Journaling to Calm Racing Thoughts

Having a hard time falling asleep because your brain won't shut off? Try journaling! It has been proven to reduce bedtime worry and stress, increase sleep time, and improve sleep quality.

There are a few ways you can use journaling in your evening ritual. Here are 5 of my favourites:


A great way to unwind before bed is thought-dumping. It’s also very simple. Write down all the things that are bothering or worrying you. Don’t worry about writing neatly, just get it out of your head and onto the page. Complete the process by closing the book and saying, “DONE!” or something final.

If you’re writing on a piece of paper, crumple it up and throw it away. The act of getting it all out then choosing to let go can give you a sense of it being lifted from you.


Focusing on positive events, like the best part of your day or 5 things you’re grateful for, may help you sleep longer and better, according to research. It’s a great practice to help you find the good in your life, especially when things aren’t going as planned. It can be as simple as making a list of 3-5 things, or writing “Today I am grateful for…” and letting the words flow.


Have you ever been angry at someone, wrote them a letter, and decided not to send it because the act of writing it down was enough? That’s what we’re doing here - getting it out so you can move on. Letters can be positive or negative. If someone is on your mind, for whatever reason, take the time to write them a letter in your journal. Tell them how you feel about them, and how they have affected your life. Writing directly to that person, even though they won’t see it, can bring deep satisfaction and relief. You can decide later whether it’s a conversation worth having in real life.


Use your journal to dream. Write down your bucket list, all the places you’d like to go, or make a list of the things you want to pursue in the next year. Writing down your goals can help make them real.


If your brain won’t turn off at night because you have a lot to do the next day, making a TO-DO LIST can be incredibly helpful! Write down everything that needs to be done then place the list where you will see it in the morning. If it’s in your journal, taking a picture of it on your phone will make it easier to take with you. When you’re finished with your list, say out loud, “Tomorrow is taken care of” and go to bed.


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Spring & fall photos of Beth by Melissa McCallum Photography

Winter photos of Beth by Rae Connell Photography

Copyright Beth Wyatt, 2020