How to Manage a Body to Improve the Mind
Throughout academia and higher education, in general advice can be found on how to learn or how to more effectively absorb the knowledge that is being presented. While there is plenty of information to be found on how to take notes or how to review for a test, there is the equally important but much less talked about impact of the body and mind connection. The impact of having a body that is malnourished or sleep deprived can greatly affect the brain’s ability to pay attention to, or recall what has been learned.
While there have been numerous studies involving alcohol or drugs and the effects it can have on the body and mind, the intent of this paper will be to focus on a healthy lifestyle. The effects of a foreign substance in the body are well known to have a negative impact on mental abilities. It would be more advantageous for the majority of people to determine how much time they should devote to sleep or exercise and what kind of foods they should eat. Then armed with this knowledge they could not only feel better, but could perform better.
How can exercise, sleep and nutrition influence learning? Exercise raises serotonin levels, lowers the production of stress hormones like cortisol and if practiced outside can increase the skins production of vitamin D an essential nutrient for strong bones(More evidence, 2011). Moderate exercise can also reinforce your immune system which can help you fight off a cold or the flu (More evidence, 2011). Dealing with finals can be hard enough but if you add into that missed days from being sick, it might be overwhelming.
Numerous studies have shown a connection between fitness and improved memory. Frequent exercise leads to increased brain-derived neurotrophic factor, (BDNF) these molecules have been shown to be essential to memory function. For example;
At UCLA, researchers found that rats produced more brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) when allowed to run at will for a week, as opposed to rats who remained sedentary. BDNF molecules are increasingly seen as essential to memory function. For example, in another recent study, of 144 airline pilots (aged 40 to 69 years) who operated a cockpit simulator three separate times over the course of two years, those with a common genetic variation that is believed to reduce BDNF activity lost their ability to performthis complicated flight-simulator task at nearly double the rate of the other pilots(More evidence, 2011).
How much influence sleep can have on the body can be determined by such things as duration and whether or not it is interrupted sleep. For example “William and Kathryn Kelly surveyed 148 undergraduate students in an attempt to prove a correlation between the hours of sleep a student gets per night and the students GPA. The results of the survey showed long-sleepers (more than 9 hours per night) had a significantly higher GPA compared to short sleepers (less than 7 hours per...