Tired of tossing and turning at 2 am while your brain insists on solving the world’s problems or reminding you of tomorrow’s to-do list? You’re not alone.

Insomnia affects millions of people worldwide, robbing them of precious sleep and leaving them groggy and irritable the next day. But what if there was a simple trick to bid farewell to those 2 am worries and embrace a restful night’s sleep? Well, it turns out, there just might be.

Enter Associate Professor Michael K. Scullin from Baylor University, whose groundbreaking research offers a beacon of hope for sleep-deprived individuals everywhere. Curious about whether focusing on the future before bedtime could aid in easing insomnia, Scullin conducted a study involving 57 participants in a sleep lab.

Half of the participants were instructed to spend five minutes writing a to-do list of tasks they needed to complete in the next few days—a future-focused list. Meanwhile, the other half were asked to reflect on past activities—a subtle yet crucial distinction. The results were astonishing: Those who wrote to-do lists not only fell asleep faster but also experienced better sleep quality.

This simple intervention works because it helps offload the mind’s racing thoughts and redirects them towards specific tasks, alleviating the stress that often keeps us awake. According to Scullin, our minds are akin to a bustling dog park, teeming with thoughts vying for attention. Left unchecked, these thoughts can spiral into a chaotic frenzy, sabotaging our chances of a peaceful night’s sleep. By externalizing our worries onto paper, we signal to our brains that it’s safe to let go, paving the way for a better night’s sleep.

So how can you put this strategy into action? It’s simple:

  1. Set aside 30 minutes to an hour before bed without digital distractions.
  2. Grab a pen and paper and write down any unfinished tasks from the day and upcoming tasks for the next few days. Be as specific as possible as more detail helps you get to sleep faster.
  3. If you find yourself pondering solutions to problems, jot those down too.
  4. Don’t stress about the time it takes; focus on the process.
  5. Repeat this nightly routine to train your brain to let go of worries and drift off to sleep more easily.

By adopting this straightforward yet powerful technique, you can bid farewell to 2 am worries and embrace restful, rejuvenating sleep. So go ahead, grab that pen and paper, and reclaim your nights—one peaceful sleep at a time.

If you need help to manage insomnia, reach out and make an appointment with one of our experienced Psychologists at Ahead Psychology.

Adapted from https://open.substack.com/pub/amantha/p/say-goodbye-to-2am-worries-the-simple?r=2eg43y&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=email