Sleep regulates the release of hormones, slows the aging process, boosts the immune system, improves brain functioning, and reduces cortisol levels. Read article
There is almost as much neural activity going on in the brain when we sleep as when we are awake. While you sleep the brain makes decisions, creates and consolidates memories, makes creative connections, clears out toxins, and learns and remembers how to perform physical tasks. Read article
Sleep quantity and quality have a major role in what and how well we process and remember information. When considering lifestyle changes for brain health, one of the most important aspects to consider is sleep. Read article
It is believed that sleep gives neurons a chance to repair themselves and that without sleep neurons may begin to malfunction. Sleep also may give the brain a chance to exercise important neuronal connections that might otherwise deteriorate from lack of activity. Sleep may also help people attain optimal emotional and social functioning while they are awake. Sleep may also aide in learning and encoding memory. Sleep may also help the body conserve energy and resources the body needs to help the immune system when one is getting sick. Read article
Getting the right amount of quality sleep is important for your ability to learn and process memories. Sleep also helps the body replenish energy, repair muscle tissue, and triggers the release of hormones that affect growth and appetite. The amount of sleep you need depends on age. If one consistently does not get enough quality sleep, you are at higher risk for conditions like heart disease, diabetes, obesity, headaches, and depression. Getting too much sleep is also not good for one’s health. The article listed tips for a good night’s sleep. “Deep relaxation, like meditation, when practiced regularly not only relieves stress and anxiety, but also is shown to improve mood. Deep relaxation has many other potential benefits as well—it can decrease blood pressure, relieve pain, and improve your immune and cardiovascular systems.” Laughing also reduces pain, may help your heart and lungs, reduces anxiety, and promotes muscle relaxation. Long-term stress may result in headaches, chest pain, anxiety, digestive issues, depression, lack of ability to focus, and changes in sexual desire. “Getting the appropriate amount of exercise benefits nearly all aspects of a person’s health. Not only does exercise help control weight, it also improves mental health, mood, chances of living longer, and the strength of your bones and muscles. Adults ages 18 and over (including older adults) need at least 2½ hours of moderate aerobic activity each week and muscle strengthening exercises twice a week. Children and adolescents need an hour of physical activity every day, with vigorous activity at least 3 days each week. They also need muscle and bone strengthening exercises at least 3 days of the week.” Read article
Rest is important at any age. According to the article, it rejuvenates the mind and body, regulates mood, and is linked to learning and memory function. Thus, not getting enough sleep negatively impacts mood, memory, stress level, and immune system. Downtime is important, especially when one is stressed. The article also stresses following a routine, such as waking up ten minutes early and taking the time to stretch. Resting your mind is equally as important as resting your body. If something is bothering you, the article suggests writing it down and then putting it aside for a few days. Sometimes giving the mind a break can lead to clarity. The article also suggests engaging in an activity that requires one’s full attention (both mentally and physically) such as an intramural sport, in order to give your mind a mental break. Lastly, the article recommends engaging in five minute relaxation techniques. Read article
Sleeping less than seven to eight hours can be linked to cognitive decline, memory loss, and possibly Alzheimer’s. During sleep the brain clears out toxins, repairs neurons that assist with alertness and cognition, processes stimuli that entered the brain throughout the day, and creates memories. There is also a video embedded in the article. Read article
“Research on naps, meditation, nature walks and the habits of exceptional artists and athletes reveals how mental breaks increase productivity, replenish attention, solidify memories and encourage creativity. Downtime is in fact essential to mental processes that affirm our identities, develop our understanding of human behavior and instill an internal code of ethics. Downtime is an opportunity for the brain to make sense of what it has recently learned, to surface fundamental unresolved tensions in our lives and to swivel its powers of reflection away from the external world toward itself.” The mind also has the power to solve tough problems while daydreaming. Periodic time off of work can consistently replenish one’s ability and willingness to work, which made workers more productive in the end. The article encourages “workers to get seven to eight hours of sleep every night, to use all their vacation days, take power naps and many small breaks during the day, practice meditation, and tackle the most challenging task first thing in the morning so they can give it their full attention.” Naps can sharpen concentration and improve task performance for individuals who are well rested or sleep deprived. Spending time outdoors (preferably not by skyscrapers or city streets) can be equally restorative as a nap and help manage mental fatigue. Meditation can improve mental health, strengthen memory, and ones ability to concentrate. “Meditation appears to increase the volume and density of the hippocampus, a seahorse-shaped area of the brain that is absolutely crucial for memory; it thickens regions of the frontal cortex that we rely on to rein in our emotions; and it stymies the typical wilting of brain areas responsible for sustaining attention as we get older.”
Article offers tips to increase brain health: Do not engage in behaviors that damage the brain: illegal drugs, smoking, stress, sleep deprivation, soft drinks, sedentary lifestyles, excessive alcohol, junk food, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, obesity, loneliness, pessimism and negative self-talk. Put yourself in mentally, physically, and socially stimulating environments. Make good dietary choices. Maintain a healthy weight. Exercise. Engage in lifelong active learning. Do things differently/change routines. Engage in learning new skills on a daily basis. It is possible to train and regain lost brain functioning. Get enough sleep and calm the mind. Engage in lifelong social interaction and meaningful connection with others. “The brain is a teleological device—it is fed by having goals to strive for and aspirations to work towards. The clearer we are about where we want to go and what we want to achieve, the more effective the brain is in accomplishing the required tasks.” Direct self-talk to support goals. Be thankful and grateful. Engage in mental practice to help with tasks. Be passionate, excited, and enthusiastic.
Learn more about new brain thought technology with the articles and research that are listed on this page.