Healthy Sleeping Habits

Here’s How To Use Night Affirmations for Better Sleep

Isadora Baum

Photo: Getty Images/Alexandre Morin-Laprise
Some people can sleep like a baby, anywhere, anytime, within seconds. I am not one of those people—I have horrible insomnia—something many people nowadays also suffer from, same goes for disrupted sleep patterns, wherein you may struggle to either fall asleep or stay sound asleep (or both!).

If you don’t have a regular sleep schedule in place, your body never has an opportunity to settle into a rhythm and routine. Plus, it can be tricky to wind down before bed if you are naturally a night owl, or if you have a mind that races every second—this is where relaxation techniques like night affirmations can help, as they can ease tension and promote more positive energy.

What’s more: Night affirmations may facilitate better focus, quiet your mind, and promote less anxiety and greater relaxation—pretty powerful stuff for mini mantras.

And if you do have an anxiety disorder or are dealing with heightened, periodic, or chronic stress (which can have the same short-term effects on your ability to catch zzzs), then night affirmations for sleep may be especially beneficial since they’re geared toward building more harmony, confidence, and inner peace.

What are night affirmations for sleep, exactly?

“Night affirmation is the process of making positive statements about oneself before falling asleep, such as ‘I did my best today,’ or ‘as I drift off to sleep, I release all worry and tension,’” says Alex Dimitriu, MD, who is board-certified in psychiatry and sleep medicine and the founder of Menlo Park Psychiatry & Sleep Medicine.

In theory, it’s supposed to help improve mood and confidence, so that you can feel more relaxed and happy. It’s hard to go to sleep when you’re feeling tense or worried, and by repeating night affirmations around positive self-image and stress relief, you could help quiet your mind.

Do night affirmations Improve sleep?

“There is no clear research in my experience looking at the benefit of nightly affirmations, but much like prayer or meditation before bed, nightly affirmations can have a soothing and calming effect and may lower anxiety, which in turn may improve our ability to fall and stay asleep,” Dr. Dimitriu explains.

And there is some research that shows that positive affirmations can be beneficial for improving wellbeing in general, so the positivity aspect could be linked to night affirmations and sleep, as well.

Think of them as being similar to gratitude exercises, such as keeping a journal by your bed stand and jotting down an entry prior to bedtime or upon waking up in the morning. Just understand that your attitude, effort, and intention, will play a big role in how helpful night affirmations wind up being for you.

“Much like gratitude exercises, which are also known to be beneficial, I think there is an important distinction between just going through the motions, or using something personal and relevant,” Dr. Dimitriu says.

How to create night affirmations to sleep better

“I would advise people to choose affirmations that are personally meaningful and can be reflected upon, rather than generic phrases that are merely spoken,” Dr. Dimitriu explains. This way there’s a more individualized approach that’s tailored to your own personal anxieties, thoughts, and emotions in order to better facilitate a sense of calm.

And it’s pretty understandable—it’s hard for something to take effect if the heart and intention are not both activated to provoke a response. Rather than simply taking examples of night affirmations from various online sites or books, write down something unique to your own experiences and stresses, as well as your relative mood and emotions.

These could change nightly—or you may be going through something where one kind of night affirmation may do the trick for a week or so, or at least a few varied phrases upon the same concept could be relevant for a duration of time.

And whatever you do—don’t jot these affirmations down on your phone or computer. Instead, write in a night affirmations sleep journal to keep track of your thoughts, so you can revisit them when you like.

“Whether it's prayer, meditation, or nightly affirmation, all of these activities are certainly better than having your last moments of the day spent on your phone,” Dr. Dimitriu says. So, keep the technology out of the bedroom, as it’ll keep you awake and hinder your results.

Above all else, aim for consistency, where you recite these night affirmations before bed each night to get into a calming practice during your bedtime routine. “This gives the brain a chance to be quiet while you’re still awake—a lot of insomnia and sleep trouble result from people not having enough down time, or at least, time for the brain to slow down and prepare for sleep,” Dr. Dimitriu explains.

So, nightly affirmations, or any quiet and reflective activity before bed, may improve sleep in terms of nodding off faster and staying out longer.

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