5 Tips to get Better Sleep
Your brain is the miracle powerhouse of your body. This extremely complex organ controls all our bodily functions so, for obvious reasons, we should do everything in our power to keep our brains functioning healthfully.
Don’t be discouraged by this daunting task. One simple way to keep your brain healthy is to get enough sleep. In today’s busy world, too often we stay up late to finish work, finish housework, or to finally relax with our spouse. But then the vicious cycle starts again too early in the morning when we awaken to get ready for work, to feed the kids, or to get a jump-start on that work deadline that’s hovering over our head.
Scientific Proof Your Brain Needs More Sleep
Without sleep your brain can’t function properly. Your reflexes are slower, you’ll have difficulty focusing on tasks, and you’ll have difficulty learning new things. Sleep is also extremely important to your brain’s neurons and their ability to communicate with each other.
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke says, “Research shows that a chronic lack of sleep, or getting poor quality sleep, increases the risk of disorders including high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, depression, and obesity.” As we know from news reports, cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of adults and Type 2 diabetes along with obesity have reached epidemic proportions. Therefore, it makes common sense to do anything possible to avoid these catastrophic health issues.
5 Ways to Improve Your Sleep and Your Brain Function
You are in complete control of how much sleep you get each night and the quality of that sleep. Here are some tips for making the most of this important quiet time:
1. Unplug from electronics one hour before bed. The blue light that reflects off the mobile phone or television screen reduces the amount of melatonin produced in the brain, which is necessary for a good night’s sleep.
2. Meditate. Coupled with unplugging from technology, meditation is a peaceful way to calm down after a long, stressful day.
3. Set an earlier bedtime. Instead of falling asleep on the couch watching your favorite television show, set the DVR and go to bed earlier. Adults need a solid 7-9 hours of sleep each night for optimal performance the next day.
4. Increase your light exposure during daytime hours. Your circadian rhythm is the biological time clock that tells the body it’s daytime or nighttime. Increasing your light exposure not only increases your daytime energy but it prepares your body for a good night’s sleep. Get outside when the sun is out, sit by a window, or change your lightbulbs from Soft White to Daytime White to add brightness to your day.
5. Turn your bedroom into a peaceful oasis. To improve your sleep quality, eliminate clutter (aka laundry piles), add some room darkening shades or curtains, and charge your electronics elsewhere. Clutter causes stress in our brains, which is the last thing you want when it’s time for sleeping.
Improving your sleep habits will naturally improve your brain function. A healthy, well-rested brain also plays a role in making healthy eating choices and having the energy to exercise. Feeling more awake in the morning also sets a positive tone for the work day.