Have you noticed little things slipping your mind lately? Maybe you forgot a few items at the grocery store, or completely blanked on why you just walked into the kitchen. Memory loss is a natural part of ageing, and you’re bound to experience it to some degree, but if you have a big presentation or exam coming up, you want your brain to be in the best shape possible. Luckily there are some easy ways to help improve your memory in the short and long run.
Exercise helps every bodily function in one way or another, but when it comes to memory, it’s practically magic. In the short run, cardiovascular exercise will increase blood flow to the brain, delivering more oxygen and nutrients to your memory machine. Over time, aerobic exercise has also been found to actually create new neurons, and increase the size of the hippocampus, the brain structure responsible for memory storage.
Get a good night’s sleep
If you’ve ever crammed all night for a test and failed anyway, you’ve experienced the importance of sleep’s effect on memory. During sleep, the brain consolidates memory, moving it from short to long-term storage. This means that after a good night’s sleep you’ll actually know the thing you’re trying to remember, instead of just hoping it’s in the limited number of items you can store in your short-term memory.
Eat for memory
Low carb diets for weight loss are popular but don’t start one the day before your big presentation. Glucose, the substance created when carbohydrates are broken down during digestion, is the brain’s #1 source of energy. People starting low carb diets often experience “low-carb flu”, a feeling of fatigue and mental fog while the body adjusts to a lack of readily-available glucose. And, of course, you should get your brain food! Omega-3 fatty acids are essential building blocks of the structure of the brain and help protect against cognitive decline in your later years.
Memory apps were all the rage a few years ago. Unfortunately, there’s not much solid evidence that these kinds of games actually improve your recall. However, that doesn’t mean you don’t get to play your way to better memory. Learning something new and exciting has been proven to stimulate your neurons, and decrease the risk of dementia.