A good night’s sleep has long been linked to higher brain power, such as increased memory retention, quicker, efficient decision-making and higher concentration. However, one study published in late April has shined an even brighter light on the importance of quality rest—especially for middle-aged adults 50 to 70-years-old. 

A study from Nature Communications involving 8,000 plus British participants over a 20-year time period showed “short sleep duration in midlife to be associated with the increased risk of incident dementia.” 

The study draws an “association between sleep duration and incident dementia, with lower risk in people sleeping seven hours per night, and greater risk among those with shorter sleep.” The risk of dementia, according to the study, is a whopping 30% higher for those who regularly sleep less than six hours per night. These findings have experts (and Slumber Yard members) urging public health announcers to promote a full night’s sleep as a medical necessity, particularly to those who are most at-risk.

Tips For When You Aren’t Getting Enough Sleep

If you’re struggling to get your suggested hours of sleep per night, don’t fret. There are steps you can take to improve your own sleep hygiene, or you can work with your medical provider to come up with a game plan that’ll help overcome your sleep struggles. 

Without further ado, here are a few of our sleep tips:

Make Your Bedroom A Sleepy Environment 

You’re not giving yourself a fighting chance to fall asleep if you aren’t comfortable in your bedroom. 

  • Declutter and organize so you aren’t kept awake by the stress of a messy room. 
  • Make it as dark as possible; light can interfere with your body’s natural melatonin production. 
  • Make sure your mattress is comfortable and accommodating enough for your sleeping position and body type. 

Stay Off Your Electronics

They emit blue light that prevents your body’s natural melatonin release. We recommend unplugging an hour to an hour and a half before bedtime. 

Start A Bedtime Routine 

Practice the same bedtime routine every night so your body will naturally begin to recognize when it’s time to prepare for bed. You can do anything from reading a book to taking a warm bath. 

20-Minute Rule

Always abide by the 20-minute rule. If you’re lying in bed for longer than 20 minutes, get up and practice something relaxing until you’re sleepy again. Our favorite is bedtime yoga stretches or brewing a cup of nighttime herbal tea.