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brain power

We all know that sleep is needed for our well-being, but scientists are just figuring out how important it is for our brain power.

According to a new study, a good night's sleep can help increase women's brain function, but the same cannot be said for men.

A study, which was carried out in the Munich Max Planck Institute found that sleep can give you major intelligence capabilities. However, as we all know, having a good night's sleep is easier said than done.

Woman in Grey Shirt during Daytime

The study monitored the sleeping patterns of a group of 160 adults.

The scientists used intelligence tests to evaluate the participants' problem solving skills and reason abilities.

They also paid close attention to the candidates' 'sleep spindles' which are small bursts of brain activity which occur during sleep.

'Sleep spindles' are often linked to high IQs, and large amounts were recorded when the female participants entered a dreamless sleep state, which in turn boosts brain power when awake.

Person Covered a Grey Bed Cover

However, 'sleep spindles' were only found in males when they napped.

Head researchers of the study, Professor Martin Dresler told Grazia: "Our results demonstrate that the association between sleep spindles and intelligence is more complex than we have assumed until now.

"There are many factors involved in intellectual abilities, and sleep is just one of them.

"This large study of men and women gives us a more accurate framework for the next face of research, which will involve differences in individuals’ sleep patterns."

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You may choose certain foods to clear your complexion, prevent bloating or avoid blemishes – but what if you could boost your brain power every time you fill your plate?

As we head back to the daily grind and head into autumn, it can be hard to get our brains back into working order. 

The relationship between diet and brain health has been getting a lot of attention lately as scientists have been doing major research into the matter. 

Indeed, Rebecca Katz, author of The Healthy Mind Cookbook spoke to Harper's Bazaar about the movement. 

"It used to be that scientists thought that as you grow older your brain cells die," says Ms Katz.

"Now, we're actually seeing that our brain cells can regenerate – which is largely based on how we eat and exercise."

Want to know what these foods are? Here's a look at the seven super foods for a healthy brain:

 

Mint

Mint is a great source of vitamin A, which can help boost learning skills and increase brain plasticity. It also contains vitamin C which is said to protect against cognitive decline. 

 

Pumpkin seeds

Pumpkin seeds deliver generous helpings of iron in addition to a mineral trio of potassium, magnesium and calcium – these combined help in the delay of deteriorating mental health.

 

Cauliflower

This white fluffy vegetable is a great source of vitamin K which helps keep your mind sharp as you age as well as boosting your memory. 

 

Sardines

Even if eating them isn't totally appealing, your brain loves these teeny tiny fish. In fact, sardines are loaded wth vitamin B12 which has been shown to boost memory and fight off depression. They are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which help keep your brain engaged and boost mental energy. 

 

Beetroot

Beetroot not only works wonders for your skin, it is also known as brain food in the highest order. They are high in nitrites, which increase blood flow to parts of the brain. Vitamin B9 is also stored in them, which aids cognitive functioning and delays a descent to dementia. 

 

Cashews

These nuts are a great source of two brain-boosting minerals, zinc and magnesium. Zinc is important because it can warn off depression, as well as improving memory. Magnesium has been shown to regulate sleeping patterns as well as improve learning skills. 

 

Dark chocolate

The cocoa that gives dark chocolate its addictive flavour is packed with memory-boosting antioxidant powers. In recent studies, cocoa consumption has been linked to higher scores on cognitive tests and also keeps the brain switched on as you age. 

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Do you sometimes feel that if you spend just one more hour stalking your ex on Facebook, your brain is going to turn to mush?

Never mind the countless hours of reality TV watching!

Studies have shown that some of the same habits that keep your body healthy can also help keep your mind in tip-top shape.

Here are some of the ways you can keep your brain in razors-sharp shape.

Cut down on sugar
There’s lots of evidence about which foods can sharpen your brain, but there’s also plenty of research on what you should avoid to keep your brain in good shape. You’ll want to limit your intake of simple sugars, refined carbohydrates, and saturated fats. Experts say that diets high in these things may mess with insulin levels in the brain and wreak havoc on your memory.

Keep your brain busy
You always hear that your brain is like a muscle – use it or lose it. Studies have suggested that regularly doing brain-stimulating activities such as reading and writing could keep your mind sharp as you age. Number games and brainteasers are great for this!

Catch up on your Zzzzzzs
In a recent study, mice who slept for only short periods of time lost 25 percent of the neurons in their locus coeruleus, the section of their brain associated with alertness and cognitive function. What’s more, napping later didn’t reverse this effect. Try to get into a regular sleeping pattern to keep your brain sharp.

Eat good fats
Studies have shown that people who consumed good fats – such as avocado, nuts and oily fish – had a decreased risk of developing mild cognitive impairment or dementia when compared to the people who consumed the least good fat.

Be berry good
Some research has found that people who have a diet rich in berries were less likely to show signs of cognitive decline.

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It’s easy to lose concentration as the day progresses. You might feel like you aren’t able to concentrate as well as you did that morning and in some cases, you’ll find yourself becoming more forgetful.

Eating the right foods can improve your body physically and mentally. To boost your energy levels and brain power, check out a few foods that you can nibble on to keep you going:

Carrots
Carrots contain a substance called luteolin, which helps with memory loss. As well as being good for your eyes, they are also great for brain health. Carry a packet of carrot sticks the next time you’re out and about.

Berries
Berries are known to reduce the chances of dementia. Blueberries in particular help increase your memory power for longer periods of time. They’re great to have with yoghurt or cereal.

Pumpkin seeds
The high levels of zinc in pumpkin seeds means you will have better thinking skills and an enhanced memory. Never a bad idea to carry a few of these around with you.

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When it comes to scientific discoveries, it can be hard to rally interest.

However, one recent discovery isn’t actually a bore – if anything, it involves a lot of excitement.

Researchers in the U.S have discovered that sex can help improve long-term memory. Among many other things, bedroom antics can help increase brain power, if it happens frequently.

While testing this theory on middle-aged rats, they found that the little rodents made more brain cells after mating.

Mating also meant that they had more neurons in the part of the brain where memories are made.

Whoever would have linked long-term memory with sex? Not us anyway!

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