To-do List Dreams

I often wake in the middle of the night from a panicked dream about a task I’ve either forgotten or can’t get done. Sometimes it’s a small task like not moving the laundry to the dryer. Sometimes is bigger like forgetting the mortgage payment. In the past, one way I’ve reduced this or at least minimized the intensity is by emailing my next day to-do list to myself before bed.

I’ve noticed that since doing this work (I am working on weight loss and over drinking,) I can go several days without a dream. Because of this, I’ve stopped emailing myself before bed. But then, wham, I’ll have one that’s intense–like sit up in bed with a gasp.

First question: these dreams are my toddler brain roaming around in my head in the middle of the night, correct?
Second question (I’ll try to answer it myself): I’m thinking I should lay in bed and just observe when it happens, like, “cool trick, brain. But I’m ok. Everything is under control.” I also plan to switch that nightly email to a thought download before bed. Right track?