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7 Effective Tips for Better Sleep

7 Effective Tips for Better Sleep

A lack of sleep causes countless problems, both physical and mental. If you find yourself tossing and turning all night and fighting to stay awake the next day, something is preventing your body from restoring itself as it should. Take these easy steps to allow your body to rest completely.

1. Cut Off Your Caffeine

Everyone knows that caffeine keeps you awake. However, many people are unaware that the sleep-disrupting effects can last up to eight hours after the caffeine is consumed. Some even claim that caffeine lasts 12 hours, so try to cut yourself off from coffee, tea, or energy drinks before lunchtime to make sure that it isn’t caffeine keeping you awake at night.

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2. Exercise

Burning some calories during the day ensures that you’ll actually be tired when it’s time to go to bed, with the added benefit of giving you an energy boost through the rest of the day. Just be sure not to exercise too close to your bedtime; studies have shown that the increased hormonal activity can interfere with sleep patterns. Leave at least 4 hours between your workout and bedtime.

3. Keep a Strict Schedule

Staying up late and sleeping in can throw your sleep schedule off balance. Avoid deviating from your usual bedtime by more than an hour or so for your body clock may adjust itself, making it difficult to fall asleep at your usual time the next night. A little bit of sleeping in is fine, but don’t stay in bed for more than nine hours.

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4. Avoid Alcohol

The perception that a “nightcap” will help you sleep is not supported by evidence. While alcohol may make it easier to fall asleep, the quality of your sleep will undoubtedly suffer. In fact, going to bed with alcohol in your system can prevent you from reaching REM sleep, which is the phase during which the most restoration occurs. Skip the evening glass of beer and have a cup of milk or chamomile tea instead.

5. Wind Down Before Bed

Being wound up before bedtime could be the reason that you spend half the night staring at the ceiling. Try to get all of your important tasks done right after you get home so that you’re not rushing to get them done in the late evening. Make it your goal to spend at least one hour before bed enjoying a calm, relaxing activity like reading a book or knitting. Avoid the TV and other stimulants that may keep you awake.

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6. Don’t Hang Out In the Bedroom

Many people, especially teenagers, spend time in the bedroom watching TV, socializing, or talking on the phone. The bedroom should be reserved for sleeping, not leisure activities. It’s important to form a psychological connection between being in the bedroom and sleeping. This way, when you lay down in bed, your brain will know that it’s time to shut down and get some rest. Try to stay out of your bedroom unless you’re ready to call it a night.

7. Soak Up Some Sun

Exposure to sunlight stimulates the production of melatonin, a hormone that controls the day-night cycle of the human body. Catching some rays will, therefore, help keep your sleep cycle in rhythm. Whether you’re at home or at work, open the blinds to let the sun in. You can also take a short walk every day to get the sunlight you need.

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Once you are able to get a proper night’s rest, you’ll find yourself feeling healthier and happier. You can achieve this by putting these tips to use. A smart sleep strategy will free you of the fatigue and frustration that come with inadequate rest.

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Jesse Boskoff

Co-Founder and COO at Status Labs

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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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