Brain train and prioritise sleep to banish brain fog, sharpen focus and find that elusive word!
Oh our frazzled brains. Help clearing that fog, curbing that anxiety, finding your focus – and that elusive word – in this fascinating episode with neuroscientist Dr Andrew Hill.
He’s one of the world’s leading practitioners of neurofeedback.
Dr Hill age-stages his best bio-hacks to nourish and rewire our brains for peak performance. Meal-timing is critical, he says. As is getting enough deep sleep. And he tells us intermittent fasters we’d be better off shifting our eating windows to earlier in the day.
He explains why kids shouldn’t be allowed to play contact sports until their brains are finished developing: “Half of all brain injuries are silent and have no symptoms. They show up years later as slowed processing, degraded quality of sleep and word-finding”.
He also tells us why loves the meditative power of Ashtanga yoga and performing West African drumming in crowds on mountaintops.
Dr Hill is the founder of Peak Brain Institute, a global chain of “brain gyms” headquartered in Los Angeles. He holds a PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience from UCLA’s Department of Psychology, where he lectures in psychology, neuroscience and gerontology and researches attention and cognition. He’s been practising neurofeedback since 2003.
- How neurofeedback works to tune the brain to reduce stress, improve sleep and attention
- Types of brainwaves: “Delta is the heartbeat of the brain” “Alpha waves are the idle speed”
- Age-matched data sets are used to interpret brain maps
- How our brains change over the decades; consequences of the shifts that happen – attention, focus, speed of processing
- “You don’t want to diagnose off of this stuff, you want to come up with ideas and if they ring true, then you’re on to something”
- “If you find things that are real, you can change them almost always. Understanding brains is hard but changing brains is not that hard”
- His academic and professional background in mental health that led to him setting up the Peak Brain Institute
- “We spent a year teaching someone to use a fork”
- How own struggle with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder): “I was moving 9,000 times faster than everyone around me, chewing through books..I dug into everything”
- Was astonished by positive outcomes when he started working at a centre using neurofeedback
- What’s happening to the brain when sex hormones decline at perimenopause and menopause
- The reason you’re having brain fog and word-finding issues
- His take on the significance of estrogen decline, referencing the work of Dr Lisa Mosconi
- “Women have autoimmune stuff and most forms of classic dementia are not infectious diseases but metabolic diseases”
- The importance of deep sleep to banish brain fog and optimise brain health
- Why he says we’re doing Intermittent Fasting or Time-Restricted Eating wrong
“The strongest cue for circadian rhythm is not light, it’s not when you sleep, it’s when you eat”
- “If you go to bed with any insulin that’s high, any blood sugar that’s high at all, you suppress growth hormone completely”
- How to properly measure ketones
- The benefit of movement before food every morning to burn off the cortisol – “it squeezes your liver and feeds you breakfast” – and glycogen that woke you up not call for more (by eating and flooding your system with sugar)
- Do low-key workouts in the morning and high-energy exercise in the afternoon when your cardiac output is best and your cortisol is lowest
- Impact of social media on brain health, especially for children
- “There’s definitely an epidemic of childhood anxiety and sleep issues but there’s no more ADHD than there was 50 years ago”
- Advice to parents of athletic kids who want to play rugby or football? “You shouldn’t let your kids play contact sports.. non-contact is ideal until your brain finishes developing”
- The ecstasy of West African drumming on mountaintops and the meditative value of Ashtanga yoga
- Dr Hill’s Peak Brain Institute
- From Andrew’s blog: How to prioritise sleep for peak brain performance
- Andrew on Twitter
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- Hosted + produced by Susan Flory
- Music: “Beautiful Day” by Sahin Koc