Mindstead - Writing Practice for Sleep

About This Tool

This tool is intended for people of all ages who have trouble sleeping from time to time and who are able to write. The download includes a one-page PDF document with instructions on how to use writing to help you calm your mind when you cannot sleep or when you wake up in the middle of the night. The practice is simple to do. The amount of time it takes will vary depending on your mental and emotional state.

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Why It Works

There is a large body of research that shows expressive writing has beneficial effects on emotional and physical health. There are a number of books on the subject by James Pennebaker and others. See the following meta-analysis for a summary of the early expressive writing research:

Frattaroli, J. (2006). Experimental disclosure and its moderators: a meta-analysis. Psychological bulletin, 132(6), 823.


There is also preliminary research that shows that writing out a to-do list before bed can help promote sleep: 

Scullin, M. et al. (2018). The Effects of Bedtime Writing on Difficulty Falling Asleep: A Polysomnographic Study Comparing To-Do Lists and Completed Activity Lists. J Exp Psychol Gen. 147(1): 139–146.

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Why It Works

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