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10 tips to fix your sleep routine after a major life event

10 tips to fix your sleep routine after a major life event

A major life event can take a toll on almost anything – relationships, diet, daily routine, and definitely sleep. The end of one can be even worse, as you’re stuck with bad habits that have become second nature in your life. After spending my last two years of college sleeping only three to five hours a night, I knew it was a system I wanted and desperately needed to fix.

Sleep plays a vital part in our lives. Lack of sleep can lead to depression, anxiety, unhealthy eating habits, dark circles, and poor health. In extreme cases, sleep deprivation can cause hallucinations and heart disease, according to WebMD. Here are 10 ways to fix your sleep routine and get your life back in control before it’s too late. 

1. Put your devices away

An article from Sleep.org explains how a blue light emitted from laptops, computers, phones, tablets, and even game consoles can reduce your body’s natural melatonin and trick your brain into thinking it needs to stay awake. Don’t stare at any digital devices at least 30 minutes before going to sleep.

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2. Take melatonin supplements or drink tea

A natural solution to induce sleepiness is melatonin or noncaffeinated tea. Anywhere from 2-12 mg of melatonin can be taken at bedtime, but consult a doctor to be safe. Melatonin is naturally produced in our body as a hormone that controls the sleep cycle. Chamomile tea, often nicknamed the “sleep tea,” is another natural solution to bring about drowsiness. A cup daily before bedtime can relax the mind and body.

3. Have “me-time”

Instead of spending your last 30 minutes before bedtime on a device, take the opportunity to pamper yourself and de-stress. Apply a face or eye mask and lay down with a cup of tea. Avoid strenuous activity or overthinking. No matter how the day went, be thankful and forget your worries to savor this moment. You deserve it! Taking the time to switch from work to relaxation mode can help prepare you for sleep and reduce stress.

4. Tire yourself out

If you have a ton of energy around bedtime, try tiring yourself out during the day. One of the best ways to exhaust excess energy is to perform any form of exercise (my favorite is swimming.) A 2013 poll from the National Sleep Foundation found a positive correlation between exercise and a good night’s sleep. Don’t overdo yourself; if you’re not used to exercising, start with a 10-minute walk and slowly work your way up. A little exercise can make a huge impact on your sleep quality.

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5. Resist the urge to nap

A nap can be extremely tempting during a long day and is probably the cause of most ruined sleep cycles (including mine.) I repeat. Do. Not. Nap. As heartless as it sounds, a nap afternoon can disrupt your sleeping pattern and cause you to go to bed at an unideal time. A 30-minute nap can quickly turn into a three-hour nap. Break the cycle and resist the urge by going outside or planning an event with friends to keep you occupied and your mind off of how tired you are.

6. Track your sleep cycle with an app

Ever sleep for a long time and wake up more tired than before you went to bed? This is the result of waking up without completing a full cycle of sleep. Install a sleeping app to calculate what time you should wake up to ensure you don’t disrupt your sleep cycle. While these apps are not 100 percent accurate, they do a great job of helping you set an alarm depending on what time you go to sleep.

7. Change your room décor

A change in environment can go hand-in-hand with the end of a major life event. Buying a new comforter or rearranging your room can make your bedroom appear new. It’s a representation of your new life in the form of a physical change. This can trick your mind into associating old sleep habits with your past room and make it easier to implement new changes in your routine.

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8. Opt for a white or pink noise machine

Sometimes, a little noise is all you need. A white noise machine, like a fan, can block out any outdoor noise and make it easier to sleep. A pink noise, which is noise similar to a steady heartbeat, however, has been scientifically proven to help participants sleep up to 25 percent better than white noise, according to an article from AlenCorp. In the end, it’s up to personal preference. Regardless, buying a white or pink noise machine can help block out any sounds which can be disrupting your sleep.

9. Fix your diet

Your diet shows in your habits. Life events that cause stress usually create a bad diet, as well. A diet of processed, high-calorie junk food is guaranteed to make you feel lethargic and more prone to naps in the day and irregular sleep patterns. Eating cleaner, healthier options and replacing sodas and juices with water will help guarantee a good rest and will make your more active during the day.

10. Seek medical attention

If all else fails, consult a doctor. Sleep is too important to be ignored. A doctor can diagnose you if you have a medical condition and prescribe better medication or tips suited to your concerns. Don’t wait until your problems escalate. Seek medical attention if your sleepless nights persist for more than 2 weeks.

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Once you’ve regained control over your sleep, try your best not to let it go astray again. Consistency is key in keeping a proper sleep pattern going and guaranteeing a healthier life.

Featured photo credit: Benjamin Combs via hd.unsplash.com

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Fatima Puri

Journalist

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Last Updated on November 11, 2019

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

Have you ever noticed that some people are able to effortlessly remember even the most mundane details and quickly comprehend new things? Well, you can too!

To unlock the full potential of your brain, you need to keep it active and acute. Wasting time on your couch watching mindless television shows or scrolling through facebook is not going to help.

Besides getting out flashcards, what can you do to help remember things better and learn new things more quickly? Check out these 10 effective ways on how to improve memory:

1. Exercise and Get Your Body Moving

Exercising doesn’t just exercise the body, it also helps to exercise your brain. Obesity and the myriad of diseases that eventually set in as a result of being overweight can cause serious harm to the brain.

Furthermore, without regular exercise, plaque starts to build up in your arteries, and your blood vessels begin to lose the ability to effectively pump blood. Plaque buildup leads to heart attacks and it also reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients that your blood carries to your brain. When the nutrients don’t make it there, the brain’s ability to function is compromised.

To prevent this from happening, make sure you get moving every day. Even if it’s just a brisk walk, it’ll help you maintain and increase your mental acuity. Brisk walking, swimming and dancing are all excellent activities. Take a look at these 5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise.

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2. Eliminate Stressors and Seek Help If You’re Depressed

Anything that causes you major stress, like anger or anxiety, will in time begin to eat away the parts of your brain that are responsible for memory. Amongst the most brain-damaging stressors is depression, which is actually often misdiagnosed a a memory problem since one of its primary symptoms is the inability to concentrate.

If you can’t concentrate, then you might feel like you are constantly forgetting things. Depression increases the levels of cortisol in your bloodstream which elevates the cortisol levels in the brain. Doctors have found that increased cortisol diminishes certain areas of the brain, especially the hippocampus which is where short-term memories are stored.

Prolonged depression can thus destroy your brain’s ability to remember anything new. Seek professional help to combat your depression – your brain will thank you.

3. Get a Good Night’s Sleep and Take Naps

Getting a consistent 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night will increase your memory. During sleep, the brain firms up memories of recently acquired information.

Getting enough sleep will help you get through the full spectrum of nocturnal cycles that are essential to optimal brain and body functioning during the waking hours. Taking a nap throughout the day, especially after learning something new, can also help you to retain those memories as well as recharge your brain and keep it sharper longer.

4. Feed Your Brain

Fifty to sixty percent of the brain’s overall weight is pure fat, which is used to insulate its billions of nerve cells. The better insulated a cell is, the faster it can send messages and the quicker you will be thinking.

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This is precisely why parents are advised to feed their young children whole milk and to restrict dieting – their brains’ need fat to grow and work properly. Skimping on fats can be devastating even to the adult brain.

Thus, eating foods that contain a healthy mix of fats is vital for long-term memory. Some excellent food choices include fish (especially anchovies, mackerel and wild salmon) and dark leafy green vegetables. Here’re more brain food choices: 12 Foods that Can Improve Your Brain Power

Deep-fried foods obviously contain fat but their lack of nutritional value is not going to help your brain or your body, so think healthy foods and fats.

5. Eat Breakfast and Make Sure It Includes an Egg

According to Larry McCleary, M.D., author of  The Brain Trust Program, an egg is the ideal breakfast. Eggs contain B vitamins which help nerve cells to burn glucose, antioxidants that protect neurons against damage; and omega-3 fatty acids that keep nerve cells firing at optimal speed.

Other foods to add to your breakfast include fruits, veggies and lean proteins. Avoid trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. Trans fats diminish the brain cells’ ability to communicate with each other and HFCS can actually shrink the brain by damaging cells.

Having a healthy breakfast in the morning has been shown to improve performance throughout the day. If you’re too busy to have a healthy breakfast, this maybe just right for you: 33 Quick And Healthy Breakfasts For Busy Mornings

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6. Write it Down

If there’s something you want to remember, writing it down can help.

It may sound like a no-brainer, but do you really know why? Writing it down creates oxygenated blood flow to areas of your brain that a responsible for your memories and literally exercises those parts of it. Here’s How Writing Things Down Can Change Your Life.

You can start a journal, write yourself emails or even start keeping a blog – all of these activities will help to improve your capacity to remember and memorize information.

7. Listen to Music

Research shows that certain types of music are very helpful in recalling memories. Information that is learned while listening to a particular song or collection can often be recalled by thinking of the song or “playing” it mentally. Songs and music can serve as cues for pulling up particular memories.

8. Visual Concepts

In order to remember things, many people need to visualize the information they are studying.

Pay attention to photographers, charts and other graphics that might appear in your textbook; or if you’re not studying a book, try to pull up a mental image of what it is you are trying to remember. It might also help to draw your own charts or figures, or utilize colors and highlighters to group related ideas in your notes.

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Here, you can learn How to Become a Person Who Can Visualize Results.

9. Teach Someone Else

Reading material out loud has been shown to significantly improve memory of the material. Expanding further upon this idea is the fact that psychologists and educators have found that by having students teach new concepts to others, it helps to enhance understanding and recall.

Teach new concepts and information to a friend or study partner, and you’ll find you remember the information a lot better.

10. Do Crossword Puzzles, Read or Play Cards

Studies have shown that doing crossword puzzles, read or play cards on a daily basis not only keep your brain active but also help to delay memory loss, especially in those who develop dementia.

So pick up the daily newspaper and work on that crossword puzzle, read a book or enjoy a game of solitaire.

Pick one to two of these tips first and start applying them to your everyday life. Very soon you’ll find yourself having better memories and a clearer head!

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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