Back to Top Skip to main content Skip to sub-navigation

Five ways to keep your brain healthy

Infographic with five ways to keep your brain healthy Five ways to keep your brain healthy

Recommended Content:

Brain Injury Awareness Toolkit | Brain Injury Awareness Toolkit | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | A Head for the Future | Brain Injury Awareness Toolkit | Brain Injury Awareness Toolkit

Every March, the Department of Defense recognizes Brain Injury Awareness Month to raise awareness of the importance of improving brain health and identifying, caring for, and treating individuals affected by traumatic brain injury, or TBI.

Focusing on brain health is key to mission readiness, and there are several steps that the military community – service members and veterans, health care providers, researchers, educators, and families - can take to maintain a healthy brain.

Here are five ways to keep your brain healthy:

1. Get plenty of sleep

Getting restful sleep is one of the most important things you can do for brain health. Sleep also plays a pivotal role in recovery from TBI. You can improve your sleep regimen with these healthy sleep tips:

  • Aim for a minimum of seven hours of sleep on a regular basis
  • Avoid stimulants such as caffeine, nicotine, and energy drinks within six hours of your usual bedtime
  • Exercise regularly, preferably finishing two hours before bedtime
  • Avoid alcohol within two hours of your bedtime
  • Promote a sleep friendly environment; minimize noise and light and maintain a cool but comfortable room temperature
  • Avoid use of smartphones or reading devices that give off light for two or more hours before bedtime.

2. Protect your head

Service members can limit their risk of experiencing a TBI by wearing a helmet or other protective equipment when training, deployed, or recreating. Many activities that service members engage in regularly, such as military training and sports or recreational activities, are potentially dangerous and could result in a TBI.

When wearing a helmet while playing sports or riding a bike or motorcycle, always remember the following tips from A Head for the Future:

  • Never wear a cracked or broken helmet
  • Never alter a helmet yourself
  • Regardless of wear and tear, always replace a helmet five years past the manufacturer's date to be sure it has the latest safety features

3. Take care of your mental health

The brain affects how we think, feel, and act. Damage to the brain, including from TBI, can affect physical function, thinking ability, behavior, mental health, and more. Severe TBIs increase the risk for mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression, as well as sleeping problems. Remember to seek medical treatment if you have symptoms of depression, anxiety, or other mental health concerns, especially if you have recently experienced a TBI.

4. Build your social networks

The ability to engage in productive personal and professional relationships, and positively interact with unit and command networks, is important to overall well-being and brain health. When you experience a TBI, changes to your personal and professional relationships are common. Some TBI symptoms, like mood swings and personality changes, can stress relationships. Friends, families, and coworkers who notice these changes, and are aware of a possible head injury, should encourage medical attention. Seeking medical attention for a potential TBI is a sign of strength, not weakness.

5. Get regular exercise and eat a healthy diet

Physical exercise is very beneficial for maintaining brain health. You can make a major difference in terms of how your body is functioning and, as a result, how your brain is functioning, through regular exercise.

Good nutrition is also essential to everyone's good health and wellness, and to warfighter readiness. The right diet can improve physical and cognitive performance, positively impact your mental health, lower your risk of many chronic diseases, and even help with recovery from some injuries.

The Department of Defense is committed to protecting the brain health of our service members. For more resources, please visit the webpage for the Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence.

You also may be interested in...

NICoE at forefront of traumatic brain injury research and treatment

Article
5/3/2021
Picture of a mask with the American flag on one side and camo on the other side

The National Intrepid Center of Excellence is dedicated to treating and researching TBI injuries with the aim of getting patients back to maximum function.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Traumatic Brain Injury | Centers of Excellence

Help With Ongoing Symptoms Following Concussion/Mild TBI Fact Sheet

Fact Sheet
4/28/2021

Although the majority of service members recover from concussion with little to no intervention, some experience symptoms beyond the first three months after their initial injury. This fact sheet addresses why symptoms continue to persist in some patients and how they can cope or seek additional help.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Patient and Family Resources | TBI Educators | Provider Resources | Traumatic Brain Injury

MACE 2 Provider Training Refresher

Publication
4/5/2021

This version of the MACE 2 Provider Training is a shortened refresher of the full-length training slides.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Provider Resources | TBI Educators | Traumatic Brain Injury

MHS Minute March 2021

Video
4/1/2021
Image of MHS Minute Carousel

March marked Brain Injury Awareness month in the military. We're spotlighting efforts across the MHS to combat Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), and better understand how TBI impacts our Service members. For more information about the National Intrepid Center of Excellence (NICoE), go to walterreed.tricare.mil/NICoE For more info on the Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence (TBICoE), go to Health.mil/TBICoE

Recommended Content:

Brain Injury Awareness Toolkit | Brain Injury Awareness Toolkit | Traumatic Brain Injury

DHA Centers of Excellence collaborate to improve TBI care

Article
3/31/2021
Medical personnel holding a model of the inner ear

The centers of excellence are divisions of the Defense Health Agency Research and Development Directorate.

Recommended Content:

Centers of Excellence | Traumatic Brain Injury | Brain Injury Awareness Toolkit | Brain Injury Awareness Toolkit

DOD warfighter brain health draft plan has six priorities

Article
3/31/2021
Military medical personnel looking at a patient's brain scan

Cognitive testing documentation throughout a service member’s career and beyond is one of six major operational concerns and priorities of service members.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury | Brain Injury Awareness Toolkit | Brain Injury Awareness Toolkit | Brain Injury Awareness Toolkit | Brain Injury Awareness Toolkit

Women leaders say military health care offers limitless opportunities

Article
3/30/2021
Military personnel speaking through a microphone

Women military health leaders speak on way toward equity and limitless opportunities.

Recommended Content:

Women's Health | Brain Injury Awareness Toolkit | Brain Injury Awareness Toolkit

What You Should Know About Concussions Fact Sheet

Fact Sheet
3/30/2021

This fact sheet is designed to educate deployed service members about traumatic brain injuries immediately after concussion injury.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Patient and Family Resources | Traumatic Brain Injury

Visual dysfunctions common in even mild TBI patients

Article
3/30/2021
Military health personnel examining a picture of an eye

Vision Center of Excellence ocular medical specialists discuss visual dysfunctions resulting from TBI.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | A Head for the Future | Brain Injury Awareness Toolkit | Brain Injury Awareness Toolkit | Brain Injury Awareness Toolkit | Brain Injury Awareness Toolkit | TBI Information | Vision and Hearing Loss Prevention

Intrepid Spirit Centers promote healing from traumatic brain injury

Article
3/30/2021
Military health personnel in physical therapy

Intrepid Spirit Centers help heal TBI service members’ brains with interdisciplinary program and model of care.

Recommended Content:

Brain Injury Awareness Toolkit | Brain Injury Awareness Toolkit | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | A Head for the Future | Brain Injury Awareness Month | Brain Injury Awareness Toolkit | Brain Injury Awareness Toolkit

Vision Problems After Concussion Fact Sheet

Fact Sheet
3/30/2021

This fact sheet helps concussed service members understand vision problems and provides insight into treatment options.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Patient and Family Resources | Provider Resources | Traumatic Brain Injury

Dover Air Force Base features ‘Park ‘N Pickup’ pharmacy

Article
3/26/2021
Picture of prescription sitting on a counter

Due to the increased need for patient safety, the 436th Medical Group pharmacy at Dover Air Force Base has implemented a Park ‘N Pickup process.

Recommended Content:

Brain Injury Awareness Toolkit | Coronavirus | Patient Safety

Historic observance celebrates the achievements of women

Article
3/25/2021
A flyer of three women in three separate pictures smiling

The DHA held a virtual observance—featuring a panel discussion on women’s history— in honor of Women’s History Month.

Recommended Content:

Brain Injury Awareness Toolkit | Brain Injury Awareness Toolkit | Women's Health

TBI Hot Topics Bulletin March 2021

Publication
3/24/2021

Are you a busy health care provider? Not enough time to keep up with the latest TBI research trends and news? Stay informed with the TBI Hot Topics Bulletin. TBICoE tracks the latest TBI scientific studies, advances, and discoveries most relevant to health care providers. This issue covers the fourth quarter of calendar year 2020.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | TBICoE Research | Provider Resources | Traumatic Brain Injury

Course improves patient care by identifying cause of errors

Article
3/19/2021
Military Personnel wearing face mask and posing for a picture

Knowing where problems may arise ultimately results in higher quality of patient care.

Recommended Content:

Patient Safety | Brain Injury Awareness Toolkit | Brain Injury Awareness Toolkit | Brain Injury Awareness Toolkit | Patient Safety Awareness Week
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 9

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.