Top 5 Benefits of Journaling on Sleep For More Energy

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.

journal for a good nights sleep

What is Sleep Journaling

You might ask yourself what exactly is sleep journaling. Put simply, sleep journaling is the exercise of tracking your emotions, thoughts, tasks, and reflections before going to bed. While you may be thinking that sleep journaling sounds the same as keeping a sleep diary, bedtime journal diary, dream journal, it is not. 

A sleep diary is often used to track your sleep habits, such as the time you’ve gone to bed or woke up, or the amount of hours you’ve slept. A dream journal is often used to track your dreams, to find any meaning behind them.

Sleep journaling can help improve the quality of your sleep. In the hours before going to bed, using a journal can be beneficial to your mental health and wellbeing, allowing you to process your thoughts from the day, preventing you from overthinking and reflecting when you are trying to go to sleep. Often when we struggle to sleep, it is due to overthinking about upcoming tasks or any potential issues. Delaying your sleep in this way can result in a lack of rest for your mind and body, causing you to feel tired and lethargic the next day. 

What you write in a sleep journal will be personal and specific to you, as they revolve around your experiences. The benefits of journaling before bed are many and include benefits to your wellness, mental health, productivity, and happiness. Let’s look at the benefits of keeping a sleep journal.

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.

journal for improved 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.

10 Quick Sleep Journaling Prompts

If you struggle to think of what to write in your sleep journal before bed, we've created our list of go-to bedtime journal prompts to help you relax and be prepared for the next day.

1. Sum up your day in three words

Think about what three words would best describe your day. Be honest and unload. Your day might have been exciting, productive, or fun. At the same time, your day might have been challenging, hard, or frustrating. Don't overthink this process, but instead write down whatever words come in to your head.

2. Review your emotions

Look back at your 3 words. Now is the time to review the words you chose. Think about the reasons for feeling the emotions you felt that day. If you wrote down 'frustration', think about the reasons why you become frustrated. Being aware and assessing your emotions will help you to be clear, relax and de-load your stress.

3. List your biggest challenge that day

Think about any challenges you had that day, and any challenges you had to overcome. Did you learn anything? How did you feel during the challenge, and when you overcame the challenge?

4. Was there anything you could be proud of that day

Linked to the above, was there anything you could be proud of. Are you proud of overcoming a challenge, or proud of accomplishing a goal. Celebrate your wins. 

5. Get it off your chest

Did something happen today that caused you discomfort, stress, or sadness? Write it down, with the intention of leaving it on your journal page. Writing down worries before bed has the intention of reviewing anything that caused you distress, and allow you to process your thoughts around this, in the hope that when you do go to bed that you have thought about this issue enough.

6. List your biggest challenge that day

Think about any challenges you had that day, and any challenges you had to overcome. Did you learn anything? How did you feel during the challenge, and when you overcame the challenge?

7. What are you grateful for happening that day

Big or small, showing gratitude has a dramatically positive effect on our mindset. Try to think of a moment that day that you could be truly grateful for. It could be having a coffee with an old friend, picking up a new client at work, or being able to go for a run.

8. What did you learn 

Did you learn anything this day - it could be a new skill, or learning something about yourself that you didn't know already.

9. What is your main objective tomorrow

Get yourself ready for the next day. This is a beneficial task to prevent overthinking while going to bed. If you've already identified the tasks you want to achieve the next day, then you are less likely to analyse these while trying to sleep.

10. What would you love to happen tomorrow

Similar to the previous step, write down what you would love to happen the next day. Rather than objectives and tasks, we're trying to think of what could happen in our ideal situation. 

Should you seek additional help?

While using a sleep journal can help most people avoid distractions and calm themselves before bed, it may not be the solution for a better nights sleep for some. 

Sleepless nights can happen for everyone due to external pressures and stress. However, if you feel that your poor sleeping patterns are more than this and you constantly suffer from insomnia, it may be time to seek professional help. Researching local accredited sleep experts or speaking to your doctor is a good place to start. They can help create a plan to get back on track with proper sleep to ensure you are fully rested.

Top 5 Benefits of Journaling on Sleep For More Energy


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