How to Write a Nocturnal Journal

To listen to a guided audio version, click here:

Here are some suggestions for what to write in your sleep log or “nocturnal journal” inspired by Charley Morley and his book, “Wake up to Sleep.”

The emotion you feel right when you wake up.

There is a line of thinking that the feeling of starting the day off in a bad mood may be because of a difficult dream that you have that you have already forgotten.

On that note, you can write a brief description of any dreams that you remember.

Try to capture the basic idea or any parts that really stood out to you. Writing down dreams can help to improve your dream recall and awareness over time.

If you became aware of the fact that you were dreaming during the night, write that down too. This helps to improve daytime awareness and mindfulness. Over time, you can become increasingly aware of whether or not you are dreaming.

What time did you go to bed?

How long do you think it took you to fall asleep?

What time did you wake up?

If you were aware of waking up during the night, you can write that down. If you were up for more than 20 minutes, you can guess how long you were awake for and write that as well. Brief awakenings are normal and are actually a good thing so you can shift your body and sleep in a different position for the next chunk of sleep.

Thinking back to yesterday, how did you feel when you went to bed?

Were there any activities that you did yesterday that you think had an effect on your sleep? (for example, waking up unusually early or late, napping, eating a heavy meal before bed, sleep hygiene, exercise, stressful or relaxing events etc).

Any substances that had an impact on your sleep?
number of caffeinated drinks and type
number of alcoholic drinks and type
OTC meditations, prescriptions or other substances consumed
any relaxing tea

Looking ahead to your day, are there any thoughts or feelings that you would like to get off your chest? Write them down now.

What are you looking forward to today or coming up soon?

What are you grateful for?

Choose a positive affirmation for today.

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