Wednesday December 19, 2018

Study: Having More Friends can Improve Brain Health

Our research suggests that merely having a larger social network can positively influence the ageing brain

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Study: Having More Friends can Improve Brain Health
Study: Having More Friends can Improve Brain Health. Pixabay
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Having more friends and strong social connections may slow brain ageing, preserve the mind and improve the quality of life, new research suggests.

According to the study, brain function in the hippocampus–brain area associated with memory, emotions and motivation–markedly declines with age, even in the absence of dementia. Exercise and social ties are known to preserve memory in this region in people.

“Our research suggests that merely having a larger social network can positively influence the ageing brain,” said lead researcher Elizabeth Kirby from the Neurological Institute at Ohio State University-Columbus, the US.

In the study, published in the journal Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, the team studied two groups of mice aged between 15-18 months for three months, when their natural memory declines.

While one group lived in pairs, which Kirby refers to as the “old-couple model”, the other group lived with six other roommates, a scenario that allowed for “complex interactions”.

Their memory was tested by making the mice recognise a toy, such as a plastic car which had been moved to a new location.

Representational image.
Representational image. Pixabay

The results showed that mice who were living in a group had better brain health and memory.

“With the pair-housed mice, they had no idea that the object had moved. The group-housed mice were much better at remembering what they’d seen before and went to the toy in a new location, ignoring another toy that had not moved,” Kirby said.

Further, examining the brain tissue of the mice showed increased inflammation in the pair-housed mice–a biological evidence of eroded cognitive health.

“The group-housed mice had fewer signs of this inflammation, meaning that their brains didn’t look as ‘old’ as those that lived in pairs,” Kirby said.

Future research should explore the molecular explanations for the connection between socialisation and improved memory and brain health, she noted. (IANS)

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6 powerful ways to boost your energy with effective power nap

Power nap is quick way to treat sleep deprivation. Power nap of 15-20 mins can energize them, making their brain more alert and enhancing motor activity

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power nap, spring mattress
Spring mattress, made of good quality springs, can enhance your comfort level Image: Freshup mattress

Power naps are essential for many people. Although, some people are fresh even without power nap, but yet many people cannot feel refreshed without it. It is a form of sleep only for few minutes. It is quick way to treat sleep deprivation. Many people do not sleep sufficiently during the nighttime due to their busy schedule. So, a power nap of 15-20 mins can energize them, making their brain more alert and enhancing motor activity.

So, here are some of the ways to extend power nap:

Watching the time:

During the period of power nap, a person should not sleep more than a specified period. Such short naps only allow a person to enter through two stages of sleep. Usually, a person does not dream during this period. But, prolonged sleeping can make a person enter REM sleep which lasts for about 90 minutes. Sleeping for this long will make him feel slightly lethargic. But if the person has slept only for a short period, then can improve his mood, concentration and also enhance motor skills.

Choose napping zone:

The place where a person wants to take a nap should be quiet and peaceful. The person should shut down the nagging voices and also should remember the chores that should be completed. Most of the researchers suggest that the person should choose meditative techniques for sleeping.  The person should undergo a power nap just to relax muscles and other parts of the body. Some of them even use co-ordination methods to calm him.

Right place

The place where the person wants to sleep should be quiet and dark. The place should not be too noisy and everywhere calmness should exist.  The light of the room should also be limited. If the place is noisy, then the person should put ear plugs to sleep peacefully. He can use the eye blinds to cut the light. Use of gadgets should be limited too as the blue light suppresses the secretion of melatonin, a sleep inducing hormone.   

Choosing the right mattresses:

For an ideal power nap, a person should choose mattresses that are comfortable for him. The mattress may be made of foam, memory foam depending on his body type and comfort level. Alternatively, a person can even choose a spring mattress. Spring mattress, made of good quality springs, can enhance your comfort level as the body weight evenly gets distributed and you feel relief on pressure points.   

Power naps are very short naps, if you are not comfortable enough on your mattress you might take a long time to fall asleep. Mattresses play a vital role in your sleep-wake cycle. Memory foam mattress is a good option as they adjust to your body shape when you lie on it and ease your pressure areas.  Spring mattress too is a good option as they provide good firmness level. Pocket spring mattress on the other won’t let you feel your partner’s toss and turn at night because of the spring’s independent placement inside the cage. So if you tend to switch your sides a lot when you sleep, then pocket spring mattress should be in your consideration list. Buy mattress online, if you want to explore all the right options.

 

power nap, spring mattress
Sleep deprivation can hurt performance and health, image: Wikimedia Commons

 

Limited caffeine and tea

A person should not consume caffeine or tea 20 mins prior to sleeping. Caffeine is a stimulant that increases the alertness of brain preventing you from falling asleep. It also delays your sleep cycle. Keeping it away at night or even before a short nap during the day helps you sleep better

Setting an alarm

A person should keep his alarm to get up as early as possible. If a person sleeps more than the extended time, then he or she would feel lethargic. Such people cannot perform their daily chores. They lose their capacity of speed, so that they cannot sleep comfortably. During the nighttime, some people do not get proper sleep. They would upset their health, digestive system and their overall discipline. Waking up immediately to alarm is a healthy habit. Set one alarm and wake up to that. Fresh and Healthy!