How Exercise, Diet, Sleep, and Hearing Affect Brain Aging

How Exercise, Diet, Sleep, and Hearing Affect Brain Aging

Leanne E. Polhill, LHAS, BC-HIS, BA Brain Health, Overall Health

Leanne E. Polhill, LHAS, BC-HIS, BA
Latest posts by Leanne E. Polhill, LHAS, BC-HIS, BA (see all)

How much do you know about your brain health? Just like every other part of your body, your brain slowly ages over time. However, there are a few things that can make your brain age faster, while other activities may keep your brain active and healthy. Here are several major factors that affect brain aging.

Exercise and Your Brain

Exercise is important for your physical health, but did you know it’s also one of the keys to your mental health? Staying physically active can keep your brain healthy too. A recent study found that exercising three times a week helps older adults in more ways than one. Regular exercise led to a 32% lower risk of dementia compared to older adults who didn’t stay active. Even mild exercise is good for your brain.

The research shows that physical activity can give older adults numerous benefits, including improvements in memory, attention, processing speed, and even cognitive function. One way to slow brain aging is with consistent exercise. 

Diet and Your Brain

Ok, so exercise is important. But what about your diet? What you eat can impact your gut health, your energy levels, and even your brain. Two diets have been extensively studied: the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet, and the Mediterranean diet.

Both these diets focus on eating a balanced diet that includes vegetables, fruits, nuts, and legumes. Both diets also reduce the amount of red meat, processed foods, and sugars. 

The DASH diet and the Mediterranean diet have both been linked to better cognitive functioning and slower brain aging. Sticking to one of these healthy diets also decreases your risk of dementia later in life. So next time you open the fridge, think about how your diet affects brain aging.

Sleep and Your Brain

Ok, so sleep is a no-brainer. Even one night of poor sleep leaves us feeling tired and lethargic. Sleep is incredibly important for every system in our bodies, including our brains. Older adults are more likely to have sleep disorders such as insomnia or sleep apnea. Poor sleep is hard on the brain. In fact, sleep deprivation can increase beta-amyloid levels in the brain, increasing the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Sleep also plays a role in memory formation. During sleep, memories from the day are consolidated in your long-term memories and stored for later access. Chronic sleep deprivation can impact your memory. If you’ve been having a hard time sleeping, you may want to visit a sleep specialist. Make sure you’re getting adequate rest so you can feel energetic every day and keep your brain healthy. 

Hearing and Your Brain

Hearing loss is also closely linked to brain health. Hearing loss doesn’t just affect your ears. It also affects the auditory centers in your brain, as well as the frontal lobes of your brain, responsible for analyzing the content of what you hear and making sense of conversations. Hearing loss affects one in three adults aged 65 and up. Hearing loss might not seem like a big deal at first, but untreated hearing loss actually has a huge impact on your brain. It’s linked to brain atrophy and rapid cognitive decline. Hearing loss also greatly increases the risk of dementia. Here’s how:

  • Mild hearing loss makes it two times more likely that you will develop dementia
  • Moderate hearing loss makes it three times more likely that you’ll develop dementia
  • Severe hearing loss makes it five times more likely that you’ll develop dementia.

This means that treating hearing loss is extremely important for your brain health. Hearing aids make it easy to hear, and they also reduce your risk of cognitive decline. Rather than spending all your energy straining to hear, hearing aids let you focus on other things. You’ll be able to follow conversations, enjoy social activities, and give your brain the right kind of exercise.

Schedule a Hearing Test

Don’t let hearing loss affect your brain! Visit us today and find out about your hearing aid options. We work with the world’s top hearing aids manufacturers, so you’ll have a wide selection to choose from. Keep your brain young and active with hearing aids that fit your lifestyle and match your hearing needs.