We’ve all had those sleepless nights, where our brains just wouldn’t switch off, filled with racing thoughts about our unsolved problems. Then we wake up the next day feeling worse, now both stressed and exhausted, and the cycle continues. Believe it or not, journaling can help that.
How, you ask?
Quality sleep is absolutely key for good health as it allows you to rest and recharge, enabling you to wake up as the best version of yourself. One way to improve the quality of your sleep is to clear your mind of any negative or intrusive thoughts before you get into bed. Journaling is a great method to do so, especially as part of your nighttime ritual.
Benefits of Journaling
Writing down the day’s activities and your thoughts about them helps you clear your mind at the end of the day. This deeper level of processing helps you slow and calm down, preparing our minds for restful sleep.
Journaling can also help you organise your thoughts and give you a new perspective on your experiences. Sometimes, we might find ourselves overplaying or underplaying our emotions towards situations around us. Putting your feelings into words enables you to recognise and reconcile with them.
Journaling can help boost your productivity. Jotting down a quick to-do list for the week enables you to plan your time more efficiently. This then frees up your cognitive resources for other mental activities such as memory and coping with stress. Even eternally busy people like founders and multi-hyphenates carve time out of their days to update their journal as an outlet for their emotions and creativity outside of work. This helps keep them alert and focused when they need to.
Your journal can also double as a health tracker. Regular journaling allows you to spot patterns and symptoms of any health issues when you look back. It can also help you keep track of any health goals that you’re working towards.
How to get started
Journaling looks different to everyone; there are no hard and fast rules to this. Personalising your journaling experience helps you to make it a habit that you can stick to and enjoy. That said, here are some journaling prompts that you can consider:
- What do you want to look back on? It could be a playback of your daily experiences, the emotions you felt during the day, or even your health for the day.
- What do you want to achieve next? This is a way for you to look back on your accomplishments and plan for the week ahead. Write down your goals for the week; they don’t have to be lofty ones. It can be as simple as “I want to go for a run at least twice this week”. Writing this down makes you more likely to hold yourself accountable to achieving the goal.
- What or who are you grateful for today? Practicing gratitude daily helps you recognise the little things in your life that have had a positive impact on you.
- What do you need to vent out today? Your journal can lend a listening ear for the days where nothing seems to have gone right. Purging your mind of the day’s stress, anxiety and anger helps you process them in a healthy way and allows you to let go for the time being. This helps you go to bed with a calm and clear mind.
Tips for Journaling
Journaling is a habit that needs to be cultivated over time for you to feel its positive impact on your sleep quality and health. Try to write in your journal regularly, perhaps every day or every couple of days.
We’d also recommend incorporating journaling into your nighttime routine that you go through before you get into bed.
There are numerous journaling apps out in the market, with cool features that even allow you to upload photos, track your mood and even your health. Or you can go the no-frills route and just use the Notes app on your devices to type up your entry. It’s important to be mindful of the screen time, especially if you’re going to be using your device right before bed.
We personally love old-school journaling, in a physical Moleskin notebook that we can write and draw in. We find that writing our thoughts down on paper really helps us wind down and clear our minds.
Journaling can give you the peace of mind that you need at the end of the day. Instead of carrying that unwanted baggage around in your mind, put it down on paper and feel lighter. Happy journaling!