S3:E24 | Great thoughts to go to sleep on - the power of bedtime affirmations
Do you use bedtime affirmations? Have you used affirmations as part of your wind down time or to help improve your sleep? We are going to talk all about this today and I’m going to give you loads of suggestions that you might like to try, so let’s get started.
Hello there, thanks for spending some time with me today. I’m Emma Ashford - sleep coach, insomnia therapist and host of this Sleep Seekers Podcast.
Today we are talking about bedtime affirmations. These are a lovely and really easy tool you can be using as part of your wind down routine. They are useful as part of self care and generally cultivating a kind and positive attitude towards yourself and your life, but they are also really good if you struggle with sleep - particularly I would say if you struggle with sleep anxiety or can get anxious about your sleep at times.
Affirmations are present tense, positive statements that put your focus in a positive and helpful direction. When you repeat them often, they can lead to positive change and the affirmations can embed and become your automatic thoughts - it’s a really wonderful thing when this happens.
When affirmations take root and become the natural way your mind works, it is because you have rewired your brain - I have seen this happen over and over again with my clients and it has happened for me in various areas of my life I have worked on over the years.
The human brain is changeable - something known as neuroplasticity - and I think this gives us a wonderful opportunity to train it and change it on purpose. So, you can reprogramme your brain to have positive thoughts about your wind down time, your sleep, ‘switching off for night time’ or anything else you might find problematic.
But, like anything, doing it once does not get the results. You can’t brush your teeth once and then expect to have healthy teeth. You can’t lift weights once and expect to be strong. It is the repetition that leads to the change and success.
So, my suggestion has always been to include a positive affirmation into your wind down time, perhaps just as you get into bed. There is a section in the wind down journal for this purpose so you can’t forget when you are using the journal to support your wind down time.
Not only does this habit have the potential to actually change your brain as I have just mentioned but also these positive statements are very calming to the nervous system which is what we want when going to sleep and they are quite simply a nice thought to go to sleep on.
There is no one perfect affirmation to suit everyone - this is a very individual experience so you need to find what fits for you.
You might want to use the same one every day, particularly if there is a particular thought you want to cultivate. Or you might have a repetitive negative thought that you could tackle with a positive affirmation in which case, again it might be useful to use the same affirmation every day. You can turn a negative thought into a more positive one through repetition.
Or you might use certain affirmations for certain days of the week. Perhaps if there is a day that tends to be a trigger for you for some reason you might use a particular affirmation that day. Or you might use different ones on the week days to the weekends. It all depends on you and your individual circumstances.
You might just like to play around with a few different ones, try a few on for size and roll with what feels right on the day. If so, perfect.
And you can absolutely create your own positive affirmation for bedtime. I’m going to give you some ideas but they might not be quite right for you, in which case you will need to create something that does feel right.
You just need to make sure that it is short, positive and present tense.
The other thing to be aware of is that your positive statement needs to be reasonably believable and credible. If you try to use a positive statement that is too big a jump for your brain it creates something called cognitive dissonance and your brain will just reject the thought as ridiculous and it won’t have any useful effect at all.
So for example, if you have had insomnia for years and you can’t remember the last time you had a good nights sleep, using an affirmation of ‘I sleep deeply every night’ would be likely to be entirely rejected by your mind. You would be better to use something like ‘I am learning how to let go and relax’. Insomnia might be a bad example here because I am focusing this episode on more general sleep affirmations to support wind down time - I think it might be a good idea to do a separate episode on affirmations for insomnia. But you get the point - try not to make your affirmations too extreme from where you are with your thinking now. It’s better to imagine stepping up your thoughts to reach the most positive one in time.
So, I’m going to give you some example wind down and sleep affirmations. You don’t need to write these down or worrying about remembering them - they are all listed in the show notes if you go to sleepseekers.academy or follow the link below this episode.
I would suggest just trying to sit with these positive affirmations, perhaps write a couple down or repeat them to yourself a couple of times to see how they feel to you. How do they make you feel? Do you notice a difference in how your body feels? Maybe there is one affirmation that feels really calming or soothing to you, or maybe there is one that is exactly what you want to feel more of.
And once you have the affirmations that you like, whether they come from my suggestions or you have created them yourself, you can write these into the affirmations page in the wind down journal so you always have them to hand. Then it is about making them part of your wind down time, ideally writing it out as you get into bed or just before you go to sleep. This gets your mind focused in the right place and gives you a good thought to go to sleep on.
So, here are some suggestions … see how you feel with these.
My bedroom is a place of relaxation and quality sleep
I choose to release my stress
Right now, the answer to my problems is restful sleep
I follow my breath towards good sleep
I’m grateful for today and looking forward to a restful sleep
I deserve to sleep tonight so I am refreshed for tomorrow
I am in a safe space to sleep
It’s safe to put my thoughts on hold while I sleep
I let go of all that I can’t control
My mind and body benefit from sleeping well
I am grateful for my body and honour it with rest
I did my best today and now it’s time to recharge
I am worthy of relaxation and deep rest
I fall asleep effortlessly and enjoy a wonderful nights sleep
I give myself the gift of sleep
Now it’s time to rest, tomorrow is a new day
I choose to let the day go and sleep well
I choose to sleep now
Sleep comes easily to me
Sleep is the most valuable thing I can do right now
I sleep through the whole night
My body and mind are ready to relax
I have done my best today, now it’s time for sleep
My bedroom is the perfect space for sleep and relaxation
I’m going to have a good night’s sleep
My dreams are positive and peaceful
I am ready for sleep
It is safe to fall easily into a restful sleep
Tonight is the perfect night for a great night’s sleep
My mind is quiet
I am safe
I let go and enjoy sleep
I am letting go of all the day’s stress and tension
I am looking forward to a restful night’s sleep
My mind and body are ready to rest
I let go of all my worries for tonight
I deserve a good night of rest
I am grateful for the opportunity to rest and recharge
Sleep helps me to be a better parent
I rest for tonight so I can be present for my children tomorrow
I am calm, I am peaceful
I choose rest and relaxation over stress
I am preparing myself for sleep
My body is moving closer to sleep
The day is done and there is nothing else needed from me until tomorrow
And my personal favourite …
My mind and body know how to sleep
How did you find those? Were there any you really liked?
Positive affirmations are a really easy addition to your wind down time so get started with it tonight. Sometimes they need a bit of tweaking or individualising to get them just right for you but they can be so helpful when you do.
It is important I think to just add that if you are struggling with a sleep problem, this is by no means the fix to that. An affirmation is not likely to be the thing that turns it all around for you but it is really useful as part of a bigger plan and intervention. If you are really struggling with your sleep, I would suggest you look at booking a sleep assessment session - I will leave the link below.
But significant sleep problems aside, I suggest you get started with using a sleep affirmation as part of your wind down time.
If you come up with your own affirmation, feel free to share it with me - I love to know what feels helpful to you.
I hope this has given you some ideas to get started with, especially if you are using the wind down journal as part of your nightly routine.
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