Feeding our brains well and exercising are great, but brains also need rest and relaxation. Sleep is when repair work is scheduled for our brains. It’s much easier to do repairs if parts of the brain are “taken offline” while we sleep. Chronic sleep deprivation is almost epidemic in our culture, and that doesn’t allow the brain to repair itself or stay healthy. There are lots of ways to help get better sleep, but trying to stay on a schedule and minimizing sleep disruptions are two of the best.
And don’t forget the relaxation part! Stress, pressure, responsibilities, deadlines and multitasking all take their toll, and even the brain needs to go on vacation now and then. Take a trip, go to the beach, get a massage, read a book or just spend time with friends or family to allow your mind to relax and recharge. Meditate, do yoga, practice breathing or use other mindfulness techniques to give your mind a vacation from its otherwise constant vigilance and worries.
There are lots of other ways to keep our minds sharp, active and as youthful as possible for decades to come. We’d love to hear your ideas for keeping the brain healthy, so join in the discussion!