When you go through something traumatic, your brain triggers a “flight-or-fight” response. Most people recover on their own, but some get posttraumatic stress disorder. PTSD causes your amygdala — the part of the brain that controls emotions — to be overactive. And it lowers activity in your prefrontal cortex, a decision-making area. It can also shrink your hippocampus, which forms memories.
You spend a third of your life in bed. So clean bed linens should be one of your must-do chores. Think of the drool, sweat, dandruff, and other “stuff” you leave between the sheets. Ideally, you ought to launder them weekly, or at least every other week. But a recent survey found that Americans tend to be sheet slackers, going 25 days between washes.
Sanitizer may zap germs, but it doesn’t leave your hands dirt- and grime-free. These can make it hard for sanitizer to do its job. Try to scrub up with suds after things like gardening, playing outdoors, fishing, or camping.
We all have some bad habits, but some of these bad habits can harm your brain. Skimping on sleep is one of those bad habits. Those who do not get enough Zzzs are more likely to get dementia and Alzheimer’s compared to those who get adequate sleep. Lack of sleep in older adults increases the risk of excessive daytime sleepiness, depression, and problems with attention and memory. They are also more likely to fall at night and rely on more sleep aids (both over-the-counter and prescription kinds). People who have trouble falling asleep at night should avoid caffeine, alcohol, and watching TV or using the computer in the evening. If you have trouble sleeping, practice a soothing bedtime routine in the evening to help you wind down and get to sleep.