Your brain is an important organ of your body – that goes without saying. Any damage to the central processing unit, no matter how small, can have major negative impacts on your life. This is why, you must always strive to boost your brain health. After all, to walk on this earth, you must be aware, focused, and wise enough. That being said, here are 12 habits that you must ditch if you want to protect your cognitive functionality:

1 – Functioning on less sleep

Experts recommend adults to catch at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep. Children and teens can sleep for longer hours. If you want to keep your brain working well, don’t miss out on sleep regularly. Many people tend to skip on sleep because of work and other responsibilities. The effects of sleep loss are evident in the way you feel groggy and lose focus. Even your skin speaks volumes of your sleep deprivation. So, make sure you prioritize sleep at least at bedtime.

2 – Not eating enough brain-healthy foods

You diet has a significant impact on all aspects of your health. In this regard, make sure that you eat brain-healthy foods. There are several nutrients that your brain needs to work properly. Foods that support brain health include walnuts and fish like salmon. These contain fatty acids that provide your brain with energy that maintains cognition. Berries, turmeric, and eggs are also very good for sharpening your brain’s working and improving memory.

3 – Consuming salty foods

Salt may balance electrolytes in your body but too much of it is severely harmful for your health. Not only is sodium linked to hypertension, but it is also a cause of the many health concerns that arise due to elevated blood pressure. Did you know that high blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease? In fact, it is also linked to stroke, known as a brain attack. Therefore, make sure that you consume only moderate amounts of salt. If you are hypertensive, don’t forget your medications.

4 – Consuming too much sugar

Too many people are plain careless when it comes to their sugar intake. From eating too many sweet treats to being hooked to sugary beverages, sugar has become an integral part of everyone’s diet. However, it is crucial to limit intake. This is because excess sugar can have detrimental impacts on your health. It can cause hindrances in nutrient absorption which can keep your brain deprived of nourishment. In this way, it can negatively influence your cognitive functionality.

5 – Covering your nose

Several prefer sleeping with their head covered because of flies, loud noise in the surroundings, switched on lights, etc. However, when you are sleeping and you cover your face with a pillow or your blanket, you are actually putting your brain health at risk. Even though for a few minutes it may feel comfortable. Covering your head when you sleep can cause you to inhale air that is not rich in oxygen as you exhale out carbon dioxide in the same space.

6 – Not letting go of stress

Another habit that can damage your brain health is stressing too much. You see, there is acute stress and there is chronic stress. The former can actually be healthy while the latter is quite the opposite. Stress can drain your brain. This it does so because it promotes the release of a hormone called cortisol. In fact, research also suggests that stress can change the structure of your brain. It can alter brain functionality adversely too.

7 – Not drinking enough water

Not drinking enough water leads to dehydration. Dehydration has many negative impacts on health. It can damage both your physical as well as mental health. When you are dehydrated, you feel confused and fatigued easily. Apart from feeling irritable, you may also experience anxiety. Basically, dehydration can lead to brain shrinkage which can cause migraines. Therefore, drink the recommended amount of water on the daily.

8 – Drinking too much water

You’d think it couldn’t be possible but there are people out there who overhydrate, for instance, athletes. Drinking excess amounts of water is also dangerous. It can cause headaches and even severe brain damage in the form of cerebral edema. This is a condition in which fluid builds up in the brain. Water intoxication can lead to comas, and seizures. It can also be life-threatening. Hence, drink no more than the recommended limits.

9 – Not engaging in any activities

Many people out there prefer to stay on their own. Alas, isolation comes will many negative effects on health. Social isolation can damage your brain health. You need to keep communicating with the outside world for sharpening your mental abilities. Furthermore, also participate in brain-boosting games. These can improve your focus and concentration. So, keep your brain efficient by playing interesting games and maintaining a social circle.

10 – Drinking alcohol and smoking nicotine

Dependence on drugs can be harmful in a number of ways. Alcohol immediately makes you feel groggy and takes away your control. It distracts in an instant; imagine the damage it can cause in the long run if the short-term effects are this bad. Then comes nicotine which has its own packet speaking against it. Smoking can cause brain shrinkage. Prolonged brain shrinkage can up the odds of developing anxiety and depression.

11 – Watching Reality TV

Did you know that watching Life Of Kylie can harm your brain? That’s true. Studies show that people who watch too much reality TV are aggressive. Shows such as Keeping Up with the Kardashians can actually harm your brain because they have no value to offer. Instead they can induce feelings of inferiority complex and hence, depression. Thus, don’t only treat your stomach healthy food, but your brain as well.

12 – Multitasking all the time

In the modern world, we’re all always multitasking, switching between television, mobile phones, and work. Or reading from one too many tabs at one time. Did you know that multitasking can damage your brain such that multitaskers are at higher odds of permanent damage? Multitasking lowers IQ as per one study. Along with lowering your cognitive functionality, it can also hamper your emotional intelligence.

To sum up, take care of your brain and avoid the habits that can damage it. Eat healthy, drink healthy, and live a healthy lifestyle.