by Shaun Pennington
Sleep. The most underrated component of the healthy lifestyle trifecta. Diet and exercise have received most of the attention for a very long time. Yet sleep is the easiest and arguably most impactful and sustainable way to ensure good health and overall wellness.
About one-third of Americans say they don’t get enough sleep on a regular basis, according to the Centers for Disease Control. The reasons they cite are many, ranging from an old mattress to sleep apnea, and sleep experts offer remedies that outnumber the causes. If you’ve ever had difficulty with sleep, you’ve probably researched all the whys and hows to get yourself the rest you need.
There is one simple, natural remedy that rarely gets mentioned and has been a successful solution for many people, including myself. Gratitude. We all know what it means. But how many of us realize the healing and rejuvenating power that it has in our lives, beginning with opening up a path to better sleep and the gifts that brings?
Now, full disclosure, I’m not a scientist. I don’t hold a medical degree. My qualifications come from a place that lies within each of us -- our personal story and journey. You see, in my story, sleep and gratitude are interwoven, like yarns in fabric.
I believe in the power of sleep because gratitude got me there. From the age of 12 through college, I worked in my family’s mattress manufacturing business. After college, I spurned the idea of continuing in the family business and embarked on a life-changing trip through Southeast Asia. It was that trip and a mentor back home that put me on the path to gratitude and my mission to leave a positive legacy by advocating the incredible power of sleep. Today, my sister and I are fourth-generation stewards of the now 80-year-old mattress manufacturing business. Grateful barely touches how I feel.
Some people who journal as a bedtime ritual choose to do so in the form of a gratitude journal. Proponents of gratitude writing believe that when you take the time to focus on the positive things in your life and physically put them on paper, you are creating “neural pathways in the brain” and growing appreciation for people and things in your life. This results in easing of anxiety, promoting better sleep and increasing your adaptability to change.
The cycle of holistic wellness begins from the heart, with gratitude as the natural remedy that gifts us with restorative sleep that heals and grows the body and mind.
I'll leave you with some bonus materials to help you with the practice of gratitude and its benefits with better sleep.
Good Day with Brother David: https://youtu.be/4115qFsdWKQ
The Science of Gratitude: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JMd1CcGZYwU&feature=youtu.be