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
Cut down on caffeine - Even if you don’t stop it completely, reducing makes a difference.
Get more exercise - Walk daily, you will notice a difference immediately.
Listen to a soothing CD before bed. Or try white noise to create a background.
Take a warm bath before bed.
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.
Spruce up your sleeping area. A comfortable mattress, comfortable bedding and blackout curtains can make a world of difference.
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 your brain sharp by training with all our Fit Brains mobile apps!
Based on your answers from the assessment, the app is designed to provide personalized educational & informational suggestions to help you make step by step changes for a healthier brain & overall life.
After completing the test, you will receive a Brain Health Lifestyle Score with detailed summaries & suggestions on 5 health and lifestyle areas:
You are encouraged to re-take the test periodically to see statistics on your improvements.
So what are you waiting for? Click HERE to download the app NOW to improve your life & make it the best it can be! After your 1st assessment, share your health & lifestyle goals with us in the comments below, on our Facebook, or Twitter!
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:
Open your address book – Search your brain, book, or phone for your list of contacts.
Pick your priorities – Categorize your contacts into 3 groups: Family & closest friends, Good friends, Casual acquaintances.
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.
Follow through - Contact them in advance to schedule the get-togethers. If they’re not there, leave a message.
Reschedule - If your friend or family member can’t make it, plan another day to reconnect.
A great snack that helps rejuvenate the brain after draining amounts of studying, work, chores, etc.! Check out the Fit Brains‘collection of recipes, we will add new brain healthy recipes every couple of days so visit often!
Purple Monster Smoothie
What you Need:
2 frozen bananas, chopped
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1 cup orange juice (or soy milk)
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
Putting it all Together:
Place bananas, blueberries and juice in a blender and puree.
Sometimes, the influx of work and daily to-dos are stressful for many of us. Our brains will likely become exhausted on more than a few occasions so we need to remember how to relax the mind!
Here are 6 tips from the Fit Brains team to help you clear & calm the brain during those stressful days!
Yoga / meditation – Practicing yoga or meditation will help relax the body, mind, and soul. Sign up for a trial yoga class, many community centers will offer the 1st class for free. You can also try meditating at home by sitting in a comfortable position, closing your eyes, clearing your mind, and thinking about one specific but stress-free thing for 10-30 minutes.
Keep hydrated – Drink lots of water to keep your body hydrated and clean. Toxins can build up in the body if it is dehydrated, which will often clog up the mind.
Listen to music – Listening to music you enjoy triggers natural endorphins in your brain, so take a break and listen to some soothing music that you love.
Shut off your brain – Do something mindless and/or repetitive. Activities like easy chores or light exercises are good because they don’t require a lot of thinking. Good examples are swimming, folding laundry, going for a walk, doing the dishes.
Eat right – Cut back on stimulating foods such as coffee, energy drinks, sodas, and candy. Also try to avoid processed & artificial foods. You are what you eat so you need to eat healthy to have a healthy mind!
Treat yourself – Do something you love and know will lower your stress level. We have all been living in our bodies long enough to know the things we like to do that will help us relax. Sometimes all we need is a break! Take a nap, get a massage, melt away in a bubble bath…do whatever you need to do to recharge yourself!
While brain breaks are great once in a while, don’t forget to keep your mind active on a regular basis to maintain its optimal performance! TheFit Brains Trainer app is great for exercising the mind without any burden of stress. If you have kids, they can develop their brain skills with our newFit Brains for Kids app as well!
The annual holiday known as Thanksgiving is upon us here in the United States. This is a day of great food, family, friends, cheer, football, and being together with those we love. It is also a day of thanks and it is important to reflect on all that we have and the many blessings in our lives.
Thanksgiving is a time to praise the great men and women in our current and past military. Their sacrifice is beyond what we can imagine. The families of those who serve in the military also are deserving of our gratitude. We should take time to thank our parents, grandparents, and great grandparents. They most likely have sacrificed much to help the next generation in the family.
While many of us may be experiencing personal financial distress because of a chronic economic downturn, we can still use Thanksgiving to recognize the areas of our lives that may be positive. Health is always one of the most important blessings we need to recognize. Being thankful for our own health and for the health of our family is important. Having the ability to be together with those that you love is another blessing worthy of our attention.
Prayers for those less fortunate, for those in the military, and for those in need can be beneficial to all of us. Simply taking some time on Thanksgiving to enjoy the moment and to enjoy those who have gathered while leaving any anxiety behind can help to make your Holiday a positive one.
Meditation is best known as part of the Buddhist and Indian Yoga traditions. It has now migrated and become more integrated into western civilization including the United States. Research has supported a relationship between meditation practice and positive health outcomes.
A recent study suggests that mindfulness meditation can promote health and cognitive function. The study, published in the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science indicates benefits for improved immune function, reduced blood pressure, and enhanced cognitive function. The authors also explain the way mindfulness helps with our health.
Four key factors of mindfulness are proposed as important to our health: (1) attention regulation; (2) body awareness; (3) emotion regulation; (4) and sense of self. When integrated, these four factors may help with alleviation of stress.