If you are one of over 70% of survivors of childhood sexual abuse who deal with sleep issues, you know how difficult it can be to function when you are exhausted.1 Knowing that sleep issues are common among survivors of sexual abuse can offer reassurance you are not alone in your struggle, but it is even more helpful to have solutions for improving sleep.

How Can My Thoughts Affect My Sleep?

One of the barriers that can prevent survivors from falling or staying asleep is the anxiety that comes with trying to get enough rest. This anxiety can be perpetuated by negative thoughts that we ruminate on while we are trying to fall asleep. Such thoughts might include:

  • I’m never going to be able to fall asleep.
  • I’m going to be exhausted tomorrow.
  • I should be asleep by now.
  • If I don’t fall asleep soon, I’ll be awake all night.
  • Everyone else is asleep but me.

When we repeat such thoughts, we exacerbate feelings of stress and frustration that make it more difficult to fall asleep. Our body tenses, our limbic system remains on high alert, and we’re more likely to fall into a cycle of anxiety that keeps us awake.

What Are Sleep Affirmations and How Can They Help Me Improve My Sleep?

One way to help reduce this anxiety is to redirect your focus toward more positive, soothing thoughts. This is where sleep affirmations can come into play. Sleep affirmations are short, positive statements that can help you calm your limbic system and clear your thoughts while you are trying to fall asleep. You can incorporate these affirmations into your sleep hygiene, whether by repeating them aloud or in your mind.

Below is a list of affirmations that you can use as you prepare to sleep. You can repeat these phrases (or a combination of phrases that you like) before getting into bed or as you lay in bed—whatever works best for you.

If these affirmations don’t quite capture what you need, let these serve as inspiration for you to create your own sleep affirmations.

  • My body is ready to rest.
  • My mind is ready to rest.
  • I am calm.
  • I am safe.
  • I am well.
  • I am where I need to be.
  • No one needs me right now, so I will rest.
  • I accomplished what I needed to today.
  • I am grateful for peaceful sleep.
  • I give myself permission to sleep.
  • I release the worries of the day and unburden my mind.
  • My sleep will restore my strength.
  • My bed is safe.
  • My blankets, sheets, and mattress will support and comfort me.
  • I am peaceful.
  • I welcome peaceful sleep.

You could also try listening to these affirmations by clicking on the video below.

Allow Yourself Patience and Compassion

It may feel strange at first, or it may feel as though these affirmations aren’t making any immediate difference. But we encourage you to be patient with yourself and remember that retraining the limbic system takes time and repetition. As you continue practicing resources such as this one, soothing your limbic system and sending it cues that it’s time to go to sleep, over time your brain will be more able to adopt a new sleeping pattern.

As you recite or listen to sleep affirmations to improve your sleep, you are practicing:

  • Acknowledgement by identifying how trauma may have impacted your sleep patterns and ways you can seek to improve your restorative sleep.
  • Mindfulness by using the affirmations as an anchor to direct your thoughts away from feelings of stress and anxiety and toward feelings of calmness and comfort.
  • Aspiration by intentionally building new habits into your sleep routine so that you can more easily soothe your limbic system in the future.
Citations:

  1. Steine, I. M. Skogen, J. C., Krystal, J. H., Winje, D., Milde, A. M., Grønli, J., … & Pallesen, S. (2019). Insomnia symptom trajectories among adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse: A longitudinal study. Child abuse and neglect, 93, 263–276.