Sudoku is a puzzle almost as popular as the traditional crossword. However, while it may just be a game you enjoy playing occasionally, could it also be good for your brain? We're going to look at the puzzle's benefits and explore if it can improve your broader thinking in the real world. We'll also investigate studies into the power Sudoku has for enhancing and developing the brain's cognition before outlining some tips for when you play.
The benefits of Sudoku
Playing Sudoku can be good for your brain in multiple ways. Sudoku is a challenging puzzle game requiring logical thinking, problem-solving, and memory skills. Regularly playing Sudoku can improve your cognitive abilities and mental agility.
Here are some ways that Sudoku puzzles can benefit your brain power.
Improves problem-solving skills
Sudoku requires critical thinking and deductive reasoning to solve the puzzles, so it can improve problem-solving and decision-making skills, which can be helpful in everyday life.
Enhances working memory
Playing Sudoku requires you to remember the numbers you've already placed in the puzzle and to keep track of the numbers you still need to use, helping improve your short-term memory and overall memory function.
Sudoku requires you to focus and concentrate on the puzzle to solve it, helping improve your overall ability to concentrate and stay focused for extended periods. Plus, the sense of accomplishment you reach when completing these challenging number puzzles can be satisfying.
Playing Sudoku can be a relaxing activity that can help reduce stress and anxiety. Your mental health can improve as a result.
Does Sudoku improve thinking?
Yes, playing Sudoku can improve thinking skills such as logic, problem-solving, and critical thinking. The game requires you to use logic and deduction to solve puzzles, which can help you improve these skills over time.
Sudoku puzzles present a challenge that requires you to use your brain in a focused and deliberate way. To solve a Sudoku puzzle, you must examine each row, column, and 3x3 box and use logic to determine which numbers should go in each cell. This requires a lot of concentration, attention to detail, and mental flexibility.
Regularly playing Sudoku can help train the brain to think more critically and creatively. Over time, you may develop a better understanding of how to approach and solve complex problems in other areas of life. This can be particularly beneficial for students or individuals who work in fields that require analytical thinking, such as mathematics or science.
In summary, playing Sudoku can improve thinking skills by challenging the brain to use logic, deduction, and critical thinking to solve puzzles. This can lead to enhanced cognitive abilities and a better understanding of approaching and solving problems in other areas of life.
Sudoku and the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
The International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry is a peer-reviewed medical journal focusing on mental health and ageing research. This journal has published several studies that explore the potential benefits of Sudoku for older adults.
One study published in the journal found that playing Sudoku can improve cognitive function and mental well-being in old age. The study involved 45 participants over 60 who played Sudoku regularly for six months. The researchers found that participants showed significant improvements in cognitive function and reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Another study published in the journal explored the potential benefits of Sudoku for individuals with mild cognitive impairment (MCI). The study involved 20 participants with MCI who played Sudoku for 30 minutes a day, five days a week, for three months. The researchers found that the participants saw improved cognitive function and memory loss, suggesting that Sudoku may be a helpful tool for individuals with MCI.
These studies suggest that Sudoku may positively affect cognitive brain function and mental well-being in later life. However, more research is needed to fully understand the potential benefits of Sudoku and other mentally stimulating activities for older adults and individuals with cognitive impairments.
Tips for playing Sudoku for brain health
Given that playing Sudoku can be an excellent way to maintain and improve your brain health, here are some tips for playing - so you can derive the most value and fun out of the game:
To see the benefits of Sudoku on your brain health, it is essential to play regularly. Aim to play at least a few times a week, if not daily.
Start with easier puzzles and gradually increase the difficulty level as you improve. Challenging yourself with more complex puzzles can help keep your brain active and engaged.
Focus on problem solving
When playing Sudoku, focus on the problem solving aspect of the game. Try to figure out the logical reasoning behind each move, and don't be afraid to experiment until you find the right solution.
Use pencil and paper
Although you can play Sudoku online or with an app, using pencil and paper can provide an additional cognitive workout. Writing the numbers down can help improve your fine motor skills and provide additional mental stimulation.
Mix it up
While Sudoku is an excellent brain game, it's important to mix it up with other brain exercises to promote overall brain health. Consider other puzzle games like crosswords or word searches, or engage in physical activity, which also benefits mental health.