When it's time for sleep, my mind takes that as a cue to solve world peace or reminds me of something embarrassing that I did ten years ago. Not the time. And yet, I'm not alone in this. According to various research, the most universal factor in difficulty falling asleep is bedtime worry and/or excessive thoughts. Predominant sleep studies have focused on worries and thoughts from the day passed (which does happen); however, recent studies highlight that many people are actually stressing about future events or actions on our dreaded to-do list. Incomplete tasks keep our brains churning, creating high levels of activation, resulting in intrusive thoughts. One method with proven scientific research to ease our worried mind is night-time journaling.
What are the benefits of night-time journaling?
The American Scientific Journal of Experimental Psychology researched two groups of people, one group who journaled before bed about their to-do list and the other about events or accomplished tasks of the day past. The research determined that folks who wrote about the next day fell asleep faster and deeper than the opposite group. Our world can be very 24/7, so night-time journaling can aid those with significant work, school, and/or personal stresses.
By seeing what’s happening the next day, it helps in reducing stress levels, rationalizing ideas, provides control, helps stabilize mood and fight depression. Night-time journaling can steer thoughts from negative to positive and from stressed to grateful. It asks us to slow down, process and understand upcoming challenges. It is also a very healthy response to stress and anxiety, rather than turning to alcohol, television or scrolling to unwind.
How to start night-time journaling
Many of us revere our night-time routines, so any changes can feel intimidating. The good thing about night-time journaling is it takes 5 minutes! The best tool is the 5-Minute Journal which guides you through structured activities and questions to ease your busy mind. It’s a wonderful form of self-care and is fully backed by science to help lead you to your goals through positive intention and mindfulness. The 5 Minute Journal includes 6 months worth of prompts and ideas, and is undated. Plus it comes in 6 happy colors so it's cute and aesthetic too! You can look forward to refreshing prompts, ideas, inspiration, interesting quotes and other fantastic tools that will help in your growth and in your sleep.
Additional prompt ideas you can try are,
- Tomorrow my top 3 goals are:
- I want to let this go as I move into a new day:
- Something that I’m excited for tomorrow:
- 3 Happy thoughts of the day:
- 3 things I am most grateful for:
Set yourself up for success by keeping your journal on your nightstand. If you’d rather, do it from your living room, keep it hidden on your coffee table. Try to avoid turning your phone, tablet, or laptop into your journal to avoid any disturbance from blue light.
Night-time journaling is constructive and simple to implement as a sleep aid. It’s a gentle and kind routine that feels like a warm hug, inviting you to decrease cognitive arousal by putting your racing mind to a halt. The routine of regular night-time journaling can result in more success and motivation in your day to day, as deeper sleep, and controlled stress has considerable positive reverbs in work, relationships, and in establishing a deeper connection to your individual needs.