So you’re looking to ease your worries and rest your mind before bedtime, but the gears keep turning and you keep tossing.
Do you keep a journal? An agenda? Well you’re on the right track. But is your agenda on your phone or computer? This won’t help. Keeping a diary or journal is not a new idea, but its popularity has dwindled throughout the years. And we all know that looking at bright devices before bed time actually keeps us awake, so the best way to wind yourself down before bed is to read or write, on paper! Write about everything that has been bothering you about that day, and hey, sometimes it won’t even make sense, but at least it’s out of your head!
“But how exactly will this help me?”
Apa.org claims that by expressing your thoughts before bed so “you don’t dwell on them through the night,” you develop a routine that prepares your mind for sleep.
It’s only been seven days using this technique and I feel better, and it’s about time. Eventually you have so much on your mind that things tend to slip and you become even more forgetful than you were before. Coming from the queen of procrastination, this is an important feat to conquer. I wrote it down, so I felt obligated to do it. I don’t know why, I just did. My productivity has increased, and my stress has decreased — well to an extent.
Stress that I have addressed is that which is external and environmental. The pressure to get things done has increased, so of course so has my productivity. But if I don’t actually do it, then I am no less stressed than I was before. The way I look at it, however, is that since I addressed it, I know it’s real; I think that this is the most important part. We need to address what needs to be done and want we want to do, and this includes making time for fun!
Truth be-told however, my journal turned into a full-blown to-do list: one that felt difficult to conquer. Here are some examples of how mine looked, and I’m sure yours will turn out to be similar:
- Finish grad school applications
- Contact “insert name here” x 24
- Do laundry
- Take dog for walk
- EXERCISE FOR ONCE
- Make doctor’s appointment
- FIGURE OUT YOUR LIFE
And although I repeated these things everyday, I began to understand their priority in my life. Instead of having someone nag at you everyday to get things done, you become your own motivation, and I love it.
If you really want to devote yourself, do your journal all day long, not just at night. I tried to do my journal just at night but it didn’t turn out that way. I woke up with ideas and had ideas all day long, ones that would have disappeared if I didn’t write them down right away. It just so turns out that this is a better way to do it anyways: according to psychcentral.com,
For about 10 to 15 minutes a day, “Write down what’s on your mind at an earlier time and what you’re doing about it,” says Silberman, who’s also author of The Insomnia Workbook: A Comprehensive Guide to Getting the Sleep You Need. To kick-start your worry session, she suggests simply asking yourself, “What are the things that come to my mind when I’m lying in bed at night?”
This way, you can address what you need to do during the day and make a plan to get it done. And realistically, there is nothing more satisfying than checking off something from a to-do list; you feel accomplished and that you are actually going somewhere.
It is my goal to keep up with my list on a daily basis, and you should definitely try it out, if even just for the sleep benefit itself!
If you want more information on sleep, (how much we need and if we can really catch up on sleep) check out this ASAP Science video!