What you do in the evening can significantly impact your brain’s health and cognitive abilities. Let’s explore some good evening habits that contribute to a healthy brain and sharp memory.
Brain Health Beyond Nutrition
Brain health isn’t just about nutrition; it’s also about your daily habits from the moment you wake up until you go to bed.
At night, sleep plays a vital role in overall health, including brain health. However, it’s not just sleep; there are other evening habits that can also boost your brain’s intelligence. What are they?
1. Keep Your Phone Away at Least 2 Hours Before Bed
Despite being called “smartphones,” these devices can actually make you feel less smart. A study published in the Journal of The Association for Consumer Research found that having your phone within reach can lead to ‘brain drain.’
Smartphones have the power to reduce cognitive capacity, affecting working memory, learning, logical reasoning, problem-solving, and creativity.
So, it’s advisable to keep your phone away before bedtime to avoid exposure to blue light, which suppresses melatonin, the sleep-inducing hormone. Using your phone close to bedtime can make you more alert, making it difficult to decipher dreams.
2. Read a Book
If you’re wondering what to do without your phone, consider reading a book before bedtime. Reading has proven to calm the mind and boost intelligence.
“Consistent reading has been shown to facilitate the onset of sleep, minimize anxiety, and soothe the brain. Individuals who read regularly tend to have better cognitive outcomes,” says Reid Kehoe, a neuropsychologist at Northwestern Medicine, as cited by Livestrong.
3. Get Adequate Sleep
This advice is consistently emphasized by health experts. Sleep plays a pivotal role in overall bodily health.
Concerning the brain, Forbes reports that insufficient sleep disrupts memory and learning. It slows down cognitive thinking, leads to forgetfulness, and shortens your attention span.
Other studies suggest that lack of sleep makes it challenging for a person to see the positive side of things.
4. Maintain a Consistent Sleep Schedule
Having a consistent sleep schedule is one of the excellent evening habits. You can set reminders or alarms to help you know when it’s time to sleep and wake up.
“An irregular sleep schedule makes it harder to maintain a sleep-wake rhythm, which can adversely affect cognitive function,” says Kehoe.
5. Use Calming Scents
Research suggests that using scents like essential oils in a diffuser for two hours every night can enhance memory recall.
According to Express, the Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory at the University of California conducted a study involving 43 older adults aged 60-85. They were divided into two groups: a control group and a group exposed to scents.
Over a six-month period, one group was exposed to scents like rose, lemon, orange, lavender, eucalyptus, peppermint, and rosemary.
The results showed that the group exposed to scents exhibited a 226 percent improvement in memory recall during tests compared to the control group.
These evening habits, from reducing phone usage to reading a book, maintaining a consistent sleep schedule, and using calming scents, can contribute to a healthier brain and sharper cognitive abilities.