Although anyone can experience the occasional moment of forgetting where they have placed their keys or being unable to recall a name, this cognitive decline increases with age. It is estimated that cognitive decline can begin in individuals as young as their 20s or 30s.
Fortunately, a variety of tips and healthy habits can help preserve your mental function. Read on for five simple ways to help keep your brain sharp.
1. Use the Repeat Trick
When it comes to remembering information, it is extremely helpful to repeat the knowledge you want to recall. You can do this by thinking about it, writing it down, or saying it out loud. For example, if you are at a social function and get introduced to someone, repeat their name as you say hello: “Hi Frank, it is nice to meet you”.
Socializing plays a key role in maintaining brain health. Interacting with others on a frequent basis can increase general feelings of well-being, decrease depression, and possibly even lower your risk of developing dementia. People with active social lives typically perform better on memory tests.
3. Play Brain Games
Challenging your brain through games that stimulate your creativity, critical thinking skills, and problem-solving skills helps keep your brain strong and healthy. These games are the equivalent of physical exercise for your brain.
It is believed that these mental games can help stimulate brain cells and promote healthy communication between neurons. As a bonus, these brain games can be fun, relaxing, and enjoyable to complete.
4. Get Your ZZZ’s
Adequate sleep is crucial for optimizing your brain’s function and preserving your overall health. Considering this, it is no surprise that the amount of sleep (and the quality of it) plays a significant role in how well we are able to remember and process information.
During the four different stages of sleep, the body experiences relaxation, renewal, and development, which are all key to keeping the brain healthy. Of the four stages of sleep, REM (rapid eye movement) is when we sleep the deepest. It is believed that REM sleep tends to decrease with age. This may play a part in explaining why mental decline occurs with age.
5. Continue Learning
Continuing to learn – whether it is a new task at work, learning a new hobby, studying a new language, or signing up for a new course in school – helps keep the brain active and functioning at its best. Higher education levels are linked to stronger mental health in old age. Consider keeping your brain active and engaged by adding a new task or course to your life.
Overall, it is possible to fight the mental decline that often comes with age by getting enough sleep, exercising your brain through mental games, and eating healthily. Consider incorporating several of the tips mentioned above into your lifestyle to help keep your brain functioning at its highest capacity.