Many people write or journal before bed as part of their bedtime rituals — and for good reason. Research has found that doing so can help ease stress, which is especially important during these challenging times. But what we write or think about when we journal actually makes a difference in how easily we fall asleep — and one of the best things to focus on is gratitude.

Writing down a list of what we’re grateful for before bed helps people sleep better and longer, according to research. And gratitude doesn’t just help our sleep, but our overall well-being, too: Gratitude is associated with healthier eating, better physical health, and improved mental health. It also helps strengthen our closest relationships when we let loved ones know how much they’re appreciated. 

Ricardo Maisonet of Bentonville, AR has a great personal approach to gratitude. “We have three kids, including a 6-month-old, so my wife and I are both really busy,” he says. “But we’re doing whatever we can to support one another and help each other out. I want my wife to know how much I appreciate everything she does.”

Expressing gratitude in the moment like Maisonet does with his wife has so many important benefits. And incorporating gratitude into our nighttime routine is a great idea as well. Trying out some small Microsteps like the ones below can help us sleep better — which can be challenging during stressful times like these — and help us have a better day at work the next day. Both things to be grateful for!

Write down a list of what you’re grateful for before bed. 

Practicing gratitude is an easy way to feel good and take your mind off the news of the day.  

Before you get into bed, remove your devices from your bedroom. 

Our phones can trigger stress and fears. Disconnecting will help you sleep better.