Terre Pruitt's Blog

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Getting To Sleep

Posted by terrepruitt on November 4, 2014

I don’t know about you, but I seem to use the time after I get in bed before I fall asleep to think about all that I have to do the next day.  I lie there and prepare my to-do list.  Often times it has “roll-over” stuff.  Stuff that I didn’t finish during the current day so I need to roll it over onto the next day’s to-do list.  Sometimes my to-do list includes grocery shopping so then I might be mentally preparing a grocery shopping list.  Sometimes my to-do list includes learning or doing a Nia routine . . . so then I am thinking about that.  Sometimes the schedule of the day might include writing a blog post so then my mind goes into what-to-write-mode.  As you can imagine with all that planning other things pop into my head too.  Planning of menus might turn into reminders that I need to contact a friend to make plans for lunch or dinner.  Thoughts of a Nia routine might have my mind wandering to that song I heard on the radio earlier in the day . . . what was it?  Coming up with an idea for a blog post can have my thoughts all over the place.  While this might seem very productive . . . . all this thinking and planning . . . it is not because I am in bed and I should be going to sleep.  I recently read something about what productive people do that helped me get to sleep.

Nia, Nia Classes, YMCA, City of San Jose, Yoga, I can’t even remember where I read it, but it was a list of things successful and productive people do.  Ya know, the usually list that includes “have your staff do all the things you would like to get off your plate.”  Yeah, ok.  Well, in addition to the things on the list for people WITH staff there were a few things that people without staff could do.  One of them, of course, was make a list of things you need to do.  Well, I think we are all familiar with that.  In fact I have a lot of lists.  And as I said, one of the things I do when I am supposed to be going to sleep is mentally move the things from my current to-do list onto the next day’s to-do list.  But – to me – the key thing the article said about the to-do list was to let is be a tool to let you concentrate.  Allow the list to take all the things you have to do out of your head so you can concentrate on the one thing you are doing at the moment.

Well, I have never used a to-do list like that . . . exactly . . . that I am aware of . . . but maybe . . . it sounds right, right?  Sometimes I think I fret over my to-do list, but perhaps, sometimes I do allow it to help me concentrate.  But one night I was so busy mentally reviewing my to-do list as I laid in bed needing to go to sleep, I thought, what if write it down right now?  Yes, I do have a to-do list on my desk, but what if I write down all my thoughts now so I can get them out of my head.  So I did.  Some of the things I wrote down weren’t even necessarily “to-do” items, they were just thoughts.  But I needed to get to sleep and not think about them so I jotted them down too.

I liked it.  It worked.  I bet this is not new to many of you.  As I said to-do lists are not new to me, but writing it down to empty my thoughts right before I go to sleep was new to me.  I hadn’t thought of doing that before.  Especially because I have a to-do list.  But when I go to bed and start reviewing it, that is not helpful.  So re-writing it and any thoughts that interrupt my relaxation really helped me.

Do you have to-do lists?  Do you have trouble falling asleep?  Do you feel you think too much about too much when you should be sleeping?  Have you ever wrote your thoughts down to help you fall asleep?  Do you think this might help you fall asleep? 

4 Responses to “Getting To Sleep”

  1. Betty Galloway said

    Wow Terre! I’m so familiar with this problem it isn’t even funny! I use a smartphone and I’m a major techno-nerd so I’m fine at using all those apps to track my to do lists and project status and all that stuff. My problem is I go to bed and lay there figuring out HOW to do things…mostly having to do with my woodworking. Occassionally I will get so focused on solving a problem that I will grab my phone and search the internet for a solution or ideas. Then I end up getting side tracked with some other cool thing I find and sleep is put on hold until my curiosity is satisfied. It is not at all uncommon for me to go to bed at 9:30 and not end up getting to sleep until midnight! Oy!


    • YUP! I do that too. I have my device right there too and grab it to look something up. I say, “Only one thing. Only a minute.” Then 45 minutes later . . . I am still “researching”. For me, I really need to sleep once I get to bed because I don’t go to bed until 12:30/1:00 am so I need to stop! This worked for me the couple of times I tried it. Next time I will even included the item I want to look up “really quick”. I’ll see if that works.

      So are you gonna give this a try? 🙂


  2. Good reminder, I’ve done this in the past & it works for me… just need to get back in the habit! I’ve also heard of keeping a pen & paper at your beside to jot down those ideas floating around during the night!


    • Yes. This is exactly on the same track, right? If you can’t get to sleep write it down to get it out of your head. If it wakes you up in the middle of the night, right it down to get it out of your head.


      Liked by 1 person

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