The effects of sleep deprivation are greatly underestimated. A bad night’s sleep not only makes you feel tired, but can cause a whole host of health issues, both mental and physical.
The benefits of journaling on sleep have been well documented, from establishing a digital detox before bed, to providing you with a space to plan for the future. Read on to discover the top 5 benefits of journaling on sleep.
1.Sleep journaling relieves worries
Going to bed anxious is never a good omen for a night of restful sleep. To sleep well, your mind needs to be truly at rest. Churning over the events of the day isn’t going to provide much opportunity for your brain to switch off.
One of the benefits of journaling on sleep is that a journal is the perfect space to vent about your worries. It’s a space completely private to you, and you can use it to express whatever you want.
2. Sleep journaling boosts your mental wellbeing
There is a clear link between poor mental health and lack of sleep. These two issues can form a Catch-22 situation. You can’t sleep because of your mental unwellness, but you can’t become mentally well without a proper night’s sleep.
One of the benefits of journaling on sleep is that it can boost your mental health, helping you relax into sleep. Freewriting can help you let out your feelings and explore your creativity. This can help you come to terms with your worries and build self-esteem.
By boosting your mental health, sleep journaling helps you break out of a downward spiral. Creating a space in your journal to express yourself can be the key to a great night’s sleep.
3. Sleep journaling can be used to analyse sleep patterns
You can even keep a ‘sleep journal’ specifically to monitor your sleeping pattern. When filling in a sleep journal, there are certain questions to ask yourself before and after you go to sleep.
Before you sleep, write the answers to these questions:
- What did you eat for dinner?
- How long ago was the meal?
- What did you do today? (Only a rough summary of major events required)
- When did you get into bed?
- When did you go to sleep?
- Were any fears or concerns on your mind?
After you get up the next morning, you should immediately write answers to these questions:
- How long did you sleep for?
- Did you wake up in the night and how long for?
- Was your sleep restful?
- How refreshed do you feel upon waking up?
These details can help you to spot patterns in the way you sleep. Are certain details appearing repeatedly on nights you couldn’t sleep? Make sure to write as soon as you wake up to ensure your responses are as accurate as possible.
4. Sleep journaling helps you plan for the day ahead
In the fast-paced digital age, we always have plans whirring through our minds. This can prevent us from having a good night's sleep. We toss and turn, unable to brush off thoughts of tomorrow’s tasks. '"Will I get the work done in time?" "What needs to be done after that?"
One of the benefits of journaling on sleep is that journaling can soothe your worries about future tasks. A study conducted by researchers from Baylor University and Emory University showed that participants who wrote 'to-do lists' of their tasks for the next day fell asleep 9 minutes faster than those who wrote about past events.
Write down a to-do list of jobs for the next day before you go to sleep, and you’ll find a weight taken off your mind. One reason this works is because you know you won’t forget the tasks, since you’ve written them down. Another reason is that, by writing your tasks down, you have let them go. They are no longer trapped inside of you, but written on a piece of paper on your bedside table.
5. Sleep journaling gives you a digital detox
It’s a well known fact that using electronic devices before bed can impede our ability to sleep. So, why won’t we put away our tablets and smartphones when we get into bed?
After a long day at the office, we don’t always feel ready to sleep straight away. We want to wind down and relax. And how do we do that? Through watching films, playing games, or reading books on a Kindle.
Problem is, the blue light these devices emit can prevent your body from getting enough melatonin to sleep properly. To relax fully, it’s better to come away from anything electronic.
Here’s where journaling can help. Journaling is a relaxing, mindful activity that doesn’t involve a screen. Choose a journal to write in (don't be tempted to write on a digital device), and let your imagination flow before sleep.
So, next time you're struggling to sleep, put that smartphone away, get out a journal and write. Whether you decide to freewrite your ideas or jot down a to-do list for tomorrow, the benefits of journaling for sleep will make adding those five or ten minutes to your bedtime routine well worth it.