One of the biggest boosts you can give your brain is a good night’s sleep. Adequate sleep is vital to proper brain function. Without it — our judgment, reaction time, memory and other brain functions may be impaired. According to Dr. Mark Mahowald, a professor of neurology at the University of Minnesota Medical School, one night of lost sleep has the same impact in simulated driving tests as illegally high blood-alcohol levels.
Turn in early to give yourself 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night (this is considered average, though some people may need as few as 5 or as many as 10 hours.) For many, falling asleep is a challenge. Anxiety, stress, pain, interpersonal conflicts and medication all impact one’s ability to get a good night’s sleep. Luckily, sleep is a learned behaviour and you can change it.
7 Suggestions to Improve Your Sleep
- Cut down on caffeine - Even if you don’t stop it completely, reducing makes a difference.
- Get more exercise - Walk daily, you will notice a difference immediately.
- Listen to a soothing CD before bed. Or try white noise to create a background.
- Take a warm bath before bed.
- Maintain a regular schedule. Going to bed and getting up around the same time help you develop a rhythm that can make falling asleep easier.
- Spruce up your sleeping area. A comfortable mattress, comfortable bedding and blackout curtains can make a world of difference.
- Use the bed for sleep, not channel or Internet surfing.