Our habits directly relate to our brain health. Habits allow us to complete daily tasks without having to think about them too much. A study in 2020 showed that habits can be controlled right at the start when we introduce them into our lifestyle.
These are some of the worst habits for Brain Health:
1. Unhealthy sleep habits
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one-third of Americans don’t get enough sleep. Research has shown that adults need about 7 hours of quality sleep for optimal health. Good sleep habits include reducing bright light before bed, ensuring a balanced diet, and implementing an evening routine.
Effects of not getting enough sleep:
- Affects memory
- Decreases brain health
- Harms the heart
- Reduces ability to focus
2. Sitting too much
Despite an active lifestyle, sitting for prolonged periods of time has a negative impact on brain and metabolic health. However, most adults don’t have the time to focus on more exercise, so here are some easy habits to introduce to avoid sitting too much during the day:
- Stand up when you call someone
- Take the stairs
- Walk around while brushing your teeth
- Get up and refill your water glass
- If sitting at a desk for work, stand up and walk around every hour
- Dance more often
3. The wrong foods
Do you start your day with orange juice? There are about 20 grams of sugar in an average glass of OJ and research has shown that high-sugar diets can lead to a significant decrease in memory and cognitive function.
For some top tips on what foods to eat, check out our article on foods to fight fatigue.
4. Chronic stress
There is an abundance of studies that have shown the impact of stress hormones, including a decline in attention, memory, and emotion processing. The good news is that there are models that suggest developing “early stress interventions” can counteract the effects of chronic stress on brain health.
Some habits to help counteract the impact of chronic stress:
- A diet high in antioxidants (some great sources include beets, sweet potatoes, and strawberries)
- Daily physical exercise
- Practice mindfulness
- Build mental resilience (like Rewire’s Neuro-Training)
Neuro-Training works by targeting the part of the brain that is responsible for managing fatigue and willpower.
- More energy
- Increased recovery speed
- Improve mental resilience and athletic performance
Users of the Rewire App have reported a decrease in stress of 74.1%.
5. Negative mindset
Research has shown that negative thoughts can trigger a stress response and a prolonged negative mindset has been linked to cognitive decline. Want to implement habits to improve your brain health? Check out our article on the best habits for your brain here!
Visualization and self-talk can help us avoid dwelling on the negative and instead create a more positive habit. For example, visualization can improve athletic performance because they act as a sort of mental rehearsal, which can train the mind to act in real life as we imagine it.
Rewire’s Mindset Recovery system includes evidence-based protocols to promote mind/body recovery, improve mindset, manage stress and prepare for training and competition. This system includes tools such as visualization and self-talk. Check out an overview of Mindset Recovery here.
Are you ready to improve your brain health? Try a 7-day free trial of Rewire to give Neuro-Training and Mindset Recovery a go!
Crego, A.C.G., Štoček, F., Marchuk, A.G., Carmichael, J.E., van der Meer, M.A.A. and Smith, K.S. (2020). Complementary Control over Habits and Behavioral Vigor by Phasic Activity in the Dorsolateral Striatum. The Journal of Neuroscience, 40(10), pp.2139–2153.
CDC (2022). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. [online] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/.
Owen, N., Healy, G.N., Matthews, C.E. and Dunstan, D.W. (2010). Too Much Sitting. Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews, [online] 38(3), pp.105–113. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3404815/.
Magnusson, K.R., Hauck, L., Jeffrey, B.M., Elias, V., Humphrey, A., Nath, R., Perrone, A. and Bermudez, L.E. (2015). Relationships between diet-related changes in the gut microbiome and cognitive flexibility. Neuroscience, [online] 300, pp.128–140. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25982560/ [Accessed 1 Dec. 2021].
Lupien, S.J., Juster, R.-P., Raymond, C. and Marin, M.-F. (2018). The effects of chronic stress on the human brain: From neurotoxicity, to vulnerability, to opportunity. Frontiers in Neuroendocrinology, 49, pp.91–105.
Marchant, N.L., Lovland, L.R., Jones, R., Pichet Binette, A., Gonneaud, J., Arenaza‐Urquijo, E.M., Chételat, G. and Villeneuve, S. (2020). Repetitive negative thinking is associated with amyloid, tau, and cognitive decline. Alzheimer’s & Dementia.