Ever walked into your kitchen and forgot the reason you were there? Ever thought you had lost your sunglasses only to realise they were on your head?

We all have moments when our brains fail us. But there are things you can do to keep your mind sharp and improve your concentration. From setting yourself mental challenges to staying social, check out our 5 top tips for a healthier mind.

1)     Challenge yourself

When you want to keep your body in good shape, you exercise it. So, it makes sense to do the same with your brain. Setting yourself challenges – or ‘mind workouts’ – is a great way to keep your brain active.

Maybe you could try solving some crosswords or word puzzles. Perhaps you could have a go at playing strategy-based games online, like bgo poker and blackjack. Or, if you’re feeling brave, you could set yourself the challenge of learning a whole new language.

2) Sleep better

We’ve all been guilty of binge watching a TV series into the early hours. But never underestimate the importance of a good night’s sleep. Whilst you might be lying there dead to the world, your brain is busy preparing itself for the day ahead.

Researchers from the National Sleep Foundation found we need around 7 to 9 hours sleep every night to keep our minds in good working order. Sticking to a regular sleep pattern, and avoiding phone and TV screens before bedtime, can help you get the sleep your brain needs.

3) Eat well

For many of us, junk food is the ultimate guilty pleasure. But before you chomp down on a chocolate bar or tuck into a takeaway, spare a thought for your brain. Neuroscientists have found junk food not only makes us more impulsive, it also impacts negatively on our ability to learn new things.

If you want to keep your mind sharp, opt for brain-boosting foods instead. Things like salmon and chia seeds are packed with omega-3 fatty acids. These have been proven to improve memory and cognitive function.

4)      Exercise regularly

Most of us hit the gym to keep our bodies healthy. But did you know that working out is also good for your mind? By encouraging the release of endorphins and increasing blood flow to the brain, exercise improves the way we feel, think and learn.

Aim to squeeze at least 30 minutes of exercise into your schedule every day. It’s good to try different activities to keep things fun. Maybe one day you could go for a run in the park. The next day, swim a few laps of your local pool.

5) Stay social

Humans are social creatures. So, it’s hardly surprising that hanging out with other people helps us feel better and think more clearly. In fact, researchers found that those of us with better social lives perform better on memory tests and live longer.

Therefore, even when life is busy, it’s important to make time to see friends and loved ones if you want to function at your best. If you can’t meet up in person, at least drop your pals an email or give them a call.