Keep Your Brain Sharp
In this blog, I explore the value and limitations of living with unexamined routines. I ask, "Why, then, if routines are so central to conducting our daily lives effectively, do I so mistrust them?Routines are subtly and powerfully seductive. Sometimes their seductive power leads to misery." Read more to discover an important practice for breaking out of stale and confining habits.
By the time we are 50, we will, on average, have devoted about 5,110 nights (7.5 hours nightly) to sleep, or at least attempting to get enough of it in a way that leaves us feeling rested, refreshed and with sufficient energy to engage our daily routines. In my last blog (http://bit.ly/SleepingTime), I introduced information that invites us to question conventional folk wisdom about what good sleep is “supposed” to look like. While it is clear that the form sleep takes each night can and often does vary from person to person, or even the same person over time. Still, despite this variability, there is little question of what happens when we don’t get what our body needs in the way of sufficient sleep.
Who knew that active bipedalism could be so good for our brains!
Some evidence: A study found that in a sample of 900 men and women aged 65 and over, those who were active walkers, joggers, gardeners, dancers or bicyclers had noticeably thicker gray matter in their brains compared to those were not active exercisers at the start of the study.
This week we lost Gene Wilder to “complications of Alzheimer’s disease.” We are all becoming eerily familiar with the statistics about Alzheimer’s disease. Media messages attached to the statistics and tragic stories of this mind-thieving condition leave us feeling powerless or simply crossing our fingers and hoping for the best. How sad! There is so much more that is in our grasp.
I don’t know about you, but I find it a daily challenge to distinguish between being busy and being engaged, between doing what is urgent and doing what matters, and between being full and being satiated and gratified.
Research on what sustains long-term mental vitality offers us clues about how these distinctions can be made each day.
If you want a healthy brain, sleep is simply non-negotiable. Adequate sleep stabilizes your mood, controls your weight, and helps build life-long resilience. Sleep serves at least three crucial functions for brain health.