When is the Best Time to Journal?

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Layne McDonald. Ph.D.

According to some experts, journaling at specific times can help to make the practice more effective. However, you’ll find contradictory advice when researching the best time to journal. Some claim you should always do it in the morning, while others say journaling at night is better.

The truth is that no set time works better for everyone. The best time for somebody else might not be the best for you. Therefore, comparing the benefits of writing in the morning and evening is a good idea. That way, you can better decide which is right for you. 

Pros And Cons Of Journaling In The Morning

The most popular time of day recommended for journaling is the morning. Doing it as soon as you wake up can deliver a few great benefits. The pros of journaling in the morning include:

  • It helps you to set good intentions for the day ahead.
  • You can better recall your dreams.
  • It can kickstart the brain, making you more focused.
  • You’ll find it easier to make progress.

So, writing in the morning is ideal for those using the dream journaling technique or those who want to be more proactive during the day. As fewer things are likely to crop up first thing in the morning, it also ensures you stick to your journaling routine. 

So, what about the cons of journaling in the morning? Well, events won’t be as fresh in your mind as you’ll recall things from the day before. Your mind is also groggier in the morning, so you may be unable to come up with solutions to any problems you face. 

Pros And Cons Of Journaling In The Evening

Journaling in the evening can also deliver some unique benefits. They include:

  • You can debrief your day.
  • It can help you to destress.
  • You may sleep better.
  • Creativity often increases in the evening.

When you journal at night, the day's events are still fresh. You can analyze them and get them out of your head before bed. This, in turn, will help you to sleep much better. You may also find it easier to write in your journal in the evenings if you are more of a night owl. This is where your creativity will be highest. 

Of course, there are downsides to writing in the evenings too. Some people find they need help sleeping if they try and journal before bed. You are thinking about your problems before you can get them in your mind. It can also cause you to stay up later than you should if you write for longer, for example.

When determining which time is better to journal, consider the pros and cons of each option. It would help if you also thought about your lifestyle and where journaling can play the best slot. The right time for somebody else may not be your best time.