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Getting older doesn’t have to mean losing a sharp mind. There are ways that you can maintain your mental skills into your eighties and nineties. Here’s a list of six proactive steps you can integrate into your lifestyle in order to maintain your neurological health.

Get enough sleep.

This seems like an easy “to-do,” but many seniors state that they do not get a proper amount of rest on a nightly basis. Insomnia tends to appear more often as we age, but it does not have to be a fact of life.

Many seniors complain that they only sleep about four or five hours each night. While seniors should ideally get at least seven hours of sleep, this is a chore for many as they see the years increase. There are many natural ways to promote better sleep, one of them being the natural supplement, melatonin. Most seniors can take 2 or 3 mg of melatonin about a half hour before bedtime (ask your doctor before beginning any new supplement). Nelatonin is naturally occurring in our bodies, and it can decrease with age, making a good night’s sleep very difficult.

Stop smoking.

Smoking causes the blood vessels to constrict, which can affect the amount of oxygen going to your brain. Break this bad habit to prevent issues with blood flow and blood oxygen count.

Stay physically active.

This doesn’t mean adding an exercise regimen to your day (although that’s a great idea too). Yes, arthritis and other aches and pains of aging might make you want to park in front of the television or refrain from going to many places. However, the more physically active you are, the better your circulatory system will be – and your brain will get more blood and oxygen, which will promote alertness.

Eat a diet that is rich in healthy fats and low in carbohydrates.

Add olive oil, fish, and other healthy fats to your diet. This promotes brain health.

Limit your alcohol intake.

Seniors should limit their daily alcohol intake to no more than one drink per day. As you age, alcohol has a more detrimental effect on the body. It can also take more time to recover from overindulging in alcohol.

Stay socially active.

Play cards with friends, go to church, talk on the phone with family members and friends. Staying socially connected is great for your brain health.