We frequently discuss ways to help keep your brain healthy. Today, we list 7 things you might be doing that could be harming your brain. See if any apply to you, and if so, try the brain-healthy solutions and alternatives we suggest.
Not enough sleep harms your brain
Medical research is showing that sleep is more important for brain health than was previously known. Chronic sleep deprivation appears to be another risk factor for dementia, as well as for obesity and certain cancers. If you have problems sleeping, have you looked at your use of digital screens near bedtime?
Loud music through headphones
Even 30 minutes of continuous maximal volume music using most headphones, will cause a slight amount of permanent hearing loss, which adds up each time you are exposed. People who get to middle-age and beyond who don’t hear as well begin to miss out on conversations, and their social interactions suffer. This causes their brains to slowly lose some volume. Fortunately, many smartphones allow you to limit the volume from your headphones. As a general rule, try to limit the volume to 60% of maximum.
Too much junk food
Too many soft drinks; fatty foods—especially foods with trans fats such as packaged snacks (chips, cookies); French fries and so forth—have been shown to, over time, shrink the parts of the brain concerned with new learning and memory. Next time you feel the need for a snack, try some fruit or nuts instead, which are brain healthy foods.
Too much time alone
Social connections are important to keep your brain young. Loneliness can slowly kill you. Connections on social networks like Facebook are not nearly as good as meeting another person face-to-face. Even a few good friends that you can meet in person is better than texting many people you rarely see. Try to get a friend or some friends together to go dancing, some exercise, a sport, or play cards.
Don’t move enough
If you sit most of the day, not only are you more prone to develop fat around your abdomen and internal organs, but your brain suffers as well. When you are sitting down at the computer or the sofa, get up and take a few steps every 30 minutes. This is important for your body and brain. Beyond that, walk (or do aerobic exercise) at least 30 minutes three or more times per week.
Not enough sunlight
Getting outside into the sunlight is important for your mood. If you spend too much time inside, you are hurting your physical and mental health. Vitamin D from sunlight is the best way to get the vitamin, critical for a strong body and mind. Just use sunscreen when you go to the beach or are out for more than 20 minutes. Like most things in life, moderation is the key.
Hopefully if you are reading this blog, you have never smoked or have given it up. But if not, know that smoking is horribly damaging to all your blood vessels, including the ones inside your brain. One thing you don’t want as you get older is restricted blood flow to your brain!
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