Tips on How to Sleep Better

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One of the biggest boosts you can give your brain is a good night’s sleep.  Adequate sleep is vital to proper brain function.  Without it — our judgment, reaction time, memory and other brain functions may be impaired.  According to Dr. Mark Mahowald, a professor of neurology at the University of Minnesota Medical School, one night of lost sleep has the same impact in simulated driving tests as illegally high blood-alcohol levels.

Turn in early to give yourself 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night (this is considered average, though some people may need as few as 5 or as many as 10 hours.)  For many, falling asleep is a challenge.  Anxiety, stress, pain, interpersonal conflicts and medication all impact one’s ability to get a good night’s sleep.  Luckily, sleep is a learned behaviour and you can change it.

7 Suggestions to Improve Your Sleep

  1. Cut down on caffeine – Even if you don’t stop it completely, reducing makes a difference.
  2. Get more exercise – Walk daily, you will notice a difference immediately.
  3. Listen to a soothing CD before bed.  Or try white noise to create a background.
  4. Take a warm bath before bed.
  5. Maintain a regular schedule. Going to bed and getting up around the same time help you develop a rhythm that can make falling asleep easier.
  6. Spruce up your sleeping area. A comfortable mattress, comfortable bedding and blackout curtains can make a world of difference.
  7. Use the bed for sleep, not channel or Internet surfing.

Make sure you bookmark our blog & check back often for more health & lifestyle tips!  Also, remember to keep challenging your brain by training with Fit Brains!

10 Quotes on Gratitude & Being Thankful

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Thanksgiving may be full of feasts & festivities, but it is important to remember the true meaning of this holiday.  Thanksgiving is all about gratitude, all about being thankful.

Thanksgiving is a day for everyone to reflect upon themselves and count their blessings.  We worry about many things on a daily basis and let obstacles and small difficulties in life consume us.  It is nice to have a day where we can slow down and acknowledge everything we have in life.  Having gratitude not only shows appreciation, but will help us become happier, more satisfied, healthier, and overall better people.

Here are 10 quotes from influential individuals on giving thanks & being thankful, we hope these will inspire you to celebrate Thanksgiving with gratitude!

 

“If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.”
Meister Eckhart 

“When you practice gratefulness, there is a sense of respect towards others.”
Dalai Lama

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”
John F. Kennedy

“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”
Epicurus

“When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.”
Maya Angelou

“Some people grumble that roses have thorns; I am grateful that thorns have roses.”
Alphonse Karr

“‘Thank you’ is the best prayer that anyone could say. I say that one a lot. Thank you expresses extreme gratitude, humility, understanding.”
Alice Walker

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”
Oprah Winfrey

“Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful.”
The Buddha

“I am thankful for laughter, except when milk comes out of my nose.”
Woody Allen

Happy Thanksgiving from the Fit Brains team!

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Socializing & Building Relationships for Brain Health

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Did you know socializing can boost your brain health?

Connecting with friends & family is one of the easiest ways to maintain a novel environment for our brains.  Friends & family provide opportunities to communicate, interact, and share experiences. They also provide the necessary motivation to stay mentally active and involved.

Socializing and sustaining a social network can seem difficult or daunting, but keeping in touch can be as easy as picking up your phone!  If you’re having trouble getting started, how about trying these 6 simple steps…

Your Game Plan for a Strong Social Network:

  1. Open your address book – Search your brain, book, or phone for your list of contacts.
  2. Pick your priorities – Categorize your contacts into 3 groups: Family & closest friends, Good friends, Casual acquaintances. 
  3. Make a plan to connect – Based on your priorities, determine some people you want to connect with weekly, monthly, quarterly or yearly and mark reminders in your calendar.
  4. Follow through – Contact them in advance to schedule the get-togethers. If they’re not there, leave a message.
  5. Reschedule – If your friend or family member can’t make it, plan another day to reconnect.
  6. Meet & play Fit Brains together! – Once you meet, make sure you have something to do.  Playing Fit Brains is a great idea as you can have fun together & compare scores.  A little competition with your friends & family will also keep you motivated to continue to train & challenge your brain!

Fit Brains Trainer

By playing Fit Brains for 5-10 minutes a day, you can stimulate your brain health.  It’s probably the most fun & enjoyable exercise you will ever experience so take advantage of it!

We have some exciting plans coming up here at Fit Brains in the next few months that will certainly delight your brain, so stay tuned!

40 Healthy Alternatives to Sugar Cravings

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We have compiled a list of 40 healthier alternatives you can reach for when the sugar cravings pounce.  Limit your children’s consumption of candy as well by offering them some of these treats instead!

  1. Fruit kebabs
  2. Berry salad
  3. Dried fruits
  4. Chewing gum
  5. A square or two of dark chocolate
  6. Home-made fruit & yogurt popsicles
  7. Mashed sweet potatoes
  8. Healthy smoothie
  9. Unsweetened Greek yogurt topped with fruits
  10. Low sugar frozen yogurt/Sorbet
  11. Light chocolate milk
  12. Peanut butter & jelly on whole wheat toast
  13. Pretzels dipped in melted dark chocolate
  14. Blended frozen bananas
  15. Baked apple stuffed with nuts & oats
  16. Fruit custard
  17. Frozen grapes
  18. Healthy muffins
  19. Trail mix
  20. Whole grain cinnamon raisin toast
  21. Light banana bread
  22. Oatmeal topped with brown sugar & cinnamon
  23. Hot cocoa made with low-fat milk
  24. Fruit spread on crackers
  25. Coconut water
  26. Dates
  27. Prunes
  28. Flavoured tea
  29. Water with lemon or orange slices
  30. Nuts with a little honey drizzled on top
  31. Sweet corn
  32. Cherry tomatoes
  33. Dill pickles
  34. Baby carrots
  35. Baked sweet potato or squash fries
  36. Popcorn mixed with bits of dark chocolate
  37. Healthy granola bars
  38. Chocolate flavoured rice cakes
  39. Light jello
  40. Low fat milk with a little honey

What do you eat when you crave something sweet?  Share with us in the comments below!

Fit Brains’ List of Happiness!

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The Fit Brains team has created a List of Happiness!  Anyone who needs a little pick-me-up at anytime will just have to visit this list to break a smile 🙂

YOU can be a part of this list too…

What is one thing that triggers happiness in YOUR brain?  

Leave us your happy answer in the comments & we’ll add it to the list!

  • “Dancing keeps my body and mind happy and healthy” – Carol A. Keierleber
  • “MUSIC triggers happiness in my brain!” – Jordan Leo Yelle
  • “Books!” – Ulanda Dargis
  • “Spending time with my granddaughter” – Sharon Bylevedlt
  • “My pets” – Sylenda Harvey
  • “Meditation” – Ravel Viirsalu
  • “A hug” – Wendy Vanns
  • “Walk quickly 40 minutes/day” – Charles Eggerstedt
  • “Riding my bike to the local park to watch the sunset over the mountains” – Deane Alban
  • “Planting seeds” – Gail Asher Wells
  • “Seeing a smile” – Denise Gooch Orr