Sleep Hack: Sleep & Longevity

The shorter your sleep, the shorter your life,” as Walker starkly puts it. As far as how to improve your sleep and, with luck, elongate your life, he has two main pieces of advice: “Go to bed at the same time, wake up at the same time, no matter whether it’s the weekday or the weekend,” and “aim for a bedroom temperature of around 65 degrees, or about 18 degrees Celsius,” slightly cooler than may feel normal.

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Sleep Hack: Read This & Take a Power Nap

Whether you’re heading to class or just trying to learn a new skill, making sure you’re well-rested beforehand can make a big difference, research from Berkeley suggests. A study done at the school found that sleeping for an hour dramatically boosts and restores brain power, in turn making it easier to learn and retain new information. Sleep clears out our short-term memory, making room for new information and priming us to be better, more efficient learners.

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Sleep Hack: Get the ZZZZ’s to Remember

Not only, for example, do “you need sleep after learning to essentially hit the save button on those new memories so that you don’t forget,” you also “need sleep before learning to actually prepare your brain, almost like a dry sponge ready to initially soak up new information.”

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Sleep Hack: Munch on Pistachios

Pistachios: One ounce of pistachios contain about 25 percent of your daily value of vitamin B6, a vitamin necessary for the production of serotonin and melatonin, hormones that help us get better sleep. Get your fill of B6 by consuming pistachios, along with a variety of foods containing vitamin B6 such as animal proteins like fish, chicken, turkey, pork, eggs and milk, along with whole grains and soy products such as edamame or tofu.

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Sleep Hack: Spinach Might Help You Sleep

Spinach: Spinach is a rich source of magnesium. In addition to being a muscle relaxer, research has also found that too little magnesium in your diet can make it hard to stay asleep. Fill up on spinach and other foods rich in magnesium like avocado, quinoa, bananas, nuts, seeds, beans and lentils. 

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Sleep Hack: Win the Mind Game

Stay out of your head. Hard as it may be, try not to stress over your inability to fall back to sleep, because that stress only encourages your body to stay awake. To stay out of your head, focus on the feelings in your body or practice breathing exercises. Take a breath in, then breathe out slowly while saying or thinking the word, “Ahhh.” Take another breath and repeat.

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Sleep Hack: Hide the Coffee Maker after 3 p.m.

Afternoon caffeine: Did you know that it takes six hours for your body to process and eliminate just half of the caffeine you consume in one sitting? If you’re drinking a cup of joe around 3 p.m. to make it through the afternoon slump, it could be keeping you awake at night. Besides contributing to insomnia, caffeine is a stimulant that can also increase feelings of nervousness, according to the National Sleep Foundation.

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