Why you should try a ‘brain-dump’ before bed

Here’s 5 top tips to help you ‘brain dump’ before bed, for a better night’s sleep.

Why you should try a ‘brain-dump’ before bed
Ever feel like as soon as your head hits the pillow, your mind decides to race through to-dos, worries and random thoughts? You're not alone. Many of us experience the feeling of having too many tabs open before sleep. So what if there's a simple way to clear mental swill before bed or in moments of overwhelm?
The answer lies in a technique called brain dumping.

What is Brain Dumping?

Brain dumping is essentially cache-clearing your brain. A brain dump involves getting all your thoughts, to-dos and worries onto to paper to offload your mental load to a physical and manageable format. There’s comfort in calling it a ‘dump’ as there’s no judgement or need for it to look pretty - it’s just pure, unadulterated brain emptying. Brain dumping helps declutter your mind, reduce stress and enhance focus.

Does it Actually Work?

The science says yes. Writing down your thoughts, whether that’s through to-do lists, journaling or brain dumping can help reduce stress, improve sleep and sharpen cognitive function.
Studies in cognitive psychology suggest that jotting down our thoughts can reduce mental clutter and improve memory and focus. The act of writing engages the brain differently than simply thinking or talking, helping to process and organise information.
One study found that students who wrote down their worries before an exam performed better than those who didn't. Brain dumping can also lead to better sleep, as it prevent worries or things you need to do keeping you awake at night.
 
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Why you should choose pen and paper over screens to boost memory, learning and empathy. Read more.
 
Science-Backed Benefits of Brain Dumping
Studies show that brain dumping offers a surprising number of benefits, including:
  • Reduces Stress: By externalising your thoughts and tasks, you can free up mental space and rationalise worries, making you feel calmer.
  • Improves Sleep Quality: A cluttered mind makes for a restless night. Brain dumping helps quiet your mind and promotes relaxation.
  • Boosts Productivity: By getting all your thoughts out, you can prioritise tasks and tackle them with clarity.
  • Improves Memory and Learning: Writing down learnings or ideas can improve information recall and learning.
 

How to Brain Dump: 5 Actionable Tips

There’s no set rules on how to brain dump, but here’s a few tips on how to brain dump if it’s your first time:
  1. Leave your journal by your bedside Leave your paper or journal by your bedside or desk to remind you to do this before bed. You should only need 5-10 minutes.
  1. Categorise your dump By areas of life or thought type. We think it’s easiest to categorise by: to-dos, worries, random thoughts and gratitudes.
  1. Don’t edit, just dump Write your dump however you find it easiest, whether that’s in a list format or a colourful mind-map. It doesn’t need to look pretty.
  1. Include positive thoughts and gratitudes Identifying the positives of your day or things you’re grateful or excited for can improve your sleep and help you get up easier in the morning.
  1. Identify to-do’s and quick wins Add reminders or dates to your calendar, tasks to your to-do list and rationalise any worries.
 
Bonus Tip: Once you've completed your brain dump, take a deep breath and acknowledge that you've captured everything for later. This helps signal to your brain that it can finally relax.
 
Incorporating brain dumping into your daily routine can transform it from a simple activity to a powerful tool for mental clarity and wellbeing. By offloading your mental baggage, you're not just clearing your mind; you're setting the stage for a more focused, peaceful, and productive life.

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