Maybe something is on your mind. Maybe you’re worried about your workweek. Maybe you feel like you didn’t get enough done today, and you’re busy berating yourself. Maybe you work in the evenings, and it’s hard to turn your mind off. It’s still stuck on tasks and emails and meetings. Maybe you’ve always had a tough time falling or staying asleep.
Either way, you find yourself tossing and turning.
And your self-talk is making matters worse. Understandably, we get frustrated when we can’t sleep. Understandably, we start counting the number of hours until our alarm dings. Understandably, we start thinking all sorts of negative thoughts, and our stress spikes: Ughhh. This is horrible. This is ridiculous!! I can’t believe I can’t sleep. Again. I’m going to be exhausted tomorrow. Tomorrow is going to be a crappy day.
To change your mindset and promote a peaceful perspective, Jennifer Williamson, a writer and creator of AimHappy.com, suggests turning to affirmations. In her beautiful, poetic book Sleep Affirmations: 200 Phrases for a Deep and Peaceful Sleep, Williamson shares these tips to start using affirmations to help with restful sleep:
Start by reading the affirmation aloud; spend 5 to 10 minutes repeating the affirmation; reflect on the words, pondering what really resonated with you; use a comforting gesture, such as putting your hand on your heart or holding your hands; focus on the imagery the affirmation elicits; return to the affirmation when you get distracted; and be kind to yourself when negative thoughts arise, such as “Nothing works.”
Below are some of my favorites from the book, which you can try. Consider incorporating an affirmation into your nightly routine.
- “I trust my body. My body was born knowing how to sleep easily, naturally. How much this physical home of mine loves me; I now let it love me back to sleep. I close my eyes and everything else is taken care of for me.”
- “I am eternally enough. I cannot be compared to anyone else, for I am the only one who inhabits my space. Just by being, I matter and I am on purpose. In the eyes of eternity, I am enough. I was born into this world enough.”
- “Each deep breath is a love note. I focus on slow, steady breathing. Each breath feels like a drop of honey flowing through me. Oxygen breathes ease into every alcove of my body. My breathing is a message of peace and harmony.”
- “Dear Sleep: I love you. Thank you, pillow, for cradling my tired head. Thank you, bed, for supporting my tired body. Thank you, blankets, for holding my weary self. I am grateful to be in this space, held in the arms of Sleep herself.”
- “I make peace with the unknown. I don’t need to know everything I think I need to know—not right now. In this one simple moment, sleep is the only thing that’s calling for me. Sleep is the answer and the way that I honor what has yet to be.”
- “I am thankful for the chance to close my eyes. I allow the healing energy of gratitude to pour from my heart. What a miracle it is to be alive, to breathe, to be still, to sleep. I feel blessed to be here—my blessings I hold dear.”
- “I trade resistance for an invitation. I dissolve the fear of not having, doing, or being enough. I tune in to the energy of love. I don’t push or pull; I let the universe catch up with my dreams. My faithful presence invites the peace that wants to guide me.”
- “I am in tune with nature. My heart beats in harmony with the quiet rhythm of the night. The moon composes a sweet melody for me. I am in the sight of all things still. All thoughts of separation leave. The one thing I keep inside of me is unity.”
- “I live in a fluid journey. As I breathe in the depth of this moment, the pressure of time is lifted. I am alive, in the now and outside of time. I am fluid. I become boundless as I drift into sleep, tied to nothing and totally free. I am timeless.”
The key is to pick affirmations that truly resonate with you, because naturally in order for this to work, we must believe it. We must internalize the message. Another option is to create your own affirmations (from scratch or combine phrases you like from the above).
The way we talk to ourselves can help (or hurt) our sleep. Using self-compassionate words is a great place to start for changing our mindset and savoring a more soul-soothing slumber.