Every day, brains are always involved in different activities. They may be one of the only parts of the body that never rests! Whether it is trying to coordinate the body while exercising or processing information while watching television, it sure has its work cut out. With so much going on every day which is out of our control, it can sometimes be hard to relax and fall into a comfortable sleep. Here are some tips for better sleep and brain care.
Be Consistent with Your Schedule
How to do it:
Regular daily schedules don’t always reflect the specific times that we do activities, rather the fact that we get the activity done at all. For example, if a daily schedule consists of eating, working, eating, relaxing, sleeping, then there are endless options as to what time of day each of those activities can be done. One day, you may eat dinner at five. The next day, you may find that you would like dinner during your relaxation period, which isn’t until 8.
This affects how your brain and mind approach things. A lack of organization keeps your mind buzzing and alert, sometimes more than it needs to be. This results in a racing mind when it’s time for bed, which makes it more difficult to fall asleep.
Plan on creating a daily schedule that has activities slotted into specific times. Sticking to a daily schedule and routine will allow your brain to flex its muscles when it needs them most, and then take it easy when critical thinking is no longer required. That way, when bedtime comes around, your brain will be ready to relax and rest.
How it helps:
An adult’s sleep cycle usually consists of four different stages. The first stage (N1) is where the body dozes off but isn’t fully relaxed. The second stage (N2) is where muscles have begun to relax, and breathing has slowed. Stage 3 (N3) is deep sleep, and it is harder to wake someone up from this. Stage 4 is REM Sleep and is where dreams usually occur.
REM sleep isn’t usually achieved until a person has been asleep for at least 90 minutes. These stages all contribute to brain rest and health. They help retain what was learned throughout the day and prepare the mind for the next day of learning. If sleep patterns are interrupted through a lack of organization and schedule, then these stages of sleep will be more difficult to achieve. Sticking to a good sleep schedule allows the brain to relax when it needs to. It also helps it take advantage of its moments of rest.
Create A Relaxing Environment
How to do it:
A place where you hang out all of the time shouldn’t be the place you want to fall asleep. Keep physical and intense activities out of the space that you are planning to rest in. Many people often try and watch television or scroll through their phones in hopes that this will tire them out and help them fall asleep. In reality, these activities keep the mind going. Social media sites aren’t blind to this fact either.
Most social sites brand themselves with blue because blue attracts males and females, promotes trust, and has a mind-numbing effect when scrolling through it. When your scroll on before bedtime, it’s not helping you fall asleep, it’s keeping you awake. Why do you think that you can mindlessly scroll for another 25 minutes on social media but can’t muster the strength to get up and brush your teeth for 3 minutes?
When preparing for bed, eliminate obnoxious sounds, turn off the television, put phones out of arm’s reach, find a comfortable temperature, minimize light disruptions, and make sure the room smells pleasant. This will help your mind focus on sleep and only sleep. Sleep and brain care go hand in hand, but your brain often needs your help to feel fully relaxed.
How it helps:
Ever notice how children seem cranky when they are tired or don’t get enough sleep? As adults, we might not throw tantrums when we are tired, but our bodies still send us the message that we didn’t rest well. Having rested well in an environment without distractions puts us in a better mood, increases our productivity for the next day, enhances reflexes, improves memory, and increases exercise performance, all in one day!
Resting and relaxing can do wonders for our brains and minds. These tips for better sleep and brain care not only help our brains but our bodies as well. A body and mind that are well rested can get a lot done in the day. If you have any questions or concerns or need help, please reach out to us. We listen carefully to your needs and will help you every step of the way. With Foothills Neurology, your story matters.