Do You Have Sleep Smarts?

Posted by Prospera Financial on April 21, 2021

We’ve all heard the saying that it’s one thing to have books smarts, but you also need street smarts. But what about sleep smarts?

Recently, my three-year-old niece visited and was having trouble going to sleep. She explained to me that she was scared to go to sleep because she was “afraid to make a bad dream.” So I began to explain that bad dreams are only you processing your feelings and there’s nothing to be scared of. Yes, I know, probably not the best explanation, which is why I quickly changed to telling her that there’s no reason to be scared to go to sleep, because that’s how we get smarter. And by her going to sleep, the next morning she would be sooo much smarter than at that moment. And this worked! She agreed that she wanted to be smarter and began to settle down for a brilliant slumber.

While there’s truth to what I told my niece, that really wasn’t the complete picture. Yes, you can, and generally do get smarter while you sleep, but a lot of those smarts in your slumber depend on how you feed your brain while you are awake. So, what are some active ways you can pump up your sleep smarts?

Well, UNC Health Talk has some great resources, but I’ve summed up one of my faves from them below:

1. Stay active with friends– Just meeting a friend on a patio for lunch gets your brain churning. There are many decisions for this one leisure event. What should I wear? What time should I leave? What should I choose on the menu? Then of course, there’s the conversation, which is one big circuit trainer for your brain. And remember, social media is not a substitute.

2. Choose quality over quantity– You don’t have to go to some big party or event or meet people out every day. Simple and meaningful interactions not only feed your brain, but they also feed your soul.

3. Challenge yourself– Listen to a podcast on the treadmill or break out a puzzle with the family. By combining these comprehension activities with exercise or others, you automatically enhance the value and effectiveness.

4. Dance– Dancing not only provides physical activity and social interaction, but it also strengthens your brain by having you think through the movements.

5. And don’t forget, pets and plants keep you smart too! These relationships can be just as beneficial. Just because your pet or plant can’t speak your language back to you, doesn’t mean you can’t communicate with them. This can be really beneficial when working through how to tackle a problem, because, well, pets and plants are the best listeners!

Book smarts, street smarts, sleep smarts- well, they are all important. And there are many ways to shape your brain. For more details, check out the UNC Health Talk Want to Stay Sharp? Maintain Your Social Brain.

Til next time,

L. Nicole Marsh
Account Manager – Advisor Marketing & Communications

Posted by Prospera Financial