When you spend quite a significant amount of time on internet, you may not be realizing that you are actually affecting your brain function. Whether you are addicted to Facebook, Instagram, or you just keep on reading something online, your brain is negatively impacted. Not only doctors, science also back this view. The internet can alter specific brain regions and affect our attention capacity, memory processes and social interaction, says a study published in the journal
Scientists explain that the limitless stream of prompts and notifications from the internet encourages us towards constantly holding a divided attention. This, in turn, may decrease our capacity for maintaining concentration on a single task. That is why, in 2018, the World Health Organization, in 2018, came out with a new screen-time guideline for kids. According to these guidelines, young children (aged 2-5) should be exposed to only one hour per day, or less, of screen time.
HOW DOES INTERNET AFFECT YOUR BRAIN FUNCTION?
Nowadays, it seems almost impossible to survive without two things: A smartphone and an internet connection. But, we do not realize that we use them more than we need to. This is what is affecting our brain function. The online world now presents us with a uniquely large and constantly-accessible resource for facts and information, which is never more than a few taps and swipes away. This appears to have the potential to change the way we store and even value facts and knowledge in the brain.
Overuse of internet does not only affect our cognitive function but impacts our overall health too. It can potentially make you sleep deprived and sedentary. Both can be the culprits behind a wide range of health ailments like cardiac arrest, high BP, high blood sugar, weak immune system, so on and so forth.
HABITS THAT HARM THE BRAIN
Apart from over indulging in internet, there are some other lifestyle habits that can negatively impact your brain function. Here, we guide you through them.
You are having too much salt
Too much salt intake can potentially cause cognitive deficit, says a study published in the
Nature Neuroscience. Excessive exposure to sodium in salt actually reduces resting blood flow to the brain and causes dementia. According to scientists, overindulgence in salt can cause 28 per cent decrease in blood flow to the cortex. This part of the brain is responsible for thinking and processing information from the five senses. Also, it can cause 25 per cent less blood flow to the hippocampus, the brain area responsible for processing emotional responses and long-term memory.
Fix it: Do read labels on the packaged foods before buying them to figure out their sodium content. Also, go for fresh meats rather than the packaged ones. Opt for fresh fruits and vegetables as they are low in sodium. Use little amount of salt in your dishes and remove the salt shaker from your dining table.
You are not getting enough sleep
You must have heard that insufficient sleep leads to lack of focus, a short attention span, and an irritated mood. But, do you know that it can also harm your memory too? Yes, it has a long-term impact on your brain. During sleep, your body works to help you get rid of toxic by-products that accumulate in your brain throughout the day. Poor sleep means that these brain functions aren’t carried out properly. So, the detoxification of brain doesn’t occur, which reduces your cognitive function. Everyone should at least get 6 hours of sleep every day, if not 7-8 hours.
Fix it: To have a better sleep, work out daily. Also, reduce your caffeine intake as it can keep you stimulated till late in the night. Moreover, create a bedtime routine after discussing with a sleep expert and stick to it. Going to bed every night at the same time will help induce sleep for sure.
You are not interacting with people
According to a study conducted at the
Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, people who have the least social contacts suffer from severe cognitive deterioration. Not being social can promote the feeling of loneliness. This, in turn, can trigger stress and inflammatory processes in the brain. Talking to people will flex your brain muscles. In a conversation, you order your thoughts and feelings and then convert them into language. Also, almost simultaneously you make sense of the thoughts and feelings coming from the other person. This whole exercise helps in keeping its brain function to the optimum level.
Fix it: Try to expand your comfort zone. If you prefer doing everything alone, push yourself a bit and ask for help. This will open up the lines of communication and strengthen your bond too. Start chatting with people and gradually imbibe the habit of going out and meeting new people.
You are skipping breakfast
We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Apart from increasing your body weight and affecting your blood sugar and energy levels, skipping breakfast can damage your brain too. According to a study published in the journal
BMC Public Health, skipping breakfast on a regular basis can have a negative effect on cognitive function. It can result in the decline of brain excitability, reduced attention, and emergence of a slow response. Also, not having breakfast regularly can increase blood pressure, stress hormone levels, and lead to chronic inflammation. These can impact your thinking capability.
Fix it: Sleep on time so that you can get up early and have enough time to have breakfast before going to work. Also, try to prepare your morning meal in the night itself, so that you don’t run out of time in the day to have breakfast. Additionally, if you really do not get time to do any of these, just grab a whole fruit like apple or banana to break your fast.
You eat too much sugar
Though your brain requires sugar in the form of energy to work optimally, excessive sugar intake can have detrimental effects on your cognitive functions. It has a drug-like effect in the reward centre of the brain. In fact, in a study published in the journal
PLOS One, excessive sugar can be more addictive than cocaine. High sugar consumption can cause inflammation in the brain leading to memory difficulties.
Fix it: Opt for foods that are rich in complex carbohydrates. Your body takes time to digest them and so your blood sugar levels don’t shoot up all of a sudden. Apples, broccoli, spinach, grapefruit, etc. are good options. Also, strictly avoid processed fruit juice and sports drinks as they are extremely high in sugar.