With modern life so jam-packed with activities and stimulation, it is hard to completely unplug and relax. But that’s something our brain needs to repair and restore itself.
The one (mostly) sure-fire place for our brain to go for some downtime is slumberland. That’s why it’s crucial to get enough sleep.
“What’s going on in the brain, in layman’s terms, is essentially our brain is getting a chance to not be consciously engaged in … task switching all day long,” Victoria Garfield, a senior research fellow at the Medical Research Council Unit for Lifelong Health and Aging and a professor at University College London, Chief Medical correspondence, Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
Get some exercise
Sleep and napping aren’t the only ways to give your brain a break. Moving is also important.
“There’s a lot of evidence to suggest that… going outside and taking a walk is really beneficial, particularly just maybe disconnecting from devices and being in touch with nature if you can,” said Garfield.
The exercise doesn’t have to be a walk in nature. The key is to detach from work and other activities that demand a lot of attention.
“I think that for me recommending things like meditation and mindfulness – they’re very obvious. But actually, a lot of people find this really difficult, me included,” Garfield said, noting that she can’t just switch off her brain.
She recommends other activities that require less brain power: Watching television (but nothing work-related, Garfield emphasized) or even going grocery shopping. (Just don’t use electronics within an hour of going to bed at night.
“It’s really important, again, to emphasize that these things are really individual, and it depends on the person,” she said.