A modern industry has been formed with the intention of improving brain function. From superfood powders to expensive nootropics, a seemingly infinite array of products has been introduced with the aim of making us smarter.
Yet, many of these products can cause an imbalance in the body. This is because they usually focus on one specific component of brain health rather than the entire brain.
What many companies don’t realize is that the best way to improve brain function is also the most natural, enjoyable way of all. In particular, getting sufficient high-quality sleep is the best way to improve your various brain functions.
Learn how Sleep Will Improve Brain Function – and Your Life
In this article, we discuss 5 ways that people can achieve this, focusing on easy lifestyle modifications rather than complicated medications and supplements.
Learning healthy habits is the easiest and healthiest way to get optimal rest.
Obey Your Circadian Rhythm
Our circadian rhythms are regulated by the hormone melatonin, which causes us to feel tired in response to darkness and energized in response to sunlight. Yet, the richness of modern life can be seductive, and even after a day’s work, many of us enjoy filling our evenings with social interaction and various activities rather than obey your natural rhythms.
Not only is this unnatural on a biological level, but in order to properly sustain ourselves, we usually eat heavy foods late at night.
Melatonin often suppresses the hormone leptin at night, which regulates our hunger signals. This causes an imbalance which can lead to sleeping difficulties, as our body must digest food while it sleeps.
Sleeping, especially REM-sleep and slow-wave sleep, is considered crucial for memory consolidation and learning, which are important elements of brain function. Therefore, by not obeying our circadian rhythm, our sleep is less restorative, and we recover at a slower pace.
Set Intentions for Your Rest
Just because our evenings should feature significant downtime does not mean that we cannot engage in complex thinking. Instead, it means we should focus on a particular element of complex thinking, namely question formation.
Many people are so obsessed with answers and instant solutions that their yearnings become too abstract. They forget to set practical intentions. They forget to translate their desires into simple words that can become a mantra.
This can easily be done before bed by reciting concrete goals to yourself. Try focusing on only a handful, as this will allow your mind to really specialize during sleep.
Sleep is definitely a restorative process, but it is also a creative one that generates as much as it cleanses. Without dreaming, many researchers claim that our imagination would suffer, and our ability to both create and solve new problems would be compromised. By actively setting intentions before bedtime, we can provide our imagination with specialized material, which will ultimately lead to improved brain function.
Sleep in Nature if Possible
Our housing might protect us from natural disasters, but it also disconnects us from the power of the natural environment.
Our brain evolved primarily from being immersed in nature. Returning it to that primitive realm can lead to improved brain function on a number of levels.
Our dreams are heavily influenced by the sounds around us. As long as these sounds are not overly distracting, they can subtly influence the direction of our dreams and thus the depth of problem-solving we engage in.
And of course, the deeper we travel in the unconscious, the more our brain is able to grow and learn.
Avoid Electronics Once the Sun Goes Down
It is well known that the blue light from electronics can suppress melatonin production, which promotes a healthy cycling through all sleep stages.
Thus, when we use electronics close to bed, or are merely surrounded by their emissions, we hover in the transitional phases of sleep rather than experiencing REM-sleep or slow-wave sleep.
In nature, this is not as problematic, as the energies from the surrounding environment dovetail perfectly with our circadian rhythms.
There is nothing more sedating at night, for example, than a light wind shaking the branches of a tree or the sound of crickets in the summertime. These stimuli set the stage for a deep, powerful slumber that will improve brain function.
Our Final Thoughts on How to Improve Brain Function
If you are wondering how to improve memory and boost your cognitive function, then we think you should focus more holistically on healthy sleep and health more generally rather than trying to supplement with medication or superfoods.
Healthy sleep can be achieved by following our circadian rhythms, setting conscious intentions, and sleeping in natural settings.
As long as we do these things, we will get the restorative sleep that we crave and improved cognitive function will inevitably follow.
Feature image via Softpedia News