality of your time in bed. Ultimately helping you fall asleep easier.

The Benefits of Gratitude Affirmations Before Sleep

What are 3 benefits of gratitude?

We’ve touched on the big benefit gratitude sleep brings, but what are some other benefits that can come from this practice?

There are many more benefits, but the big three that can impact your ability to rest are gratitude’s ability to help improve your psychological and physical health and mental strength.

In one study, researchers got people to write down a few sentences each week focusing on certain topics.

One group wrote on things they were grateful for, and the other two wrote about daily irritations and events that affected them (with no bias towards negative or positive).

Unsurprisingly, after 10 weeks, those who wrote about gratitude were more optimistic and even felt better about their lives. They even tended to exercise more and had fewer visits to physicians than those who wrote about other topics.

Being able to express gratitude, especially during challenging times in life, can improve your mental strength in a lot of ways. It’s easy to spiral out of control when things aren’t going right. But when you’re able to take a step back and look at things you can be grateful for, it can seriously improve your mental strength, especially during difficult times.

Overall, all three benefits can impact your slumber in various ways. Having a positive state of mind before bed and being physically and mentally healthy can overall make falling asleep much easier. Of all the different forms of sleep meditation out there, gratitude is one that hosts a wealth of benefits aside from helping you fall asleep.

Does gratitude release oxytocin?

When we express gratitude, our brain releases two neurotransmitters responsible for affecting our emotions: dopamine and serotonin. Both of these chemicals are “feel good” neurotransmitters; they make us feel happy from the inside.

But gratitude may also affect a certain brain chemical known as oxytocin. If you’re unfamiliar, oxytocin is seen as the “love hormone.”

Now, what does a “love hormone” have to do with gratitude sleep? Higher levels of oxytocin are actually linked to helping people reach a state of slumber quicker and stay at rest for longer.

In a study done with 77 married heterosexual couples, partners answered questions relative to their relationships for two weeks. Afterward, they made visits to a lab where they were asked about specific situations where they felt grateful for their spouse.

After they expressed thankfulness, they rated their feelings and recorded themselves. Then, they swapped roles. Each partner got to be on the receiving end of the other’s gratitude and on the giving end of their own gratitude.

With expressed gratitude, participants reported feeling more loving. This gives some evidence that oxytocin may be released when we express gratitude in our lives.

We can take part in gratitude and sleep meditation away from one another and together. They both work to help us reach a state of slumber in their own ways. When they’re used together to help you fall asleep, it’s a powerful practice.

If you’re struggling to learn this practice on your own and need some guidance, you can check out some of our guided meditations at BetterSleep to help you learn, meditate, and fall asleep easier! Try it for free today!

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