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10 Things You Haven’t Tried To Sleep Better

10 Things You Haven’t Tried To Sleep Better

Most of us need to sleep better. Chronic lack of sleep can lead to anxiety, depression, cardiovascular disease and even cancer. The World Health Organization has even listed night work as a carcinogen.

Most people need 7–9 hours of sleep each night. When you get enough sleep, your body is able to physically and mentally recover from your day, so that you are able to face tomorrow with vigor and zest.

It’s up to you to do everything in your power to ensure you improve your sleep. Here are my top ten tips for better sleep.

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1. Have a regular sleep and wake cycle.

If you go to bed and get up at the same time every day, you will train your body to have a regular sleep and wake cycle. If you are going to bed at different times and getting up early during the week while sleeping in at the weekend, your body doesn’t know what to do. With a regular sleep/wake cycle, your body will adapt and you will have more energy in the mornings.

2. Exercise regularly.

Regular exercise burns off all your excess energy, meaning you will feel more rested in the evening. Experiment with your exercise times. Some people feel energized after exercise and can’t sleep straight away and some people are OK with exercise before bed. Try exercising in the morning and evening and see what works best for you.

3. Include regular stretching.

If your muscles and joints are sore from either lots of exercise, or not enough exercise, you may feel uncomfortable in bed. Add some stretching or even some light yoga in the evenings before bed time to help loosen your muscles and unwind from the day.

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4. Focus on your breathing.

If you are the type to toss and turn for a long time, try this simple exercise: lie on your back with your arms by your sides. Take a long full breath in and exhale slowly. Feel the air enter and leave your lungs. Repeat 10 times. By the time you get to 5 or 6 you should be feeling very relaxed, and maybe you will even have fallen asleep by then.

5. Accept your worries.

If your worries are keeping you awake at night, remember that it is OK and perfectly normal to have worries and concerns. Accept that this is normal, and it is OK to forget about them while you go to sleep.

6. Write tomorrow’s to-do list tonight.

If you have a long list of worries or things you need to do, don’t wait until tomorrow to take action. Before you go to bed, write a list of your most important tasks to do tomorrow. Once you have gotten these thoughts on paper, and you are mentally prepared for tomorrow, your mind will know it can rest now and you can get some sleep. Keep a pen and paper by your bed if you think of things in the middle of the night.

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7. Reduce caffeine intake.

We all know that we should reduce our caffeine intake in the afternoon so that it doesn’t keep us awake. Unfortunately some of us need to reduce it further or eliminate it altogether. Some people metabolize caffeine quickly. If you are one of these lucky people, then simply stop drinking caffeine after 3pm and it shouldn’t affect your sleep. Other people metabolize caffeine slowly. If you suspect you might be one of those people, try eliminating caffeine completely. Or if you can’t do that, don’t drink it after 10am.

8. Dim your lights.

Bright lights tell our brain that it is day time and we should be awake. When it gets dark outside, then you should also make it darker in your house. Have less lights on in the house, or dim them if you can. This will tell your brain that it is night time and it’s time to wind down and go to sleep soon.

9. Switch off electronic media.

The blue light that emits from televisions, computer screens, tablets and phone screens also tells our brain to stay awake. An hour or two before bed, it’s time to switch off your electronics. Spend this time with your family or read a good book. If you must use your electronics, purchase a blue light screen filter for your gadgets.

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10. Keep your bedroom sacred.

Your bedroom is for two things only: sleep and sex. If you use your laptop in bed, or your phone, or if you watch television in bed, then you are signalling to your brain that bed time is not necessarily sleep time. Train your brain to accept that bed time is for sleep and sex only. This is training your brain to relax in bed, so you will sleep better.

Now you are armed with some of the best tips for getting better sleep. Try one at a time, or try them all at once. Better sleep = Better health.

Featured photo credit: Supermoon 2013 Over NYC / Bob Jagendorf via flickr.com

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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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