When I have trouble sleeping, more often than not, the first thing I do is reach for my phone to scroll my emails, answer texts, and go on all of my social media pages. This is the absolute wrong thing to do. Blue light from our phones are not helpful in the process of falling asleep, or trying to get back to sleep. Something I have been making a conscious effort to do is journal. Getting my thoughts, anxieties or to-do lists out on paper is tremendously helpful to clearing my mind, and I find that I often get better sleep after doing this. The trouble, sometimes, is getting started with these night journal prompts. Today, I’ll go over some prompt ideas to help you in those moments where you’re looking to unwind before bed, or want to get your thoughts off your mind in order to get back to sleep.
What are the benefits of journaling at night?
Journaling is excellent for mental health as it is something that can help clear your mind of any nagging thoughts. Worry and stress have massive impacts on sleep quality as well, so journaling your thoughts or passions or concerns helps put them elsewhere. This allows you to have better quality sleep, but also leaves everything in writing so if there are thoughts or work related ideas you need to revisit or want to continue working through, you are able to find them in one place. Two levels of peace of mind here!
It’s also a great way to remind yourself of things that need to get done. Writing up to do lists in a journal before bed can help you avoid waking up in the night, panicking that you’ve forgotten something. I’ve been there, and knowing that it’s in my journal and on my list for the next day is a huge relief.
Memory enhancement is another perk to journaling at night. Writing things down often helps people remember things, which is why note taking is so important and useful in school.
This is also a great way to establish a ritual at night. Journaling can signal the end of your day, and prepare you for rest. It’s also a great way to avoid screens and blue light before bed.
What is a journal prompt?
Now that we’ve established why journaling is a good idea, what are journal prompts? These are simply ideas, or starters to help you have a direction for your journaling practice. Night journal prompts, specifically, are options to help you think through or get out any thoughts that might impede you from getting sleep or that help you have a restful end to your day.
What do I need to do to start journaling?
Getting started is simple. You just need a few things:
- Pen and paper.We highly recommend not using a laptop, tablet, or phone to journal at night, especially because of the blue light. Simply grab a writing utensil and some paper, and you’re ready to go.
- A comfortable area.Whether you prefer to journal in bed, at a desk or table, or on the couch, finding an area that is comfortable for you to write in is key. When you’re comfortable, the task becomes more enjoyable, and therefore something you’ll want to keep in your nighttime routine.
- Music (optional). I like to listen to quiet, instrumental music while I journal. If there’s soothing music or a relaxing podcast you enjoy, it may be worth listening while you work on your journaling activity.
- Journal prompts for night time. Of course, you need a few prompts on hand to help guide you through this practice.
So, what are some good topics or journaling prompts for night?
Here are a few of our top night journaling prompts:
- Gratitude entries.Create a list of 5 - 10 things that you’re grateful for each day. Write a sentence or two about why this means so much to you.
- High/low points. Write briefly about the best part of your day, and the worst part of your day. This is a great way to reflect on what has been meaningful to you, and to remind yourself that you can get through any tough times.
- Goal setting. Write down a few short term goals. This could be for the coming week, month, or quarter. I like to do these on Sunday to start my work weeks with a strong, motivated mindset.
- To-do lists. Simply write down your agenda and tasks for the next day to get them off of your mind. This is simple, quick, and extremely useful.
- Catalogue your dreams.If you’ve woken up during the night, or remember a dream from the night before, write them down. This helps you get the thoughts out of your mind, but also allows you to keep them tracked as a reminder to see if you’re having the same dreams over and over.
- Fun or cheerful memories. Did something exciting happen that day? Were you reminded of something or someone you love? Writing down these memories, including what happened, who you were with, and why it is important to you, helps you keep them with you. Reading through past entries with this prompt is also a great way to brighten your day when you’re having a tough time.
The above prompts are great ways to get started with journaling, or can act as a refresh if you’re getting tired of focusing on just one prompt.
Night time journaling is also an excellent way to recap your day. Sometimes one of the above night journaling prompts isn’t a fit, and just doing a 15 or 20 minute free writing exercise is a better way to sort out your thoughts and evaluate the day you’ve had. This often puts things into perspective, and that reflection is often a lovely way to close out the day.
Whether the benefits of journaling at night are important to you, you want a new creative outlet, or you’re just looking for a new addition to your night time ritual, this is a great activity to take part in each night. We hope these journaling prompts help you get excited about this practice, and that they allow you to get your thoughts out so that you can achieve better sleep.