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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

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12 Best Brain Foods that Improve Memory

12 Best Brain Foods that Improve Memory

Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory:

1. Nuts

The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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2. Blueberries

Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

3. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

4. Broccoli

While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

6. Soy

Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

7. Dark chocolate

When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate:

15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

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B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

9. Foods Rich in Zinc

Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

10. Gingko biloba

This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

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It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

11. Green and black tea

Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

Find out more about green tea here:

11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

12. Sage and Rosemary

Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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