At Liveli, we’re all about protecting and fueling our brains with the essential nutrients they need to operate at their best. And with the new year around the corner, it seems everyone’s been talking about how brain health is going to be big in 2019.
However, brain health shouldn’t be just another wellness trend. Our brains are critical to who we are and who we’ll become – they control and coordinate everything from our actions and reactions, provide us the ability to create memories and have feelings, and help us maintain our physical health and well-being. The more we learn about our brains, the more important supporting a healthy brain becomes.
Here are 4 reasons why brain health should be on your radar in 2019:
1. Technology is actually shortening our attention spans
The truth is out about technology and our brains. How easy is it for us to distract ourselves with Facebook or Instagram? All it takes is a few simple clicks and scrolls and we’re lost in the internet, totally separated from what we were trying to accomplish in the first place. Recent studies have shown that the human attention span has fallen from twelve seconds to eight seconds — that’s less than the attention span of a goldfish (which is nine seconds)!
Another study measuring attention span found that people who used their phones the most frequently tended to have an even worse attention span. While we love a good scroll through social media when we need a break, we’re starting to realize that it can do more harm than good.
In fact, when we use social media our brains become wired into what is called “reward circuitry” in which our brains become activated when we receive “likes", therefore making us less motivated to focus on the task at hand and more interested in continuously checking how many likes we’re getting on our latest Instagram post.
2. Invest in Rest
Boutique sleep “classes”, countless new gadgets that promise an optimal sleep cycle, sleep coaches and apps — the list goes on. The sleep market seems to have exploded overnight with new innovative mattress companies, cooling comforters, stress-relieving blankets, luxury pajamas, and high-quality linens all becoming the talk of the town. The search for a better night’s sleep is on.
Entrepreneurs from Silicon Valley have been pouring ideas and technology into what was in 2012 a $32 billion market that has continued to grow rapidly and will be making a huge splash in 2019. Business-savvy entrepreneurs are getting into the sleep market through three different sectors: Ambience Optimization (furniture, mattresses, and bedding), Routine Modification (sleep coaches, smart alarm clocks, and meditation practices), and Therapeutic Treatment (homeopathic remedies, medicines, and clinical services).
68% of Americans say they struggle with sleep at least one night per week. Playing the “who got less sleep” game no longer is in – people are starting to realize that it impacts our work performance, cognitive function, and can lead to health problems down the road. Sleep – quality sleep – is critical for our overall well-being and cognitive health and as more people are making this connection, the more of a priority sleep is becoming.
3. Thanks to new technology and innovation, we know more about our brains than ever.
We know what you’re thinking — didn’t we just talk about how technology is hurting our brains by lessening our attention span? While this may be true, thanks to new developments we can learn more about how our brains actually operate, and how we can help them perform at their best.
Exciting new developments from neuroscientists on a project called MAP-seq have been making substantial progress towards mapping the connections between the neurons in our brain by ‘bar-coding’ each individual brain cell with parts of genetic material.
On top of that, these new technologies have been applied to products we can use every day from new headbands that measure your brain waves when you meditate to handheld devices that provide biofeedback on our stress levels. The brain is no longer a mystery — it’s actually accessible.
In fact, the BRAIN Initiative has actively studying how our neurons interact with each other by monitoring and recording their activity. From this, they've uncovered how our brains interact with our behavior and are using new technologies to dynamically image the brain in real time. This type of innovative research is only the beginning. As we continue to discover more about our brains with this type of advanced research and technology, the more we'll learn about the different ways we can better support them in the long-run.
4. Nootropics are going mainstream.
Now this is a trend that we love to hear about! Nootropics made headlines in 2018, but it appears they’re only getting started. Due to an increasing desire of the adult population to support and enhance brain function, brain health supplements are expected to reach an $11.6 billion market value by 2024.
Two most commonly used forms of nootropics are those that encourage stable moods and support long-term memory — making clear that brain health is on people’s minds. Beyond support, many are looking to the nootropics industry to improve their mental performance.
Now that more attention is placed on brain health, optimizing our cognitive function is the next big step.
Everything we do flows from our brains, so prioritizing them shouldn't be just another wellness trend — it should be of utmost importance all the time. Tell us how you are planning to focus on your brain health in 2019 in the comments below!