Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
/ Unsplash
Mental Health

My Sleep Hack: Journaling

As someone who relies on color-coded to-do lists, intense scheduling, and time-blocking for every part of my day, my mind is constantly rushing to determine the next task I need complete. I double back and quadruple check that I have accomplished everything required of me, which, as a college student, is a lot to keep track of.

Sometimes when I’m trying to fall asleep my mind keeps rushing at the same rate it does during the day. I toss and turn, contemplating every concern in my life: When should I study abroad? Should I have a minor? Should I go to office hours more? How many more BIS lectures can I miss before I get a 0% in participation? How can I boost my GPA? Do I have homework due tonight?

There is only one thing I can do to deal with these nagging thoughts about my future both as a student and as an individual. I have found that jotting down my intrusive thoughts, no matter how scribbled and random, immediately alleviates the pressure in my mind.

Writing down the thoughts that keep me awake make me feel as if I have placed the stress elsewhere, and gives me peace of mind. I am also not the only person who feels this sense of relief. A study in the January edition of the Journal of Experimental Psychology shows that participants who took five minutes to write a to-do list fell asleep faster than those participants who wrote about other topics.

Writing before going to sleep is not limited to tasks and to-do’s. Offloading personal events into a notebook can free up your mind and save you a lot of mental energy. Did you have a weird conversation with your mom? Vent. Did someone catch your eye? Daydream! Is your roommate doing that thing you hate again? Spill all of the annoying details.

Another benefit of journaling is that you get to look back on your past entries and see how you have grown. I developed the habit of journaling when I was 14, as the entire topography of my life was changing before my eyes. I had just begun high school, my parents were getting divorced, I was starting to think about college, and I was venturing into the world of boyfriends. Looking back inside my head from the weirdest part of my life is the valuable gift I have given to myself through journaling.

If you find yourself tossing and turning at night, consider jotting down what’s keeping you up. What you write may surprise you!

Cover image source: Unsplash, Álvaro Serrano

Madison Lefler is a third year at UC Davis double majoring in Psychology and Environmental Policy Analysis and Planning, with a minor in Technology Management. She is also a Sustainability Peer Educator for UC Davis Student Housing and Dining and enjoys makeup tutorials on YouTube, making boards on Pinterest for everything, and drinking overpriced lattes with her girlfriends.
Similar Reads👯‍♀️