Last night I drank caffeinated green tea after dinner and it kept me awake half the night. When I finally gave up on sleeping, I went downstairs and watched the YouTube videos of Dr. Daniel Amen. The guy knows the brain inside out and is passionate about the care of this amazing organ. Ironically, sleep is one of the brain’s critical needs.
And I’ve known this. I’ve stressed the importance of sleep to my kids over the years, to the point of sounding like a broken record. When we haven’t had enough sleep, we don’t function as well, we are more prone to poor eating habits, skipping exercise, irritability and accidents. I knew it would not bode well for me to be wide awake at 3 a.m., and yet I was not sorry to be taking in Dr. Amen’s knowledge.
Diet and exercise are also critical to healthy brain functioning. We know this already, right? But I usually think of these things as important for my body and my heart. Rarely do I focus on the fact that I am caring for this incredible, elastic bundle of nerve cells. And what really makes me want to jump up and down is how the brain’s upkeep affects our overall happiness in a BIG way. Our mood, judgement, creativity and attention are all results of the brain. I would say all those things together affect the spirit. As Dr. Amen says, when your brain works, your life works.
What are you feeding your brain?
That is the question I am going to ask myself from now on.
I am feeding it eight hours of sleep most nights, plus exercise and meditation. And I am feeding it some pretty yummy things too, like spaghetti squash and shredded zucchini and quinoa stuffed peppers and salmon over spinach.
Our brains needs a lot of water, and of course, intellectual stimulation and empowering thoughts. We can nurture and stretch our brains, or let them atrophy. We can feed them well or neglect them.
We can literally grow and heal our brains by making healthy choices.
I’m drinking the decaf tea tonight.
My brain has some sleep to catch up on.