Sleep Journaling in My Own Unique Way

When someone first mentioned the idea of sleep journaling I pictured myself as the angsty teenager I once was. Pouring my heart out into a journal including every perceived passive-aggressive snub from a friend to how I got a B on an assignment which absolutely deserved an A. I scoffed at the idea.

I couldn’t imagine myself sitting down to write this way again. Sleepless nights were enough for me to decide to give it a go. It turned out to be something I am so thankful I was encouraged to try.

Making lists to relieve stress

Routine and order are what keeps my life from slowly descending into madness. Okay, not madness, but I do not enjoy change or chaos. This is one of the reasons it has actually been beneficial to me. A question posed to me in a therapy session a few years ago made me realize it is not always major changes that can throw me into a vicious cycle of insomnia. Life’s nuances could be impacting me more than I know.

I often lay awake at night thinking about what I didn’t accomplish that day. It could be anything from not folding a basket of laundry to something left unfinished at work. It could be a piece of clothing I haven’t thought about in months, so I decide to start a list of other things I want to find.

Journaling some nights is simply a to-do list of what needs to be accomplished the next day. Other times, it is what I would like to accomplish the next day. Sometimes my lists are a color-coded list of both. List-making has always been soothing to me, but I never thought of it as a way of journaling. Releasing myself from stress over trivial things is the best gift to give myself some nights.

Racing thoughts and unfinished business

Jumbled, messy lists happen too. Racing thoughts I am unable to articulate in other ways. Impossible to express verbally. Tasks that seem significant in the throes of exhaustion but keep me awake as I obsess over nothing and everything at the same time. This is the emotional part of my journaling. Nuances appear on these lists which bother me more than I thought when I see them on paper. Smatterings of emotions appear with no associated task. But it is there, along with all of my other bulleted items.  It helps me sleep for a few hours sometimes.

The idea of unfinished business or the sudden urge to make an alphabetized list for a shopping trip is something relatively new in my struggle with insomnia. However, journaling has helped me in ways I never imagined. Learning about myself in a deep and meaningful way through neatly bulleted lists I write at 3:00 a.m. during another sleepless night fits my personality perfectly.

Give journaling a try

For anyone who thinks there is no benefit to journaling for them, I encourage you to try for a couple of weeks. There is no right or wrong way to do it. You are in charge of how you express yourself. I am finding peace through list-making. Not an app on my iPad or iPhone. I had nothing to lose when I started. It can be long or short. It can be as unique as you are.

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