Do you get into bed at night, clean, sheets, snuggle down, get comfy.. then BANG! On goes the brain!
Me too! Or at least I used to, that is until I discovered the art of brain dumping.
My crude and basic technique of probably 16 years ago was a sheet of white paper beside the bed and a pen. I would write down anything that came to me when the brain switched back on , even if it didn’t make sense to me at the time. I’d settle back down and do some breathing and mental exercises to help me relax and then repeat as many times needed to get all that shit out of my head! And believe me, there used to be a lot of it!
Over the years I have honed my technique and it is VERY RARE that I can’t sleep .. Unless I have a 5 or 6 year old doing Jiu Jitsu in his sleep after creeping into my bed as I sleep…
I’ve listed some simple stuff to work on to help you let your brain calm down and deal with all it’s multitasking ‘tasks’ before you hit the hay. This way your brain knows it’s done its conscious work for the day and now it’s rest time.
- At the end of the evening, before getting ready for bed, review your schedule and “To Do” list for the following day.
- Organize and prepare what you need to get out the door the next morning. Place your bags, kids backpacks, items to be returned to the store or library, activity equipment, and any other items together near the door so that in the morning you are not losing time trying to locate what you need. Having all this prepared the night before will free up your mind from the little items that can be so frustrating and deprive us of sleep because our mind knows they are TO DO’s and this keeps us focused on them and not on allowing our body to relax and catch those needed zzzzz’s. Our brains are Awesome machines but we can manage them better 🙂
- After you have taken care of the scheduling items, it is time for yourself, but allow yourself to take a step back in time just now. Forget about electronic planners, social media and other omputer based technology. Let pen and paper be your devices of choice. Also, try putting your devices across the other side of your room or even better, in another room completely. The problem with these devices is that once we start using them, it is very hard to walk away. We become so engrossed and distracted that time flies by, and before you know it is 2:00 a.m. and you haven’t slept a wink.
- Now it is “your” time; keep a journal for personal notes and thoughts, and separately, a small spiral notebook for quick notes you want to jot down. It helps me to write the date in the notebook as I go. This way, I have a chronological diary of what I am writing. I also have a small ‘post it’ note book that I can jot little notes on and stick the ‘post it’ in my dary the next day.. I still use a paper diary! It’s an Academic year planner and lets me keep track of everything. I love it ! Use the notebook to make lists: calls to make, errands to run, emails to send, or anything else that requires an action that you haven’t thought about during the day. You may also choose to jot down short and long term goals, a sentence or two relating to an email or speech you are giving , or something you need to mention to the kids teacher! Write down anything you don’t want to forget by morning.
- Also nice here to complete your day, is to note down some things that you are grateful for today! Little reminders of good stuff you had the pleasure of experiencing during the day.. Going to sleep with a smile on your face is the best medicine.
Hope you enjoyed this and find it useful. All this usually takes me about 15-20 minutes of an evening before bed ….. and Sleeeeeeeep zzzzzzzzzzzzz