We’ve all experienced it: you’re lying down to sleep after a hard day of work, but instead of falling into a deep, restful slumber, you end up lying awake for an hour—sometimes even longer. Even if you’re tired, you just might not be able to shut your brain off. You have idea after idea running through your mind. You’re too distracted to sleep!
Did you know that the average person has between 50,0000 and 70,000 thoughts per day? Most of these are insignificant and useless. They fill your mind and pass away quickly.
You need to empty your brain of all these thoughts before bed, so you don’t have them passing through, keeping you awake at all hours of the night. Here’s how you can do that.
Start a Brain Dump Notebook!
Get a piece of paper or a journal right now. At the top, write “Clear Head,” “Brain Dump,” or something similar. Then divide the paper into two columns. One column should be called “Don’t Forget.” Label the other one “Still Figuring Out.”
Make a “Don’t Forget” List in the First Column
The “Don’t Forget” column will essentially serve as your to-do list. Here, you can put down the things that you probably already know need to get done, but you just don’t want to forget about. They can be things that require your immediate attention in the morning or things that you might need to do later in the week. Write yourself reminders to respond to emails, schedule a doctor’s appointment, return phone calls, and more. This list is your way of giving your brain permission to forget and rest instead. You can let go and leave your tasks until tomorrow.
Make a “Still Figuring Out” List in the Other Column
Your second column should be titled “Still Figuring Out.” These are all the thoughts that feel more like questions you don’t have the answers to just yet. These are more likely to cause stress that disrupts your attempts to sleep. Maybe you’re mulling over the solution to an upcoming project. Maybe you’re trying to decide how to effectively approach a difficult person or situation. You might even have a brand-new idea that you want to expand at a later time. Write all of these down in your notebook, then put your thoughts away and focus on sleeping.