Why Crosswords and Sudoku are Fantastic for Your Mental Health

Both of these games are popular games, whether you play them on a mobile app or on your laptop or they’re featured in most newspapers if you want to play the old school with a pen on paper, they’re also commonly sold as books in places like airports as they’ll help keep you occupied on long flights. Although they’re popular games not everyone will be aware of them. Sudoku is a mathematics-based puzzle game, it’s set out as a large square with 9 3×3 squares within it.

The rules of the game are that the numbers 1-9 must appear in every square, along every row, and down every column and there can’t be 2 of the same number in any square, row, or column. Crosswords are a general knowledge-based puzzle, there will be a shape with numbers on it, these numbers indicate where the word starts and they match up with a numbered clue. If you figure out the answer to the clue then you can write it on the crossword, to finish is you must solve all the clues/answer all the questions. If your general knowledge isn’t amazing then you can do crosswords that are themed rather than general and you’ll likely be able to find them online on any topic that you want.

If you’re a sudoku fan and you’re bored of it then there are many extreme sudoku style games online too which require a lot more level strategy to figure out the correct position for all the numbers. Whichever games you decide to play it doesn’t matter as both of these games are absolutely fantastic for your mental health so we can’t recommend playing them enough.

The Science

Studies have shown that puzzle games such as sudoku and crosswords are fantastic for your mental health. The study that was conducted to come to this conclusion was a study that included 19,100 participants, they measured how often they played these word and number puzzles and how this affected their memory, attention, and their basic reasoning. The results showed that people who regularly play word and number puzzles have 10-year younger brain function than people their age and in short-term memory tests which they also had to try their brain function is equal to those 8-years younger. This translates to being great for your mental health too as it helps to keep your brain sharp, also as it helps you to reason better this is also a great tool to improving your mental health.

Dementia

There have also been studies into how increasing the number of puzzle games you play when you’re younger might have an impact on how likely it is that you’ll develop dementia when you’re older. These studies highly suggest that the more word and number puzzles you complete, or even attempt, whilst growing up will help to decrease the chances of developing dementia. The reason for this is that it improves your cognitive brain function, loss of this is what causes dementia so by keeping this strong the chances are much lower of ever getting it. Another study had participants who already had dementia but were not yet in a late stage of dementia. It monitored the effects that playing puzzle games has on those with dementia. The results of the study identified that the more of these games that are played increases the speed and accuracy of their performance and even showed some dramatic improvements in some of the participants.

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