Why making a list in the middle of the night could help you get back to sleep

Do you ever wake up in the middle of the night and your head’s reeling with thoughts?  Yes.  Me too.  Here I share why engaging in the process of making a list, you can gain a sense of control, unburden your mind, and create a pathway for problem-solving, ultimately helping you to relax and sleep better.

As a business owner, waking up at 4am in a state of panic is unfortunately all too common.  If it only happens from time to time, it’s not too worrying, but if it’s happening on a regular basis it might be worth thinking about seeking help.  Before you do so though, I thought I’d share something I do when I can’t sleep.  What I find really useful to help me get back to sleep is making a list.  Okay, I’m a bit of an obsessive list maker, but there are good reasons why making a list when you’re awake and worrying can help you sleep for several reasons.  Here are just some of them:

1. Externalising thoughts: Writing down your worries helps to externalise them. Instead of leaving them swirling around in your mind, they are transferred onto paper or a digital format. This act of externalisation can provide a sense of relief and release some of the mental burden associated with the worries.

2. Organisation and control: Making a list allows you to organise your thoughts and concerns in a structured way. It gives you a sense of control over your worries, as you can categorise and prioritise them. By bringing order to your thoughts, you can gain a clearer perspective on the issues at hand.

3. Memory offloading: When you write down your worries, you no longer need to rely solely on your memory to keep track of them. Your mind can relax, knowing that the worries are recorded and won’t be forgotten. This can alleviate the fear of forgetting something important, which often keeps people awake at night.

4. Problem-solving and planning: Once you have your worries listed, you can start exploring potential solutions or plans of action. Writing down your concerns prompts your brain to shift from a purely emotional state to a more rational and problem-solving mindset. This cognitive shift can help reduce anxiety and make it easier to find solutions or develop strategies to address the issues causing your worries.

5. Closure: Completing the act of making a list can provide a sense of closure. It signifies that you have acknowledged your worries and taken a proactive step to address them. Some people find comfort in developing a closing ritual, such as reviewing the list before bed and mentally letting go of the worries for the night, allowing them to be revisited at a more appropriate time.

By engaging in the process of making a list, you can gain a sense of control, unload your mind, and create a pathway for problem-solving, ultimately helping you to relax and sleep better.

 Have you tried list making as a way of getting back to sleep?  If not, it might be worth a try.

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