Mayfield: How I learned to fall asleep by embracing the worry

Oct 6, 2023, 10:00 AM | Updated: 10:26 am


Travis Mayfield schedules his worries, which isn't a bad idea for us all to follow. (Photo from Flickr)

(Photo from Flickr)

I schedule my worries. Literally, there is an entry each day in my phone’s calendar that simply commands me to “worry.”

Before you scoff, doing this has helped solve the riddle of a good night’s sleep for me.

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Let’s rewind, I’m a worrier. I come from a long line of worriers, and unfortunately, it’s a 24/7 rut in my DNA.

Which means I wake up and worry at night. No matter how many special pillows, weighted blankets, and top-rated eye masks I bought, my sleep still wasn’t great.

Then I read a column in the Washington Post in which a sleep doctor made an offhand reference to scheduling a time each day to worry, and initially, I scoffed too.

Then a few nights later, I was awake and my lizard brain was crawling through the swamp of waking worry and I remembered what I read. I opened my eyes and whispered aloud, ‘stop worrying, you can do that tomorrow, it’s on the schedule.’

And it worked.

It worked the next night and the next.

At first, it was just something I told myself but I didn’t actually do. Then I realized while driving my kids to activities that my mind was worrying again and not focused on them, and out of habit, I said, “stop it, you can do that later, it’s on the schedule.”

And it worked again, and again, and again, over and over.

Better sleep, more focused waking time with those I love? Yes, please!

So I pulled out my phone and added it to my daily schedule. Now my lizard brain has a time to crawl through the swamp and a time to play, parent, and sleep.

Scoff at me all you want but next time you are awake at 2 a.m. and worrying, what are you gonna do?

Listen to Seattle’s Morning News with Dave Ross and Colleen O’Brien weekday mornings from 5 – 9 a.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Mayfield: How I learned to fall asleep by embracing the worry