We’ve all been there. After doing your skincare routine, putting on your coziest PJs, drinking a cup of chamomile tea, putting on some white noise and creating the most ideal sleep environment possible, when you finally slip into bed, ready to switch off, your brain switches on. Suddenly your mind is swirling with worries and endless random thoughts and memories, all keeping you from drifting off to sleep.
So what’s the fix? Some experts recommend a “brain dump.” Brain coach and trainer Sarah Fletcher explains that it’s a simple technique to declutter your mind and thoughts and it can be done two ways:
- A written brain dump, where you write down everything that’s on your mind. As you do, she recommends making a conscious effort to relax your shoulders, face and breathing. This helps clear your mind and relax your body so you’re ready for sleep.
- The second way to brain dump is through meditation. Once you get your body calm, then welcome all your thoughts from the day. “As you invite them in, say ‘thank you’ and acknowledge them,” Fletcher explains. “Rather than engaging with them and attempting to change them, judge them or respond to them, just allow them to come and go as you observe.” As you do this, remind yourself that you’re calm and safe and allow your body to relax.
Sleep coach Dave Gibson says the main benefit of a brain dump is stress relief, noting that it’s especially helpful for folks who tend to get weighed down with heavy thoughts once they’re in bed. But he says you should do it in a different room so your bedroom can be a sanctuary for sleep and your brain associates it as a place to unwind and rest, not worry. And he says to get the full benefits of brain dumping, it should be a habit. Even if it feels awkward at first, stick with it until it’s a natural part of your bedtime routine and it can reduce stress and anxiety and lead to a “more clear mind.”