06/10/2014 05:43 pm ET Updated Aug 10, 2014

The One Sleeping Trick You Don't Know About

Forget the blinders, the blackout shades, the light therapy and the Ambien.

A recent study published in Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being suggests that a "gratitude intervention" before bedtime will help.

Don't worry it's not as daunting as it sounds -- no therapist or any of that jazz. Just you and a gratitude journal for 15 minutes before you lay your head down. All you have to do is write out things you are grateful for. The idea is that the more you focus on the positive things in your life, the more of them you will find, and the less stressed you will be just before going to sleep. It's an awful lot harder to be stressed out when you've just rattled off positive thoughts for 15 minutes.

Think of it this way: Any sleep tussles you may have may certainly be related in some way (big or small) to the thoughts you are wrestling with as you lay after a long day, right? If those thoughts are negative -- doesn't it follow that you will stay up worrying about them? But what if they are overwhelmingly positive? Well, science is confirming that it may be better than counting sheep.

Sure, a gratitude journaling habit may seem sort of hokey at first, but it's really not if you dig a bit deeper. As a rule, humans like happy, nice and generally good people -- and the surest way of becoming the sort of person that you would like and approve of is to cultivate habits that lead us in that direction. What easier way of becoming genuinely happier and more likable than to remind yourself every evening of what you have to be happy about?

Author Matt Richardson is the co-founder of Gramr Gratitude Co. Gramr provides a subscription service for beautiful and original thank-you notes, their goal is to start a movement for gratitude and grateful living -- learn more about their vision of a more grateful world here.

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