Is Sudoku good for your brain?

If you’re looking for a way to stretch your brain and improve your memory, puzzles found online and in the newspaper, such as Sudoku, could be a fun option. Let's look at whether Sudoku is good for your brain so you can decide if it's an approach for you.

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Is Sudoku good for your brain?
  • Sudoku can help improve brain power and reduce cognitive decline
  • A study by the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry showed that Sudoku also relieved anxiety
  • Playing regularly and completing challenging puzzles can reap mental rewards for players
  • Regular players also see an increase in their concentration, which in turn improves their working memory

Sudoku and your brain: FAQs

  • What is Sudoku?

    Sudoku is a logic-based puzzle game that originated in Japan. The game's objective is to fill a 9x9 grid with numbers so that each row, column, and 3x3 sub-grid contains all the digits from 1 to 9, with no repetition. The game is an excellent way to improve cognitive skills like logical thinking, problem-solving, and memory, making it a popular choice for brain training activities.

  • Can Sudoku help prevent Alzheimer’s disease?

    Some evidence suggests engaging in activities like Sudoku can help reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia. However, it's essential to seek a medical professional's advice if you think you are at risk of dementia, regardless of what the latest study finds and is publicised in the media.

  • What mobile apps are good for Sudoku?

    Many mobile apps are available for Sudoku, ranging from simple and straightforward to more complex and challenging brain training games. Sudoko.com, Sudoku 10,000 and Sudoku Quest are all great examples. When selecting a Sudoku app, consider the difficulty level, features, and user interface to find one that best suits your needs and preferences. Some may even offer other games, such as crossword puzzles.

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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.

Boosts concentration

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.

Reduces stress 

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:

Play regularly 

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.

Challenge yourself 

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.

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