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The Worst Habits for Your Brain

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.

Benefits include:

  • 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 Rewire to give Neuro-Training and Mindset Recovery a go!


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Sources

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.‌

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The Best Habits for Your Brain

Did you know that mental decline is common as we age? Many people fear the consequences of aging, such as declining cognitive and mental function or loss of independence. However, there some habits we can implement that have been shown to improve brain health.

Here are the top 5 habits for Brain Health:

1. An active lifestyle and the right diet

Physical activity has been shown to slow the process of brain aging and degenerative pathologies, such as Alzheimer’s Disease and diabetes. Studies have also proven that an active lifestyle can improve memory and cognitive processes.

Both endurance and resistance exercise allow for muscle synthesis, but there is no consensus on the impact of different types of exercise on brain health. However, research has shown that habitual exercise has a positive impact on both physical and mental health, including brain health.

Additionally, a nutritious diet can help prevent cognitive impairment and improve brain health. Studies have proven that nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins (particularly vitamins B, D and E) can positively impact cognitive processes.

2. Balance

Practicing mindfulness and finding the right balance is an important habit that can help us reduce stress and engage positively with the world around us. A poor work-life balance has been shown to have long-term negative impacts on our brain health.

3. Healthy sleep habits

Research has shown that “sleep plays a vital role in brain function” and adults need about 7 hours of sleep every night to be able to perform their best. Check out our article on how to optimise your sleep here!

Other benefits of sleep include:

  • Supports mental health
  • Improves memory
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Supports the immune system

The Rewire App has a personalized Sleep Priming Session because we know just how important quality sleep is.

4. Social interaction

A study in 2020 showed that “social engagement may protect against cognitive decline” and accumulating research has proven that socializing is good for our brain health. Interacting with others trains our brains and social contact can help us improve memory formation and build mental resilience.

5. Stimulate the brain

In the same way that we exercise our bodies, our brains need exercise too. Studies have shown that stimulating the brain can enhance cognitive function and build mental resilience. Interested in learning more? Read about the worst habits for your brain here.

Rewire’s Neuro-Training protocols are backed by over 10 years of scientific research and have been shown to develop mental resilience. Rewire takes a holistic approach to achieving peak performance by providing tools for training and recovery of both the mind and body.

Give Rewire a try and experience how good habits can help the health of your brain! Train both your physical and mental fitness with Rewire today.

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Sources

Harvard Health. (2006). 12 ways to keep your brain young. [online] Available at: https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/12-ways-to-keep-your-brain-young?msclkid=ee9f1fc9bd5611ec9d3b5fcafd3ab3de [Accessed 16 Apr. 2022].

Di Liegro, C.M., Schiera, G., Proia, P. and Di Liegro, I. (2019). Physical Activity and Brain Health. Genes, [online] 10(9), p.720. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6770965/.‌‌

Gómez-Pinilla, F. (2008). Brain foods: the effects of nutrients on brain function. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, [online] 9(7), pp.568–578. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2805706/.‌

www.medicalnewstoday.com. (2016). Poor work-life balance leads to poor health later in life. [online] Available at: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/313755?msclkid=e3e89170bd7411ec866fa008cd28ab97#Findings-likely-to-apply-to-wider-populations [Accessed 16 Apr. 2022].‌

Medic, G., Wille, M. and Hemels, M. (2017). Short- and long-term Health Consequences of Sleep Disruption. Nature and Science of Sleep, [online] Volume 9(9), pp.151–161. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5449130/.‌

Cynthia Felix, MD, MPH, Caterina Rosano, MD, MPH, Xiaonan Zhu, PhD, Jason D Flatt, PhD, MPH, Andrea L Rosso, PhD, MPH, Greater Social Engagement and Greater Gray Matter Microstructural Integrity in Brain Regions Relevant to Dementia, The Journals of Gerontology: Series B, Volume 76, Issue 6, July 2021, Pages 1027–1035, https://doi.org/10.1093/geronb/gbaa173

Al-Thaqib, A., Al-Sultan, F., Al-Zahrani, A., Al-Kahtani, F., Al-Regaiey, K., Iqbal, M. and Bashir, S. (2018). Brain Training Games Enhance Cognitive Function in Healthy Subjects. Medical science monitor basic research, [online] 24, pp.63–69. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29674605.‌

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