Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Insomnia, Exercise, and new brain cells....

Today's Post:  Tuesday, 4-12-2016

It turns out they are all interactive with each other!

1.  If you exercise regularly – ideally vigorously almost every day of every week at least for a few minutes and do some added walking every week as you are able, research shows your body releases the nerve growth hormone BDNF and maintains the size and function of the white matter that connects the thinking part of your brain to your memory processing center.

Walking; and interval or variable cardio where you are breathing hard at the end of the fast sections; and slow rep strength training with enough weight your muscles feel a bit bigger, “pumped” the bodybuilders call it or slightly sore afterwards seem to release the most BDNF. 

(For this to be safe – and it can be quite safe – it is critical to work up to that level gradually if you haven’t been exercising before as we posted on recently.)

2.  If you take DHA, omega 3 oil supplements from purified fish oil, and eat wild caught fish high in omega 3 as well, your body releases more BDNF and supplies blood to your brain better due to the increased circulation this helps cause.

3.  Recently it was discovered that doing these things releases BDNF in a way that ALSO grows new brain cells in the thinking parts of your brain. And other research found that it increases the interconnections between neurons also.

4.  If you do NOT do any exercise at all however, your brain gradually shrinks mostly from losses in your white matter that connects the thinking part of your brain to your memory processing center.

That often causes memory problems and helps cause mental decline. 

5.  If you sleep badly or get too little, this interferes with or reduces the action or amount of BDNF and can harm the quality of your brain.

The good news is that many easy things help you sleep better:

Make a special effort to always get 6 or more hours of sleep and closer to 7 when you can at all.  Drink only one or two drinks and only BEFORE dinner.  Get and use a Nidra sleep mask for less than $20.  And always get up when your alarm goes off and have that be at the same exact time each day.  Have your last caffeine of the day before Noon or at least by six hours before you go to bed.  (Having caffeine later in the day than that often causes you to sleep badly and often get an hour less of the restorative deep sleep.)

6.  AND, get the same exercise that releases BDNF!  It seems that one of the main causes of sleeping badly or insomnia is too little white matter caused by too little BDNF release caused in turn by not enough regular exercise.

In addition, exercising regularly seems to optimize your neurotransmitters in a way that enables you to relax as soon as you get in bed to sleep.

Lastly, regardless of the cause, studies show that people who exercise vigorously early in the day or morning, get to sleep faster and more easily than those who don’t.  

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