Why You Need Both Sleep and Exercise for Optimal Brain Health Opposites attract. And in this case increased sleep and increased exercise, seeming polar opposites, can help keep you in your cognitive prime.
8 hrs Sleep + 30 min Exercise = A Sharp, Young Brain
Ever wake up from a great night of sleep and feel on top of the world? There’s a reason for that.
During sleep, neurons in your brain regenerate and help to keep your brain functioning optimally. Too little or too much sleep and signs of cognitive decline can be exhibited – you can notice this immediately day-to-day but this also effects you long term. So what's optimal? Six to eight hours… and here’s the important part: Consistently. (aka every night, even weekends!)
Make it a habit. Unplug (the internet will be there tomorrow, I promise!) and get to bed on time. It’ll not only keep you alert and engaged now, but will keep your brain functioning at a high level for years to come.
Feeling the Burn
Several recent studies indicate that increased physical activity also plays a role in supporting optimal brain function as we age. Just 30 minutes of moderate exercise 5 days a week was enough to shave off years of cognitive decline in test subjects. Further, the activities and intensity seemed to matter less than the total calories burned. So, get moving!
The reason for the linkage between brain health and exercise is still unknown, but don’t let that stop you. Walk instead of drive, make a point to get up from your desk every hour, join a challenge group, or go to the gym.
What keeps you more focused - sleep or exercise?