Many techniques have been introduced over the years to help people sleep, and one of the most underrated of these is journaling.
Many of us view writing as a tedious act because we spend so much of our day answering e-mails and writing memos, using boring, repetitive words that do not express our inner emotions.
Journaling Will Help You Unburden Your Mind for Deeper Rest
In this article, we discuss 5 tips for using journaling to help with sleep, focusing on novel ways of incorporating this literary technique into your nighttime habits.
It’s easy, practically free, and is a very effective type of sleep therapy you can do on your own.
Stream Your Consciousness onto Paper
An initial difficulty that beginners experience is overthinking.
This is because most people come to nighttime journaling in desperate need for expression. Words are bottled up inside them, and words are the portal into the unconscious. These people are craving liberation. But, they can get overwhelmed with all the possibilities.
This is commonly known as writer’s block. Ultimately, it’s an illusion. The yarn is going to unravel at some point. You’ve just got to pick a direction and go with it.
One useful strategy is to start with speech. Try talking to yourself out loud, and then using the first sentence that you utter as a starting point. Just write that sentence down, and if another sentence doesn’t immediately come, then try speaking out loud again. It’s perfectly acceptable to utter pure gibberish if you wish. It might even be fun to try to translate it into words.
The key is to stream your consciousness, to view your mind as water – full of various creatures.
Your job is to go fishing and document what you catch. But first, you’ve got to cast the line.
By doing this, you minimize all the creatures that will be swimming through your mind when you try to go to sleep. Instead, there will be a calm, peaceful body of water that facilitates deep slumber.
Develop a Routine and Stick to It
An occasional divergence can be beneficial, but ultimately journaling is about ritualization.
Try developing a consistent routine that you are comfortable with. To induce sleep, it is often helpful to dim the lights, light some incense, and ensure that there are very few distractions around.
Once you develop a routine, your body will recognize the associated actions as signaling sleep. This will help with melatonin regulation as well as relaxing your nervous system.
Use any Form of Writing
This isn’t school. Structure doesn’t matter and most importantly, you won’t be graded.
Don’t be afraid to write poetry, prose, lyrics, other languages, or to even make up your own languages. Sometimes it can even be useful to establish your own legend that uses both words and other shapes.
Regardless, as long as your mind is occupied with your sleep journal, you will be minimizing social interaction, which is often overly stimulating.
Journaling helps develop our relationship with our self, which can be relaxing and reassuring. This will facilitate fatigue, as difficulty sleeping is often associated with unused energy and anxiety that has been bottled inside of us. Often, these unused feelings concern how we feel about our self.
Recycle the Journal When You’ve Filled It
While some people like to reread their past entries, we don’t recommend it.
In fact, we often recommend that people tear up their journal and recycle it after they finish. Not only will this encourage sustainability, but it will force you to disconnect from the quality of your work.
This is important for inducing sleep because the less you care about what you write, the more thoughts and feelings you will channel. No one will ever read what you wrote. So, throw caution to the wind, and start flowing.
Transcend Your Words
Don’t be afraid to also draw or color. All that matters is that you are expressing how you feel in a way that doesn’t entail incessantly reflecting and thinking.
The idea is to break down your limits before you go to bed. This makes it easier for you to enter unconsciousness which is, after all, a realm of minimal limits. There’s a reason why we fly in our dreams. The normal laws of gravity don’t apply in dreamland.
Most people struggle with falling asleep because they are afraid of what will happen beyond the boundaries they have constructed. Yet, this is what dreaming entails and is part of the reason why it’s such a beneficial process.
If it were up to our ego, we would never leave the safety of our home. Journaling is a transcendent experience that dissolves the ego, which is why it prepares us for sleep.
Our Final Thoughts on Journaling to Help with Sleep
Many people struggle with how to fall asleep faster, and a sleep diary can be an easy way to achieve this.
When journaling to help with sleep, remember that fear will impede the process. If you find fear interfering with your journaling, try getting meta and journaling about the fear. Awareness defeats fear almost every time.
Before long, you’ll find yourself cozying up under your blankets and nodding off.
Feature image via Psychology Today