Have you ever walked into another room to get something and once you arrived, had no idea why you were there or what you needed in the first place? Or have you been at a social gathering and know you recognize a person across the room, but just can’t recall his or her name? Or maybe you’ve been mid-presentation, really on a roll, but all of a sudden, the word you need completely escapes you? No? Well, if that’s true, this article may not be for you. But if you’re one of the 39 million Americans who have misplaced a common item in the last week1, there just may be a few things you can do to combat normal signs of memory wear and tear.
- Sleep. Recent studies show that sleep is a time not only for your brain to rest, but also to sort and store new memories.2 Shoot for 7 to 8 hours a night in a sleep-promoting environment to zero in on the right amount of sleep for you. Need some tips on getting the sleep you need? Check out Supplementally Speaking’s post on healthy sleep from earlier this year.
- Exercise. There is no shortage of support for the claim that exercise improves brain function, so if you haven’t made daily movement a priority yet, do it now. Working out floods the brain with health-promoting oxygen, leaving it better prepared to function on every level.3
- Learn. Making your brain work to learn something new, or regularly practicing a detail-oriented, brain-challenging occupation may lead to better memory later in life.4 But you can accomplish this with other things too, like puzzles, crosswords, quizzes, number games and apps that combine all these things to keep your brain working hard.
- Experience. Don’t let your life fall into the same old routine. Mixing things up in small ways (like brushing your teeth with your non-dominant hand or while standing on one foot) or big ones (like experiencing a new culture through travel or learning a new hobby) forces your brain out of familiarity and into learning and strengthening mode.5
- Eat smart. Boosting brain health through nutrition is a great way to increase recall. Focus on adding in the following memory-promoting foods:
- Veggies: think cruciferous, like cabbage and cauliflower, and dark leafy greens like kale to increase healthy blood flow to the brain.6
- Berries and cherries: fresh, frozen or dried, berries and cherries offer flavonoids and anthocyanins that may boost memory function.7
- Omega-3 fatty acids: Memory bosting docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) found in seafood and fatty fish promotes good brain health. If you’re not a fish eater, talk to your doctor about supplementation of DHA.8
- Get zen. Research suggests that the focus required for the practice of meditation may increase blood flow to the brain and in turn, memory function. Find ways to disconnect and zero in on the simplicity of your breathing and the moment you’re in.9
- Yuk it up. There’s no doubt that stress is bad for our bodies and our minds. But there’s a natural enemy of stress and it’s well within your reach: laughter. Whether you get it while being social with friends, watching cat videos online or teeing up your favorite comedy, do it and do it often. You just may get a memory boost along with some feel-good hormones.10
- Use it or lose it. When it comes to memory, you’ve got to use it so you don’t lose it. Researchers report the most likely time to lose a memory is right after you have made it, but that doesn’t mean the older memories are there indefinitely. Taking regular trips down memory lane helps solidify your stories, but the same applies to learning, not just remembering. The more you go over and share new material, the more permanent of a memory it becomes.11
This blog post is intended for educative and entertainment purposes only. It should not be construed as a solicitation
1 Emling, Shelley. "Study Shows Millennials Are More Forgetful Than Seniors." The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 02 Aug. 2013. Web. 06 July 2017. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/02/millennial-forgetfulness_n_3695512.html.link opens in a new window
2,3,4,9,10 "How To Improve Your Memory In 10 Effective Steps." Prevention. N.p., 12 May 2017. Web. 06 July 2017.http://www.prevention.com/health/health-concerns/ways-improve-your-memory.link opens in a new window
5 The Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones & Company, n.d. Web. 06 July 2017. http://guides.wsj.com/health/elder-care/how-to-keep-your-brain-fit/.link opens in a new window
6,7,8"4 Types of Foods to Help Boost Your Memory."Www.eatright.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 July 2017. http://www.eatright.org/resource/health/wellness/healthy-aging/memory-boosting-foods.link opens in a new window
11 Publications, Harvard Health. "Forgetfulness - 7 types of normal memory problems." Harvard Health. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 July 2017. http://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/forgetfulness-7-types-of-normal-memory-problems.link opens in a new window