The benefit of puzzles for the brain

Posted on: 27/01/2023

According to research*, it has been found that older adults who regularly take part in word and number puzzles have sharper brains. The more often they played puzzles, the better their brain function.

A study found that doing crossword puzzles could reduce the onset of dementia by two and a half years. This suggests that mentally stimulating activities may help delay the onset of symptoms, but on their own, they cannot prevent dementia. Brain puzzles may however be considered as part of a more comprehensive dementia prevention programme that also involves exercise and healthy eating.

Below are some of the health and wellbeing benefits that puzzles can have:

  • They improve short-term memory

Working on a puzzle reinforces connections between brain cells, improves mental speed and is an effective way to improve short-term memory.

  • They enhance your mood

Puzzles increase the production of dopamine, a chemical that regulates mood, memory, and concentration. Dopamine is released with every success as we solve the puzzle.

  • They make it easier to unwind

Although it is tempting to unwind by watching the television or by reading on a tablet, the body should avoid screen time before bed. Puzzles provide a much better opportunity to relax, making it easier to fall asleep and properly switch off.

  • They improve visual and spatial reasoning

You need to look at individual parts of a jigsaw puzzle, or available spaces in a crossword puzzle and figure out how to fit the pieces or words into their space. If done regularly, this will improve your visual and spatial reasoning skills.

  • They offer stress relief

By doing a jigsaw puzzle, you are getting the same benefits as if you meditated. The stress of everyday life disappears and is replaced by a sense of peace and tranquillity that lowers your blood pressure and heart rate.

  • They sharpen your logic and reasoning

Puzzles are intended to exercise your brain. Crossword puzzles, riddles, word searches and logic problems can all activate different parts of your brain, helping you to hone your critical and analytical thinking skills.

Why not try a puzzle with your family and see the benefits for yourself?