Last updated on September 5th, 2023 at 02:02 pm
There are a million apps and coaches at our fingertips these days, promising to make us smarter, faster, and sharper. And while they may be worth a go, there is another way to supercharge your brain. The reasons why we sleep are complex, from preserving energy to staying out of trouble, though one of the most important functions of a good night’s sleep is to rest our brains.
How does sleep affect your brain?
Studies have revealed that sleep has a significant impact on the brain, influencing cognitive functions such as memory consolidation, learning, and decision-making. During sleep, the brain processes and consolidates new information, allowing for more efficient storage and retrieval of memories. Additionally, sleep is essential for clearing toxins from the brain, particularly a protein called amyloid, of which a build-up can later lead to memory loss and neurological disorders. Chronic sleep deprivation has been linked to a range of cognitive impairments, including decreased attention span, slower reaction times, and reduced creativity. Therefore, getting enough sleep is crucial for maintaining optimal brain function and overall health.
Anyone who has gone a night or two with broken sleep knows how it can make them feel slow, irritable and less able to function than usual. Nothing is worse than facing a morning meeting or a long to-do list when sleep-deprived. And there’s a whole lot of science that suggests why. Extreme fatigue can slow behavioural performance due to a build-up of circadian rhythms. This explains why our brains are proven to perform better after a good night’s sleep, and without enough, we start to deteriorate in sharpness and cognitive ability.
Regular restless nights deprive your brain of the deep sleep it needs to recover, repair and restore from all the thoughts, work and stimulation that it endures day to day. Getting enough sleep allows the parts of your brain responsible for memory and absorbing new information to rest, reset and regenerate.
The amount of sleep we need as individuals is varied and changes as we age, though research suggests getting under seven hours over a long period of time can increase inflammation. This can lead to a higher chance of age-related diseases, reducing our ability and interest in learning. It seems when it comes to protecting brain health, consistency is key.
The better we sleep, the better our brain performs. So how do we go about making sure we get enough? Let’s take a look.
If you are feeling like lack of sleep is affecting your brain health, the good news is there are simple tips that can help you protect it. Here are some simple changes to make to improve your sleep and IQ without hitting the library!
What are some simple changes to your sleeping routine to maintain brain health?
While we all try our best to stick to the guidelines, getting seven-eight hours a night can be a challenge. Though making it a priority could be the smartest thing you do! Getting enough sleep will increase your productivity, mood and IQ so it’s worth doing your homework and putting these clever tips to use.
1. Keep Bedtime Consistent
Going to bed at the same time every night and getting up at the same time every morning will help your brain have enough downtime to rest and repair. Just like you pop your phones and laptops on to charge overnight, letting your brain power up for the right amount of time will keep it lasting longer and performing better the next day.
2. Cool snoozing
One of the major causes of disrupted sleep, especially in older age, is overheating. Ensuring your room is at the recommended 18 degrees, and bedding is thermo-regulating will help keep you cool, comfy & happily snoozing. Bamboo bedding and duvets make a great choice for hot sleepers; the fabric is ultra-soft & breathable and the best bit. You won’t need to change it every season!
3. Invest in downtime
It’s so easy to constantly keep your foot on the pedal, chasing the next deadline, attending every party and catching up with every Netflix show. Though sometimes, the best investment you can make for your time is the art of relaxation. A warm bath, a good book and avoiding screen time are great ways to unwind and prepare your brain for a good night’s rest.
The lightbulb moment
If you want to protect your brain’s health and longevity, it looks like it’s time to take it easy. Making sure you get enough deep, quality rest is vital for your concentration, focus and long-term memory. Get yourself set up for better sleep with these simple changes, and you will be well on your way to waking up a smarty pants!