|Get a good night’s sleep before, say, a family reunion and your second cousins’ names will be flowing from your tongue like water from a fountain. Sound slumber, known to protect long-term memory, also makes memories easier to access. On the flip side, poor sleep makes it harder to learn, to make decisions, and even to distinguish between friendly and unfriendly faces. Stay sharp by treating sleep like the health essential it is. Three steps to get started:
Say hellooo to sunshine. Get out in the morning sun to normalize your circadian rhythm, which makes you alert during the day and sleepy at night (what a concept!).
Exercise, but not too late. Evening exercise can rev you up just when you want to feel sleepy. But physical activity during the day helps you sleep longer and more deeply.
Dim your devices at night. Blue wavelength light from electronic devices suppresses melatonin, your brain’s natural sleep-beckoning hormone. Stick with good old-fashioned paper books, or — even better — turn off the lights and practice meditation.