Do you want to live your best life and have a blissful night’s sleep? Journaling could be the answer. It allows you to experience the many benefits of writing, expressing gratitude, goal setting and decluttering the mind. Ending the evening journaling, can help determine the following day and set the tone for your night’s sleep. Insomniacs, sleep deprived parents, busy professionals, basically everyone could get a better night’s sleep with a little help from a pen and some paper. Read on to find out what a sleep journal (or sleep diary) is and how it can help you.
What is a sleep journal?
Most experts agree that 7-9 hours of sleep is ideal. However, studies have shown that around half of Australian adults report that they don’t usually get adequate sleep. With the sleeplessness epidemic on the rise, it’s no wonder so many people are seeking professional help for their sleep. Most experts will request that you keep a sleep diary for at least too weeks before they can start to diagnose your sleep issues.
A sleep journal does not have to be this strict, or even readable to anyone except for you. A sleep journal is more about using the art of journaling to clear your mind of clutter and allowing sleep to come. That doesn’t mean that you won’t benefit from looking at the patterns of your days and your sleep. You might notice patterns emerging that allow you to adjust your life to improve your mental health and your sleep.
What to write in your sleep journal
Journaling is perfect for busy minds that want to eliminate the internal chatter, and sleep well. We all know how important sleep is for our mental and physical health. The creativity of physical writing is a wonderful option, and separating yourself from your phone or laptop will prepare your body for a wonderful night’s sleep. Well known celebrities have touted the benefits of journaling, including Emma Watson, Jenna Dewan and Jennifer Aniston (who said she keeps simple leather journals, and was up to number 6!)
Journaling last thing at night and also in the morning is a rewarding habit to get into. Effective journaling could be great for helping you stay asleep. Used in the evening as a mind detox and then the following day as your daily plan. Writing makes you feel good, and can help eliminate the fear and stresses that keep you awake through the night. There is so much information out there about the positive effects of journaling. Doctors and therapists encourage journaling to help diagnose and treat a variety of health problems. Your memory usually holds important information and ideas; journaling can help you process this information and give you an opportunity to break it down into useful, organised and coherent sections, ready for you to tackle at a later date. A Journal of Experimental Psychology study suggests ‘To facilitate falling asleep, individuals may derive benefit from writing a very specific to-do list for 5 minutes at bedtime..”
At night, the important things to get down include:
- To Do’s
- Thoughts and gratitude
- Notes/ reminders
Gratitude is a huge movement at the moment, and for good reason. Expressing just a few short passages of gratitude each evening can do wonders for your mindset and self esteem. Regularly, writing down what you are grateful for, and jotting down the things on your mind can release stress, which can cause insomnia. An anxious and overactive mind can prevent you from falling asleep and cause you to wake during the night.
Journaling in the morning is just as therapeutic, and a great way to start your day. The morning is the best time to diarise how you slept the night before and to chronicle your dreams. Dreams are an important insight into the subconscious mind and often they will only live in your short term memory. Writing down what happened in your dream and how it made you feel is the best way to detect patterns and recurring themes.
Things to jot down in the morning include:
- Times you went to sleep/ woke up
- How you feel you slept
- Any food, medications or activities that may have impacted your sleep
- Plans or concerns for the day ahead
Please note: This article is not to be used as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional before using any sleep treatments. This post may contain affiliate links.