Stressful times call for simple and easy self-care strategies—which may be why night affirmations for sleep are surging in popularity. Night affirmations, aka bedtime affirmations, are positive statements you can quietly say to yourself, write out, or repeat in your head to support a good night’s sleep.
If your wind-down routine has nothing on racing thoughts fueled by doom-scrolling or Sunday scaries, night affirmations could help ease your mind by rooting you in the present and reminding you that you can fall asleep.
“When you create a bedtime affirmation practice, you make peace and calm a priority,” says Valerie Knopik, PhD, psychologist and teacher for Yoga Medicine Online. “This is thought to change your pre-sleep thoughts, and by extension, make peaceful sleep more of a reality.”
Learn about the science behind night affirmations for sleep and how to add them to your bedtime routine.
How night affirmations work
Changing the way you think about sleep may help improve your ability to sleep, says Barbaranne Branca, PhD, certified neuropsychologist and mindfulness meditation teacher at Studio Be in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.
Brain scans of people practicing night affirmations show increased activity in neural pathways—connections between different parts of the brain—linked to corresponding behavior changes in the future, per a 2015 study in Social, Cognitive, and Affective Neuroscience.
Night affirmations can help you take advantage of neuroplasticity, or your brain’s ability to strengthen certain pathways, to ease your stress, boost your self-esteem, and up your ability to adopt healthy habits.
How to use night affirmations for sleep
Use nighttime affirmations as a final step in your evening ritual to get yourself into the right mindset for sleep. After you’ve crawled into bed, repeat your chosen affirmation with thoughtfulness and presence about 10 times, advises Branca. Repeat as necessary for about three minutes, giving your mind and body permission to rest.
Keep in mind that night affirmations won’t make negative thoughts or feelings magically disappear—and that’s OK. “Think of your mind as a muscle,” says Knopik. “You’re strengthening the positive thought patterns that serve you.” Practice and patience are key.
Best night affirmations for sleep
To get started with night affirmations, use these prompts.
I release today
Hung up over a bad day? “Give yourself permission to leave the burdens and stresses of the day behind in order to start fresh and renewed tomorrow,” says Knopik. “The less you carry, the lighter you become, and the easier it is for sleep to carry you.”
I choose calm and peace
It’s easy to get overwhelmed with a flood of negative emotions, especially when the list of stressors you’re dealing with during the day is long. This nighttime affirmation gives you permission to choose peace over anxiety, says Knopik.
I am not my thoughts
When your thoughts take over, it can feel as if they’re your only reality and they’re in control. Repeat this night affirmation to remind yourself you’re not your thoughts and you have the power to observe them without latching on, says Knopik.
I am grateful
A great theme for bedtime affirmations is gratitude, says Knopik. Ending your day with feelings of gratefulness can help lower your blood pressure, increase your optimism, and improve the quality and duration of your sleep.
I am doing the best I can
Stressed out about work? Use nighttime affirmations to replace negative self-talk with positive statements, says Branca. Beyond “I am doing the best that I can,“ customize your night affirmations to address specific concerns.
For example, if you’re worried about giving a presentation, remind yourself of your qualifications and previous successes by repeating the following: “I am well-educated and prepared, and I have all the abilities I need to do a good job tomorrow.”
I can do this
When negative thoughts about sleep are the problem, it might help to simply remind yourself you’re capable of getting a good night’s sleep.
If you’ve tried night affirmations for a week or so and you’re still struggling night after night, you may have a sleep disorder such as insomnia or sleep apnea. Since sleep is vital for your health and well-being, don’t hesitate to reach out to a healthcare provider for help.