Our guide to keeping your brain young and working at its best

Everything from the food you eat to the amount of sleep you get can have a huge effect on brain function

Remember that video game on the Nintendo DS that calculated your brain’s age? That was probably the only time most of us put any thought into what “age” our brain was, but it’s only natural that your brain changes over time.

That said, there are plenty of ways in which you can help keep it in its best possible shape, and the benefits can make a difference in everything from work to your everyday life.

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Keep it sharp

“A mind needs books like a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge.”

Game of Thrones was probably the last thing you expected to see mentioned in this post, but there is a lot of truth behind that quote from Tyrion Lannister. Your brain is like a muscle, and stimulating it with activities such as reading or putting together a crossword will naturally help keep it sharp.

Learning new computer skills, or even a new language, are other ways you can keep your mind stimulated. Passive activities such as watching TV won’t have the same reward, so bust a mental sweat every now and then!

Get plenty of sleep

As anyone who has had a rough night’s sleep can attest, your whole day can be flipped on its head when you don’t get enough rest. While that goes without saying, a lack of sleep can have an even bigger effect on how your brain functions.

Seven consecutive hours is the recommended amount of sleep for an adult, which is what your brain needs to effectively reset itself and have enough time to restore itself after a day of activity.

Give meditation a go

Partially due to technology, people’s perceptions around meditation have somewhat changed in recent years. Apps dedicated to wellness and meditation can be found on for just about any device, and are a great place to start for people who’ve never tried it before.

Headspace is one of the most popular choices, as well as alternatives such as Calm and Mywellness. Even if you use them as a way to get a few minutes of “me” time, it has been found to help people deal with everything from insomnia and anxiety to fatigue and confusion.

Reach out to others

Speaking with other people can have a tremendous impact on your mental health, and has been known to help keep anxiety and stress at bay. If you can’t meet up in person, there are plenty of online avenues to explore.

For example, perhaps there is a Facebook group for people trying to learn the same language as you, or one for fans of your favourite TV show. Finding people with shared interests can create plenty of meaningful relationships, and help keep your brain in its best possible health!

Stay active

Exercise doesn’t merely help maintain your physical fitness, but it also helps increase blood flow to the brain. Another reminder that the brain is in fact a muscle!

This doesn’t have to involve pushing yourself to the limit every day. Even 15 to 30 minutes of physical exercise can tick all of the right boxes for your brain.

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Brain functionEveryday health and wellbeingMental agility