We have all been there when we can't fall asleep as we have so many anxious thoughts in our mind, these thoughts keep us up all night leading to disturbed sleep. When we look at the clock, hours have passed! This is becoming more and more common as we have to deal with a lot of uncertainty and increased pressure in our daily lives. The good news is that we can start to address the cause of our unrest by using a journal before we go to sleep every night.
Find your space and time
Dedicate a specific time before sleep for your self-care journaling time, it could be 5 or 15 minutes that you really need. Find a nice spot with a comfortable table and chair and ask your family to give you the space you need during this time. Turn on Do Not Disturb mode on your phone and turn off any distractions you have around you including the TV. Complement the journaling with some nice tea, it'll help to calm your nerves.
Write down your to-do list for the next few days
Many of us are kept awake at night thanks to thinking about what needs to be done in the next few days. This causes a lot of anxiety knowing that you have a lot on your plate, we get scared that we don't have enough time to do it and it becomes an endless loop of thoughts in the mind. These thoughts don't go away and we end up having a terrible sleep, this affects how we operate the next day. A study in the Journal of Experimental Psychology shows there is benefit from writing down your to-do list for the next few days before you go to sleep, the study showed that participants who wrote down their to-do list fell asleep faster than those who just wrote down what they had completed for the day. Start by writing down all the big chunks of things you need to do in the next few days. As you do this exercise, you will realise that the to-dos are not as bad as you think. Write down when you want to complete the to-dos as well as what you will do to celebrate completing that task. Rewards are important, no matter how big or small they are!
Reflect on the day
Reflection is really important as we need to go back and think about important events in our life, we need to be grateful or open to improving ourselves. We have a lot of experiences during the day, both positive and negative. Create two columns, one for positive experiences and one for negative experiences. Write down the positive experiences first then follow up with the negative experiences. In addition to writing down the negative experiences, write down how you could you improve that experience next time.
Don't feel too rigid with your journaling practice before sleep. Start writing anything you want and follow that flow. You can start by writing about what you had for dinner and the experience you had with your family and friends during that time. Be creative and add some elements of storytelling fiction to the story, it might spark some neurons in the brain that you haven't used before. Use this journaling freestyle time to have fun and be creative.