A Useful Tip You Probably Didn't Know For Better Sleep
The global pandemic has caused many of us around the world to lose sleep for a variety of reasons. It could be due to the work-from-home situation or the lack of social activities, travel and more. This means that more should be done to regulate our sleeping patterns, especially if we find ourselves lying awake in the middle of the night with nothing but tech devices to rely on to fall asleep.
For World Sleep Day on March 19, we consulted a wellness expert to provide more insights on how we can fall into a deep slumber without trouble.
While we've previously shared a list of tips on how to fall asleep better, this new tip is remarkably easy to follow and studies have also found it to be effective.
“Sleep is constantly way up at the top of the list of concerns people have about their health. It’s safe to say that almost everyone can relate, we’ve all had a bad night’s sleep at some point in our lives. Maybe it was because of a long haul flight, work stress or even young kids keeping us awake,” says Dr Tal Friedman, head of naturopathic and research & development specialist at Chiva-Som Hua Hin, a luxury wellness and international health resort.
“An entire industry has been built around trying to get people to sleep better. From speciality mattresses and bedding to essential oils, pillow mists and a wide variety of supplements. To be fair, I do enjoy many of those products and supplements and they do have their uses.”
However, he adds there is one “deceptively simple tool that barely gets any mention”.
Journaling. That’s right, the simple act of writing could actually help you unwind and prep yourself for bed effectively every night.
See also: 7 Sleep Devices To Help You Sleep Better
Friedman cites a 2018 study that involved 57 young adult participants who were instructed by researchers to write for five minutes before bed, found that this helped them fall asleep significantly faster.
According to the study, the more specifically participants wrote their to-do list, the faster they subsequently fell asleep, whereas the opposite trend was observed when participants wrote about completed activities.
“What they observed was that what helped the most was not writing about what you accomplished during the day, but writing out your to-do list for tomorrow. This study also saw an effect size comparable to recent pharmaceutical clinical trials with people taking sleep aids,” says Friedman.
In a separate study, Friedman shares that researchers had assigned a group of people with poor sleep to perform various self-help strategies. One group was asked to journal for about 15 minutes every evening before bed. The study found journaling reduced bedtime worry and stress, increased sleep time, and improved sleep quality.
“There’s something about the physical act of writing that seems to offload some of this cognitive activation or even just help pump the brakes on it a bit,” notes Friedman. “Once the activation is decreased a bit, the rumination and anxiety ease up a bit as well, letting you drift off faster and deeper than you normally would.”
So try it out for yourself.
Take a nice, hot shower, put on your most comfortable pair of pyjamas, then get a journal or even a small notebook to jot down your thoughts or a to-do list for the next day. Write down everything you have to do over the next couple of days, too. Do remember to write a very specific to-do list for five minutes at bedtime rather than journaling about completed activities.
It is simple enough and who knows, you may just find yourself all set to switch off the lights at the end of your journaling—and ready for your well-deserved rest.