As someone who has battled insomnia for over 20 years, I’ve tried pretty much everything available to induce sleepiness—Nyquil, Lavender oil, white noise machine, eyeshades, melatonin, eliminating blue light, special sheets, etc.
I’ve had limited success with individual products and with using them in conjunction, but some nights, no matter what I do, I simply am too wound up to get any rest. Typically, that results in a Netflix binge session, which occupies my time, but does little to quiet my mind.
The Nocturnal Journal, a new book by author Lee Crutchley, provides a good alternative for the occasionally and chronically sleepless. While it’s labeled a journal, I consider it more of an activity book, and the subtitle “A Late Night Exploration of What’s Really on Your Mind,” reflects that. The book doesn’t put you to sleep, it helps you figure out why you can’t.
Packed with leading questions, word associations, letter-writing prompts, fun lists, and thought-provoking ideas, The Nocturnal Journal is part distraction, part self-help. I found the activities to be soothing and entertaining. Certain pages that discuss bad memories or fears tend to wind me up, so I avoid those, but there is a lot of good material in the whole book and it’s easy to pick and choose which pages will work for you.
My favorite section is a blank page that’s entitled “Fill This Box With All of Your Worries.” It’s true that minor things can seem major when we’re alone in the middle of the night, and having the opportunity to scribble it out was a such a relief. The funny part is that my #1 worry was: I’m so tired, yet I can’t sleep! Another section I really enjoyed was made for adult coloring. I am terrible at drawing, but pulling out the colored pencils is fun anyway, even if it looks like a mess.
An entertaining reading and writing prompt to quiet down an overactive brain, Insomniacs, teens that refuse to go to bed, and creative/artistic types will love The Nocturnal Journal. It would also be a great addition to a carry-on bag for a red eye flight.