Everyone wants to have a healthy, happy brain. While our society has been focusing on our physical fitness for many years, our mental health has had to stand back and watch our bodies shine. Move over body, it is time to turn the spotlight on our brain.
Recently, an increasing amount of studies is emphasizing that we need a healthy lifestyle to not only maintain our physical health but also our mental health. It is up to us to determine how healthy and fit we want our brain to be as we have the power to nurture it. Here are four things to incorporate into your lifestyle that keep your brain healthy and in its best shape.
1. Sleep: The foundation of mental strength
If you have ever experienced the feeling of exhaustion after a long night out or a jet lag, you will know how important sleep is to keep us going. Even though most of us know that sleep is vital for us, we still sometimes try to fool our body, thinking we can outsmart it: that work presentation you need to finish for the next day, the all-nighter you are pulling to study for the math test at school or the too many drinks in a nightclub that make the “you can sleep when you’re dead”-quote seem like the wisest words ever spoken – in all those situations we think we can swear off sleep forever – and painfully pay for it the next day (the feeling of being a zombie has never been more real!).
However, sleep is not only our body’s best friend, it is also crucial for our brain’s memory and fitness. Remember when you had to memorize a poem at school. At night, you would struggle to recall the words, while the next day when you woke up, they were somehow magically stored in your brain. Another reason to get a good night’s sleep is that people who suffer from insomnia, often perform worse on cognitive tests than people who get their healthy amount of sleep. Our self-control also depends on the amount and quality of sleep we get. This means that sleep helps us to better control our emotions and our attention span. This is why scientists recommend a minimum of six hours of sleep per night.
2. Inflammation: Poison for your brain
The causes that can lead to Alzheimer’s disease are not quite clear yet – even if some people may think differently. It is often said that the so-called amyloid plaques are responsible for causing Alzheimer’s disease. However, findings on whether these amyloid plaques are a cause or a consequence of the disease remain vague. More recently, science has focused on inflammatory processes in our body as a potential cause of Alzheimer’s disease – and it looks like it is onto something. These inflammations can appear in many shapes and forms such as gingivitis. The majority of these inflammations are easily treatable and should thus be dealt with immediately so that the risk of them becoming more severe and damaging is rapidly eliminated.
3. Foreign languages: Protection against dementia
Learning a new language can be challenging and quite frustrating, to say the least. But with the existing amount of profound evidence hinting at the benefits of learning a new language for our brain, we may have to sign up for that Spanish class after all. The researcher Ellen Bialystok and her team have conducted a study where they compared elderly multilingual people with eldery monolingual people. Their findings quite astonishingly showed that on average, multilingual people develop signs of dementia four years later than monolingual people. Learning a new language can protect us from early signs of dementia. Safe to say we are all thinking the same now: it is time to get out that dusty old French textbook.
4. Brain training: An improved mental activity
In 2006, a study led by psychologist Michael Valenzuela and his research team examined the influence of mental activity on our brain. The results showed that people who train their mental activity have a 46% lower risk of suffering from dementia than people who are not mentally active. There are many forms of being mentally active such as playing chess, learning a language or playing an instrument. It may seem difficult to find time to look after our brain with everything else that is going on in our busy lives, which is why brain training is the perfect way to integrate the care our brain needs into our busy schedule. Only a few hours of brain training per week can already improve mental fitness and push our brain to become the best version of itself.
NeuroNation brain training works with the most recent findings of brain research and is tailored to your individual needs. You can personally choose which area of your brain you want to target and we will make sure to give you exactly the right exercises to sharpen your brain. We are working with brain researchers to guarantee our training is of the highest quality.
NeuroNation conducted a study in collaboration with the department of psychology of the Free University in Berlin, which demonstrated the efficacy NeuroNation brain training has for our brain. The study showed that people who train with NeuroNation brain exercises performed on average better in cognitive tests than people who only follow regular advice on mental activity. Furthermore, NeuroNation is currently conducting a study in collaboration with the Edith Cowan University in Perth, Australia, using a course specifically developed for the purpose of the study.
The findings of this study will be incorporated in our training exercises so we can offer you the best brain training there is!