Find activities you enjoy—such as keeping up with the news, pleasure reading, puzzles, crosswords, or logic games—and stick with them. Another important way to engage your mind is to socialize. By spending time with other people, you can reduce your risk of cognitive decline. In order to ensure regular engagement with others, make sure to invest time in hobbies you enjoy or set up regular activities like card games or outings to interesting places.
Getting a proper amount of sleep can help you age in a healthy way as well. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults between the ages of 18 and 64 sleep between 7 to 9 hours each night, and that adults ages 65 and older sleep 7 to 8 hours nightly. Research has shown that older adults who do not get quality sleep have problems forming new memories and perform poorer on cognitive tests.
Don’t get caught sleepless between the sheets. If you are having trouble getting the recommended nightly rest, make sure to evaluate your sleep hygiene. The following healthy habits can help you get more, and higher quality, sleep:
- Try to go to sleep at the same time every night, and wake up at the same time every morning.
- Create a pro-sleep bedtime environment, which means a dark, calm, soothing atmosphere, free from distractions.
- Avoid the use of screens before bedtime, ideally putting the screen away one hour before you want to fall sleep.
- Get exercise during the day but avoid exercising at night if you feel too activated when going to bed.
- Expose yourself to sunlight during the day to increase your brain’s production of melatonin, a chemical involved in helping you fall asleep.
- Avoid eating big meals before bedtime, ideally leaving three hours between the time you finish eating and the time you try to fall asleep.
- Examine your caffeine intake; if you are drinking coffee or tea in the afternoon, reduce or eliminate this practice to see if it improves your shut-eye.