You don’t need science to tell you that a night of tossing, turning, and counting sheep in order to beg for sleep that never comes; you wake up grouchy. However, a new study has linked gratitude and sleep—meaning when you feel grateful; you to sleep better and more soundly.
Gordon and Serena Chen, psychology professors at Berkeley, examined the link between levels of gratitude and its correlation to sleep quality with three separate studies:
Study one asked participants to get in a positive mindset by concentrating on aspects in their life that they appreciated right before bed. Nights that resulted in poor sleep were directly correlated with low feelings of gratitude.
The second study asked participants to write 5 things in life that they valued in a “gratitude journal” for every night for two weeks, right before bedtime. Findings showed that the more the individual was grateful for—the better they slept vs. those participants who slept poorly. The reasoning is that falling asleep with appreciative thoughts in mind meant less stress and longer duration and quality rest.
Study three monitored heterosexual couples. It found that those with low feelings of gratitude toward their significant others experienced poor quality sleep. Those who felt underappreciated by their spouse or partner also slept poorly.
“Our research…shows that everyday experiences of poor sleep are negatively associated with gratitude towards others,” says Amie Gordon, a doctoral candidate at the University of California, Berkeley.
Bottom line: if you don’t sleep well, re-examine your feelings of gratitude for certain aspects of your life—including your job, family, and significant other, and how appreciated you feel by them.
“Poor sleep influences…our interactions with others, such as our ability to be grateful, a vital social emotion,” says Gordon.
Source: Globe and Mail