What you do before going to bed or tucking in for a nap matters, as it can make all the difference in how sharp and quickly your brain processes things. The following are a number of simple tweaks that can sharpen your mind.
Avoid Late-night Snacking
In an animal study, researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles discovered that eating at “off” hours when you should be sleeping can cause a hiccup in the activity of a protein that affects both the circadian clock and the hippocampus, the area of the brain responsible for memory. Satisfy your cravings earlier and be smarter.
Study before sleeping
Want to make sure you remember what you’ve just learned? Review it right before bed, suggests a 2012 study in PLOS ONE.
People who memorized word pairs at 9 p.m. and then went to sleep for the night were able to remember more 12 hours later compared to those who studied at 9 a.m. Turns out sleep helps to “stabilize newly learned declarative memories,” the researchers note.
Increase The Pink Noise
You’ve probably heard that white noise such as the sound of a ceiling fan is one small change you can make to sleep more.
According to a new study from Northwestern University and published in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, pink noise, in which lower frequency sounds are more powerful, like the rush of a waterfall or pounding rain, may boost your brain.
The researchers found that when older adults listened to pink noise, their deep, slow wave sleep improved, and then they scored three times higher on a memory test the next day compared to after receiving a sham treatment. You can download a pink noise app to improve your sleep.
Take a whiff
You already know that the smell of an apple pie coming out of the oven can get you racing for the kitchen, but do you know it can also help to send strengthen your brainpower at night.
In one study, people played a memory game while a rose scent wafted in the room. After going to sleep, the researchers sent the rose odour back into the room for one group.
Those who were exposed to this scent during the night, during slow wave sleep, had a better recall of the day’s task compared to control groups.
The researchers say that the olfactory system activates prior memories in the hippocampus, making it easier to store new information. All you need is a diffuser and your favourite scent and you’re ready to make memories.
Take A Glass of Wine
If you like to indulge in a glass of re wine daily, there are certain benefits to your health. In a 2017 University of Exeter study, participants took part in a word-learning activity, then drank alcohol or abstained.
The next morning when they repeated the cognitive task, those who were in the drinking group performed better than those who didn’t.
As a matter of fact, the more they drank, the better their memory; though, it’s still recommended that women consume one drink per day, and men two drinks per day at most. Alcohol may put brain cells into a state that allows them to consolidate memories, and sleep may enhance that effect.