A good night’s sleep is one of the best brain boosts. It’s crucial for your brain to function properly. Sleep deprivation may negatively impact your cognitive function, your mood, your judgement and even your waistline! Isn’t that enough incentive to ensure you get adequate rest?
According to Dr. Mark Mahowald, a Professor of Neurology at the University of Minnesota Medical School, a night of lost sleep has the same effect in simulated driving tests as illegal high blood-alcohol levels. Another study indicates that lack of sleep leads to brain shrinkage in the frontal, temporal and parietal lobes. And it destroys brain cells. Yikes!
So what’s a good amount of Zzz’s? Sleep is divided into four phases. Deep sleep or stage IV sleep is vital to brain function. As we get older, we generate less deep IV sleep and it’s probably no coincidence that our cognitive skills change as well.
Rapid Eye Movement (REM) is the part of sleep when we dream and we are actually paralyzed. 25% of our sleep is in the REM stage. Researchers believe that during REM, your brain selects the most important bits of information that it has processed throughout the day.
There’s still debate on how much sleep we need but on average, most people need 7 to 8 hours per night, some require less and others more. Ultimately, our brains need deep sleep and REM to function properly. Unfortunately, many suffer from insomnia. Your ability to get a good night’s rest can be impacted by stress, anxiety, pain, medication and interpersonal conflicts and medication. Luckily, sleep is a learned behaviour and you can change it.
5 Tips for Better Zzz’s
- Reduce your caffeine intake
- Increase your physical activity
- Use a blue light filter app
- Listen to calming music
Another way to relax your brain before catching some Zzz’s is to play a fun, fast Fit Brains game. Using Fit Brains for just 5 minutes a day can keep your brain challenged!
The Fit Brains Team
“Brain Training Success”