You’re lying in bed and trying to fall asleep. As you feel like you’re starting to doze off, you start thinking about that work project. There was one task you need to make sure you do first thing tomorrow morning. Oh, and the kids have a project due. Can’t forget to make their lunches. Does your husband know he’s picking them up after school because you have an appointment?
Your mind just races. You feel like you can’t shut it off. You’re physically and mentally exhausted and yet … nothing.
I remember when Nick and I were starting STAVE OFF. There always felt like there was a million worries and stresses. We worked all day but still at night my mind raced. When I did fall asleep, I didn’t feel like it was a GOOD sleep. Thoughts raced through my mind and I couldn’t get them to slow down. I woke up feeling pretty exhausted. I hated it … I knew I had to try to figure out a way to rest.
A lot of people have trouble falling asleep. Over 30% of Americans don’t get enough sleep each night. I’m sure the stats are similar in Canada. Many of my physiotherapy clients tell me that they don’t feel rested (sometimes it’s because of pain). Sleeping less than 6 hours per night consistently can be tough on our health. We’ve written about this in the past, you should go check it out!
This was probably one of the best pieces of advice I ever got. A mentor of mine told me to do a mind dump before I go to bed. Here’s what you do. Keep a journal by your bed. Before you go to sleep, write down all of the things you need to remember to do the next day. It only takes about two or three minutes. This was game changing for me! Knowing that I had all of the things I needed to do written down eased my mind. I knew that I could tackle that to do list the next day.
Sometimes it isn’t the things we need to do but the things going on in our lives that stops us from sleeping. A sick family member, an upcoming doctor’s appointment, a fight with a friend… all of these moments can keep us up at night. This sometimes can be harder. It’s stressful. For me, it was when I started journaling. It’s a different type of mind dump. More like an anxiety unloading. I would journal before bed and just get all of my feelings out on paper. Often what came out was something I never expected. But I articulated it and it helped me to sleep.
The mind is such a powerful thing. Our sleep can help us deal with the never-ending to-do list or stressful situations. We need it!
So, try out this quick trick. Did it help you? What do you do to help you fall asleep?