Latest News » Sleep’s aging effects on the brain

Exercising outdoors can help improve sleep habits.

Whether you're pulling all-nighters in college or staying up at all hours to tend to your newborn, millions of people know all too well the experience of a night with little to no sleep. Even worse, those millions also know what the next morning feels like — in a word, exhaustion. Those of us who have trouble sleeping well throughout the night know what it's like to feel slow and sluggish the next day. The impact that a lack of sleep has on brain health is very palpable, and one that a study published in last month's issue of The Journal of the American Geriatrics Society encapsulated in its conclusion that poor sleep habits during middle-age can lead to weakened memory support in our golden years.

We actually tackled this story back in May when the study came out, sharing with you how damaging sleep deprivation can be for our minds in the future. But just knowing that fact won't do much on its own if you simply can't get yourself to fall asleep earlier — after all, how many of us are actually choosing to sleep five hours or less each night?

If you know that you regularly don't get enough sleep and are simply tired of feeling tired the next morning, try some of these suggestions recommended by the healthy living website Care2:

  • Cut out alcohol: Sure, having a few too many may feel like it's helping you fall asleep, but alcohol can introduce some significant disruptions into your regular sleep patterns, making it that much harder for your brain to take advantage of slow-wave sleep and replenish itself from the day.
  • Daily routine: Pick a set time for going to sleep every night and waking up every morning, and stick to it. As Care2 notes, a regular sleeping schedule helps to keep the body's circadian rhythm in sync, ensuring optimal amounts of rest for the brain and body. Make sure that your dinners are planned out two hours in advance of your bedtime.
  • Stay active: It's not an immediate cure-all, but studies have shown that, after a few weeks, regular exercise can help those with sleep disorders fall asleep easier. Try to do as many of these workouts as possible outside, as sunlight exposure can help control the body's production of melatonin, the hormone responsible for regulating sleep-wake cycles.

Following these rules of thumb can create a more consistent and restful sleep schedule, enabling you to finally get those eight hours each night and start your morning off on the right foot.

Check back with our blog for future stories about proper sleep habits. In the meantime, you can learn about our selection of sleep support supplements by clicking here.