Your memory is how your brain files everything you have learned. Our brain is capable of storing an incredible amount of information and helps us remember what we have experienced. When we were kids, we could learn about ten words a day, and now the average adult can know 20,000 or more.
Memory plays a large role in our life, and no matter your age, it’s important to take steps to boost your memory and prevent memory loss. Research shows that the following strategies can you help you optimize your memory.
- Get Moving, Exercise, and Eat Healthier! – Physical and mental fitness go hand in hand. A six-year old study showed that people who engaged in regular vigorous exercise tend to stay mentally sharp well into their 70s and 80s. In addition, those who exercised more than three times a week had a lower risk of dementia than those who didn’t. Those who exercise regularly have better lung function that sends a higher volume of oxygen to the brain.
Exercise also helps reduce the risk for high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, and a stroke – diseases that can lead to memory loss. If not exercising regularly now, you should build physical activity into your daily routine. Going for a walk instead of driving, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, and setting aside some time for exercise are examples to take.
Eating healthy, one with a nutritious diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and healthy fat from fish, nuts, and whole grains is vital to maintaining your brain health. When your arteries are clear and cholesterol levels healthy, it decreases your chances for stroke, heart disease, and other health problems that damages brain function.
Avoid unhealthy foods that don’t provide the proper nutrients and are just “empty calories.” I love any type of gummy candy, and as much as I wish it, there is no benefit to eating it. Lots of fruits, veggies, and other healthy foods give your the vitamins and nutrients that protect your body against diseases that impair your memory.
- Get Rest and Sleep! – Studies have shown that the single greatest thing you can do for better performance and optimal memory is to get more sleep! More than one-third of working adults in the U.S. get less than 6 hours of sleep a night.
This equates to 40 million Americans on the road everyday with insufficient sleep and costs U.S. businesses more than $63 billion in lost productivity every year. Research shows that 7 to 9 hours is ideal. Sleep, especially high quality REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, is essential for memory consolidation and helping you recall facts and focus better.
Here are some resources below are articles to help you get higher quality sleep and improve your sleep hygiene!
- 7 Steps to Better Sleep So You Can Perform Better in Life! – Having trouble getting high-quality sleep? Try these 7 tips.
- Sleep to Lose Weight – The easiest way to lose weight
- Boost Memory with a Mid-Day Nap – Why you should take power naps
- Sleep Better By Avoiding Some Foods Before Bed – The foods you eat before bed can affect your sleep patterns. If you’re having a hard time sleeping soundly, consider eliminating some of these foods before bed.
- Tips For Being More Productive – Getting more sleep will help you be more productive.
- How Sleep Affects College Stress – Need to ace your final exams? Make sure you get enough sleep.
- 6 SMARTEST things you can do before you go to sleep! – Do these things before you go to sleep.
- Get Knowledgeable and Keep Learning! – In one study the characteristic that correlated the most with good memory in old age was the person’s level of education. Experts believe it is due to the fact that advanced education helps you get into the habit of being mentally active. The degree doesn’t matter, but life-long learning does.
Exercising your brain by learning stimulates communication between brain cells. Just like exercising your body keeps your muscles efficient and flexible, so does exercising your brain. The more brain connections and “cognitive reserve” you have, the less likely you are to experience disruption in your mental processes.
By engaging your brain with stimulating and challenging activities you give your brain greater protection down the road. Simple things like crossword puzzles, reading, playing chess, taking online classes, or learning a new hobby are some examples that can challenge your mind. Want to expand your mind about finances? Click here to take our 4-Step Course to Wealth and Financial Freedom!
- Quit the Smoking and Drinking! – Studies have shown that those who smoke and drink heavily perform worse in memory and cognitive functions. Even if you have been smoking for a long time, those who stop smoking have less memory decline than those who continue to smoke.
While some alcohol in moderation can be good for your health, excessive consumption is toxic to your brain neurons. Research shows that drinking too much is the main factor for Korsakoff’s syndrome, a disorder that causes sudden and irreversibly memory loss. If you are a heavy drinker, cutting back now can prevent further memory loss and can actually lead to recovery if damaged cognitive function.
Just like alcohol and smoking, other toxic substances such as paints, solvents, and pesticides can be harmful to your health and memory. Read the labels before using these types of products and make sure you use them in well ventilated areas.
- Have Fun in Life! – Research shows that social support and close relationships with friends, families, and caregivers, can help your memory as you get older. Social engagement benefits your cognitive function through stimulating interaction, help you be accountable to getting exercise and eating healthier, and even stop smoking and drinking less.
Also since stress is another driver of memory loss, having a good support system can help you during stressful times. We are social beings and whether we have lots of friends or a few deep relationships, it is important to surround ourselves with people that pull with us, pull for us, and pull against us to make us better people.
Lastly, while many of us enjoy sports, and other exhilarating activities, wearing a helmet with contact sports and taking safety precautions are important to prevent brain injury. Whether you are biking, skiiing, riding a motorcycle, or playing football, martial arts, or soccer, make sure you protect your head!
These step are an ongoing process you should do throughout your life to help preserve your memory. Your memory is important, so take care of it!