Memory lapses happen to all of us. One person forgets their grocery list, another misplaces their car keys and a student struggles to remember what he read for finals. Everyone forgets things occasionally but few of us realise that how much we remember (or forget) is largely determined by the health and vitality of our brains.
Simply put, the sharper your brain is, the sharper your memory will be.
The good news is there are things you can do to improve your mental performance and keep your memory sharp. Just follow these 6 simple health tips:
1. Give your brain a workout
Mentally stimulating activities exercise your brain, keeping it in shape the same way physical activity works out your body. Things like solving crosswords or Sudoku, mastering new chess strategies, learning a new skill or language all force you to develop new ways of thinking, stimulating the brain and keeping memory loss in check.
2. Regularly hang out with family and friends
Socializing with your loved ones might seem like an odd way of improving your memory. However, researchers from Harvard University found that those with the most active social lives had slower rates of memory decline.
Having a strong support system and meaningful friendships helps to fend off stress and depression which might contribute to memory loss. So create more chances to hang out with those you love.
3. Feed your brain
What you eat can help you have razor-sharp memory and focus. A diet rich in antioxidants, lean protein, and healthy fats will keep your brain in top shape and ward off dementia. So load up on blueberries, citrus fruits, fish, avocados, nuts and whole grains to boost your brain power. Also, keep alcohol and soda consumption to a minimum and guzzle lots of water instead.
4. Protect your hearing
The connection between your hearing and memory might not be obvious but it exists. For starters, hearing loss puts a strain on your relationships, leading to more isolation (see tip no. 2). It also makes your brain concentrate so hard on deciphering what people are saying that other functions like memory formation are overlooked. To prevent this, get your hearing checked regularly so that any problems are detected and corrected early enough.
5. Get enough shut-eye
Far from shutting down, our brains remain active while we sleep, carrying out vital processes which include memory consolidation which makes it easy for you to remember what you learned during the day. Since you need about 7-9 hours of sleep to boost your memory and productivity, learn to turn in early.
6. Break a sweat
Just because you’re exercising your brain doesn’t mean that you ignore your body. A good physical workout gets your blood pumping, keeping your circulatory system healthy enough to supply your brain with oxygen. This, in turn, boosts mental performance. Additionally, exercise stimulates the growth of new neurons keeping your brain healthy and preventing cognitive decline.