Your lifestyle can either contribute to your having a healthy well functioning brain, or cause your brain to decline in powers such as memory, cognition and focus. Bad habits like eating a poor diet, drinking too much alcohol, not getting enough sleep, and exposure to too much stress, can greatly affect brain function. This will become worse as you age.
Some lifestyle factors which can affect your brain function and cause it to decline are:
- Lack of exercise – If you live a sedentary lifestyle, you risk a decline in brain function along with a decline in your physical health. It all works together. Studies have shown that physical activity is connected to mental sharpness. Physical activity has a number of positive effects on your brain. It provides a healthy flow of blood through the circulatory system, which includes the brain. It also produces endorphins which stimulate your brain.
- Poor diet choices – In addition to keeping your weight at a desirable level, a healthy diet provides nutrients that help your brain by fighting against free radicals that cause inflammation and deterioration of brain functions. Obesity and bad health from a poor diet may result in long-term diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia. A diet like the Mediterranean is well rounded and keeps the oxygen flowing uninhibited through the brain.
- Lack of sleep – Sleep may become a problem, especially as you age. It can be caused by responsibilities which keep you up and going, stress that has you thinking negative thoughts, or physical or mental impairments. Lack of sleep can greatly affect your brain function by causing lack of focus, memory loss, irritability and fatigue. Your brain performs poorly when these factors keep you from getting enough sleep.
- Lack of socialization and feelings of isolation – These two lifestyle factors go hand-in-hand when a person isolates him or herself and doesn’t socialize with friends and family. This often happens with age. Retirement occurs and friends and family drift away or pass away. Illness may also be a factor. Both can cause the brain to deteriorate.
- Too much stress – Stress comes in many forms. It’s part of life, but if it lasts too long and/or is very severe, it can begin to cause both physical and mental problems. Think about ways to alter your lifestyle to get rid of some of the stress in your life. Take time for your brain to rest and rejuvenate itself. You’ll find that your focus and cognitive powers will be improved. And your brain will have the energy to function as it should.
Other bad habits that might contribute to a decline in brain function include smoking and drinking too much alcohol. Check your lifestyle. See if your brain might be suffering some decline because of bad habits you’ve developed.