A pilot’s life in training… Poor nutrition, no time to exercise, worried about passing the check, anxiety with so much to learn, and we can’t help but feeling depressed living in a hotel room for five to six weeks.
Worry, Anxiety, and Depression:
The good news is, that a little bit of worry actually can help the memory…if it kicks you into gear to study. But too much worry will lead to anxiety. Unfortunately anxiety reduces available working memory capacity. Too much anxiety… and depression sets in. And a depressed individual’s processing capacity and lack of motivation will contribute to inferior cognitive performance.
Stress not only physically hurts you, but destroys your ability to recall. A small amount of stress can be good to get you moving, but too much will kill brain cells. Stress disrupts a chemical communication essential to learning. It stimulates cortisol, a hormone that helps process carbohydrates, but in excess will damage brain cells. Stress inhibits the brain’s ability to absorb glucose (the brain’s primary energy source) and robs its ability to moderate other chemical signals. Too much stress means that your brain cells will become overexcited and either become severely damaged, or killed.
Legal Substance Abuse:
Painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs such as Ibuprofen are detrimental to your long-term memory… not to mention potential kidney failure.
Alcohol impairs your memory when you drink too much because the ethanol is broken down into various products which reduce calcium concentrations in the brain. The brain needs calcium to communicate, and thus your mind begins to slow down and forgets. Drinking in moderation there is no impact on recall or learning. However moderate consumption can hurt information processing tasks. A deficiency in B1 is also associated with chronic alcoholism, which affects your attention and reaction time.
Caffeine can over stimulate the brain making concentration and learning difficult. Staying up late at night, and filling up with caffeine is actually disruptive to learning.
All I can say is that it’s amazing how pilots have survived this long! Maybe what they don’t know won’t hurt them?
Tomorrow… the difference between male and female brains...