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Who wouldn’t want a healthy brain? While it may seem obvious, keeping your brain healthy is definitely critical to living to the fullest. Bad habits over time can lead to a less efficient brain with potential serious problems arising in old age–such as dementia and Alzheimer’s. A healthy brain is a quick-witted, intelligent, and happy brain!

The first step towards keeping your brain healthy is getting enough sleep. Sleep is the time where your brain rewires its connections and sorts through the information of the day. Believe it or not, it is almost just as important to get enough hours of sleep as it is to go to bed at the same time every night! Having a circadian rhythm is crucial to having a mentally healthy brain. Doctors recommend 7 to 9 hours a sleep per night in general. Keep in mind this varies for different people, so get to bed and see how many hours you need a night!

There are two different types of sleep, both important in their own ways. There is deep sleep, where the brain is least active when your asleep, and REM sleep, where your brain is just as active as when you are awake. Both of these types of sleep are important in their own ways at maintaining your mental health.

To make sure your brain has enough REM sleep, make sure to avoid alcohol around bedtime. Having a drink may make you feel like you sleep deeper, but this is because your brain has more deep sleep and less REM sleep. Since both are important, having a healthy mix of both is crucial to having a healthy brain!

It’s also a good idea to cut back on the caffeine before bedtime. Caffeine can stay in your brain and keep you awake for around six hours after you drink it, so drinking it late in the day can have big effects on your quality of sleep. Even a little bit in your brain can lower your quality of sleep! Doctors recommend keeping your caffeine before noontime, so your body has plenty of time to get it out by bedtime, so you can sleep like a baby.