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What is the Best Time of Day to Journal?

So you are ready to build a journaling routine. First question: when should you journal? Ultimately, the best time of day to write in a journal is a personal decision based on your needs and goals for that activity.

According to some experts, journaling at specific times can help to make the practice more effective. However, when you research the best time to journal, you’ll find a lot of contradictory advice.

Some studies show nighttime is best; most regular journalers seem to prefer the morning.

So how will you decide?

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How to Decide When to Journal

Some claim you should always do your writing in the morning, while others say journaling at night is better. A few will even say a mid-day session provides the perfect break in your day.

The truth is there is no universal best time for everyone. The best time for somebody else might not be the best time for you.

It also depends on your goals for journaling.

If your journal focuses on dream analysis, clearly you’ll want to write in it when you first wake up.

A daily gratitude journal, on the other hand, would probably be better completed in the evening, while the day’s events are still fresh in your mind.

If you are wondering which time of day is best for you, why not compare the benefits of writing in the morning and evening? Go with the time that seems to make the most sense – knowing, of course, that you can always change your mind!

Is Morning the best time of day to journal?

Morning seems to be the most popular time of day to journal.

Writing just after 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.
  • It’s generally easier to build a habit in the morning than at other times of day.

Certainly, if you are keeping a dream journal or setting daily intentions, morning journaling makes the most sense.

As fewer things are likely to crop up first thing in the morning, it makes it easier to stick to your journaling routine.

So, what about the cons of journaling in the morning?

  • Events from the previous day won’t be as fresh in your mind.
  • For most of us, our minds are groggier in the morning.
  • If your mornings are packed full of activity and deadlines, journaling might not fit into the schedule easily and will be overlooked.
woman in blue and white striped shirt writing in her journal in the morning, her best time to journal

Is Evening the best time of day to journal?

Studies have suggested that journaling at bedtime leads to better sleep.

Journaling in the evening can deliver some unique benefits, including:

  • You can reflect on your day while it’s still fresh in your mind.
  • It can help you to de-stress and relax.
  • It provides an outlet for your emotions and thoughts.
  • Creativity and problem-solving abilities are often at their peak in the evening.
  • Bedtime journaling has been shown to improve sleep.

When you journal at night, the events of the day are still fresh in your mind. You’ll remember events in greater detail, as well as your feelings and reactions to those events.

You have time to reflect and process them before bed. This in turn will help you to sleep much better.

Of course, there are downsides to writing in the evenings too.

Some Cons of Night Journaling Include:

  • Thinking about your problems right before you go to sleep can get them stuck in your mind.
  • You may lose track of time and stay awake too late.
  • If you journal on a computer, the blue light may impact your sleep patterns.
  • You may find yourself too tired to journal consistently.
  • Conflicting activities/evening plans may cause you to forgo your journal.
woman's hands holding pen writing in her journal at nighttime, the best time to journal

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Final Thoughts on What is the Best Time of Day to Journal?

When trying to determine which time is better to journal, consider the pros and cons of each option.

You should think about your own lifestyle and where journaling can best fit into it consistently. The type of journaling you intend to do also will make a difference.

The right time for somebody else may not be the best time for you. Ultimately, it’s a personal decision, and whichever one you choose, THAT is the best time of day for you to journal.

Let me know in the comments – are you a morning or evening journaler – or both – or another time altogether?

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pink journal and 2 pencils, choosing the right time of day to journal
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woman's hand writing in journal with pencil, eyeglasses and coffee cup nearby, choosing best time of day to journal

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