Can’t find your keys? Can’t remember what time your child just told you their practice will be over? Having difficulty keeping your train of thought?
Don’t let moments of lapses in memory trick you into thinking your memory is already slipping. Although the area of your brain that is responsible for building memory has been found to lose five percent of its nerve cells with each decade, there are a number of variables that play into maintaining and even boosting your memory. All of it comes down to simple, almost mundane things, that can make a difference over time.
Don’t believe that your capacity for memory peaks in your early adulthood years, because quite the opposite is true. Researchers have found that anyone can increase their ability to learn and remember new things via a process known as neuroplasticity, which according to medicine.net means “the brain’s ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life.”
As with most things in life, diet and exercise play an important role in a well-functioning brain. Colorful fruits and vegetables and antioxidant-rich foods are known to guard your brain from free radicals. The Mediterranean diet is often referred to as a great way to get the nutrients and omega-3 fatty acids essential to cognitive function.
While 30 minutes of daily activity is recommended by physicians for physical health, It can improve your memory as well. Studies have shown that participants had improved memory test results when taken after exercising, as opposed to the other group that did not participate in any physical activity. Exercise induces, norepinephrine, a chemical known to have a solid effect on memory. If that’s not enough to persuade you to get moving, exercise is also known to increase the size of your brain. Larger brain = better ability to remember.
Sleep is vital to our well-being, but many people don’t realize they also have the benefit of retaining more information. Getting eight hours of quality sleep (i.e. no interruptions, being able to fall into a deep state of sleep) helps the brain to shift memories from short-term (temporary) to long-term storage. It is often recommended to stay away from bright screens before dozing off, because they disrupt the body’s ability to drift off to sleep.
Last tip: Put an end to trying to be the champion of multitasking. Trying to do too many things at once might make you feel like you’re accomplishing a lot, but it’s more likely that you are forgetting helpful bits of information along the way. Important things like remembering where you left your cell phone or put down your car keys. Doing one task at a time leaves you with a mental play-by-play to refer back to you if you need to remember something.
So, the final test… Do you remember everything you just read?