Night Notes: Sleep Tight Every Night

Author - Mari L. McCarthy
Published - October 26, 2016
This article originally appeared at as part of my WOW - Journaling Power Blog Tour this October.

Journaling_Power_Cover_w_badge.jpgDo you have trouble getting off to sleep at night because your mind has gone into overdrive? Or do you drop off only to wake in the early hours with your head full of worries?

I used to suffer with insomnia until I discovered a creative cure with absolutely no side-effects: writing therapy in the evenings!

I love journaling and use it daily to boost my creativity. I find it helps me de-stress and overcome mental blocks.

I began many years ago by writing in my journal every morning (Morning Pages), but for some time now I have also been writing Night Notes as a “dumping” exercise last thing at night. It’s an extremely effective way to release the anxieties and hassles of the day before bedtime.

I usually write two or three pages quite quickly, letting my thoughts come out in a stream of consciousness. I don’t try to analyze the content, I don’t treat it as art and attempt to construct brilliant sentences or metaphors–I just write anything that comes into my mind.

Sometimes I write about what’s happened during the day and see if there are lessons to be learned; other times I write about random stuff, usually for about 15 or 20 minutes.

Night Notes have proved so effective that I routinely sleep for seven or eight hours without waking up. So now I recommend this stress-management tool to the family – the online community I created for fellow travelers on the journaling journey.

Sleep is very important to physical and psychological health, and the benefits of expressive writing at bedtime have been scientifically documented.

Writing in the Journal of Behavioral Sleep Medicine back in 2003, researchers Harvey & Farrell reported on an experiment with poor sleepers, who had a tendency to lie awake worrying.

They tested the theory that excessive thinking at bedtime was an attempt to process the emotions and hassles of the day. They hoped that writing would help problem sleepers to carry out this “emotional processing” before they went to bed, so that they could get off to sleep more quickly.

This proved to be the case. Harvey & Farrell found that a group of participants who had been asked to do some journaling went off to sleep more quickly than another group who did not write.

And, keep your journal at your bedside, to do middle-of-the night data dumps so that you can keep your head on the pillow longer and give your body all the time it needs to do its healing work.

Night Notes Journaling Power Prompt:

Today Was My Best Day Because…

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