Writing can be an amazing experience in all walks of life. It gives you a chance to explore creative ideas, earn an extra income, or even come to terms with issues that you’ve faced in the past. One of most intriguing benefits of writing, however, is also one of the most overlooked.
Did you know that journaling before you go to bed could improve the quality of your sleep? Just as journaling during the day helps to organize your thoughts and reduce stress, writing before you snooze can also get your brain into the right place for restful sleep.
1. Writing Helps You Plan
According to a study in the journal for experimental psychology, writing in a journal for five minutes before bed helps to organize your thoughts. This can assist with your sleep in a number of ways. However, the biggest impact that the researchers found was on the sense of “preparedness” that participants had for the next day. Journaling helped them to figure out what they were going to do the next day, so they felt more confident and ready for what laid ahead.
One of the reasons that many people have trouble falling asleep at night, is that they’re too busy worrying about what’s going to happen the next day. If you know that you have a particularly challenging day ahead at work for instance, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Using your journal to note down a few tips for how you’re going to organize your day can make tomorrow seem less daunting.
2. Writing Gives you Clarity
During sleep, our brains sort through a lot of different thoughts, trying to make sense of what happened to us during the day. Writing down what you accomplished through the last 24 hours, and what you need to do next can give you a sense of focus. You could even write down some questions that you want to ponder on as you go to sleep. This gives your mind something to focus on as you drift off. The thoughts your brain focuses on as you sleep could inspire creative solutions to problems that you would never think of when awake.
The thoughts your brain focuses on as you sleep could inspire creative solutions to problems that you would never think of when awake. Just be careful that you’re not focusing too heavily on any one issue in particularly. While it’s fine to write down your problems so you can understand them a little better before bed, you don’t want to get stuck in a state of stress because you’re nervous about an issue that you don’t know how to fix.
3. Writing Eliminates Stress
When we’re stressed, it’s easy to let our feelings get the best of us. We get caught up in cycles of negative thoughts that make us feel gradually worse over time. Writing our thoughts and feels down helps us to see them for what they really are. Journaling could help you to see that your problems or worries aren’t as big as you originally thought. At the same time, it gives you an outlet for your panic. By the time you’ve finished writing, you may have come up with a solution to your problem that makes you feel a lot better.
Even if you don’t have a specific concern in mind that you need to overcome, writing can be a natural outlet for any feelings of tension you might have. It’s a way to focus your brain on something creative and allow any excess energy to flow out of you onto the page before you go to sleep. You might find that you come up with some of your best ideas just before you drift off.
4. Writing Replaces Bad Habits
When you get into the practice of writing before bed, you’re less likely to want to do other, more detrimental things that could detract from your quality of sleep. For instance, writing before bed means that you won’t be paying attention to social media or high-octane thrill movies and programs that keep your mind engaged and your brain active. Instead, you’ll be working on an activity that’s simple, creative, and similar in a lot of ways to meditation.
Instead of taking your phone with you to bed, consider taking a notepad and a piece of paper. Even if you just start off making notes about things that you want to remember to do the next day, you’ll be spending less time exposing yourself to things like disruptive lights that could harm your natural circadian rhythm. If you can’t give up your devices altogether, try at least putting them down an hour or so before bedtime. Make that hour the time you dedicate to your sleep routine.
5. Writing Forms Part of A Routine
Finally, having a routine for before you go to bed is one of the best ways to encourage a good night’s sleep. As you continue to follow your schedule every night, your brain will begin to associate certain activities with “time for sleep”. Eventually, your mind will begin to see that putting down your pen and placing your journal in your bedside cabinet indicates that it’s time to sleep. This will trigger a release of relaxing substances, like melatonin, to help you snooze.
You can combine writing with other relaxing behaviors that might help you to fall asleep faster too. For instance, some people enjoy drinking a hot cup of herbal tea while they’re jotting down ideas for their next creative journey. Other people have a hot bath, and then use their journaling time afterwards to make a note of all the amazing ideas that they had when soaking in the suds.
Using Writing for Relaxation
Writing and journaling isn’t just an excellent way to let your creative side shine through, it can also be a fantastic tool for relaxing your mind and improving your nightly routine too. The more you get used to writing before bed, the more natural it will feel.
Writing can be an excellent way to soothe stress, eliminate anxiety, and set yourself up for a great night’s sleep. Why not give it a go?
Emily Melynn Alexander was born on the east coast of the USA but has called Colorado home since 2000. She has a degree in English and Political Science from Metropolitan State University of Denver. She loves two things – sleep and travel. She is currently a writer for https://sleep.report/
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