I know that a big part of my not sleeping is because I can’t turn off my brain. As soon as I wake up in the night, even if it is to roll over or to use the bathroom, my brain starts moving at warp speed. I start thinking. And then I start worrying. I can feel my muscles begin to tense as I rattle off my tomorrow plans or I think toward next week. I know I’m waking up bit by bit, but it’s like an avalanche that starts with the smallest drop of snow and then cascades into a torrent of unsleep. So I might be a tad over-dramatic, but it really is an issue for me in the middle of the night. I often wonder if it the weight of my obligations that press me awake in the first place.
This week I’ve been trying something new: the brain dump. The concept is simple. Sit down with a huge piece of paper and a pen (or pencil or crayon or marker or whatever). And then start writing. Write down everything that you can think of. Things that bother you get written down. Things you’re worried about get written down. Things you have to do, want to do, dream of doing all get written down. Do you see the trend? Write down any and everything that might wake you up in the night. If words fail you draw pictures. Get off your computer and use your hands to make your brain dump happen. Really connect and feel the relief as you pour out what’s inside your brain.
Don’t worry about what it looks like or that you’re using proper spelling or grammar. Don’t worry that you’re writing upside down or sideways. Or don’t worry that it doesn’t make any sense. The point is not to create art or something you’ll hold onto forever. The point is to get everything that gets muddled inside your head out. It relieves the pressure, creates calm, and helps you sleep. I’m trying to incorporate time into my bedtime routine for a nightly dump. Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn’t. But I know that I feel calmer when climb in bed. And that makes a big difference.
Do you brain dump? Or do you plan on trying it? I’d love to know if you’ve seen results.