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5 Ways to Boost Your Brain Power: Number 3 - Defend It

5 Ways to Boost Your Brain Power: Defend It

Moderation and Vigilance

Sleep is thought to be essential for consolidating memory, attention, decision making, reaction speed, mood and creative thinking. Sleep deprivation slows down your brain functions and long term sleep deprivation may actually cause brain damage. Make sure you get enough (7-8 hours) every night by addressing any sleep problems like insomnia. Don't set an alarm over weekends; sleep until you feel refreshed on waking. This will give you a good indication of how many hours you need per day.

Napping boosts productivity, lowers stress and improves learning and mood. Studies have shown that having a nap in the afternoon "reboots" the brain's performance to the same level as an hour after waking in the morning. So if you can, try a quick lie-down in stead of another cup of coffee.

New evidence is pointing to the immoderate watching of television as being linked to deterioration of the brain. Limit your intake of "brain candy". Take up a hobby or read a book to reduce your time in front of the box. When you do watch, choose uplifting or informational programmes rather than empty entertainment.

Binge drinking and recreational drugs are brain cell killers and should be limited or avoided.

Smoking narrows the arteries and decreases blood flow to the brain. It greatly increases the risk of a stroke or dementia.

Head injuries can have a serious effect on cognitive functioning. Protect your grey matter by wearing a seatbelt in the car and head gear when you play sports. Contact your doctor after a hard blow to the head, as quick action may prevent later complications.

Strokes are one of the leading causes of death among Westernised populations. Reduce your risk by controlling your blood pressure and cholesterol levels through diet, exercise and if necessary, medication.

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