Memory loss and cognitive functions don’t just affect elderly individuals. People are constantly searching for new and innovative ways to improve their memory, boost productivity, and improve their attention span and focus. Aside from cognitive disorders like dementia or amnesia, other external factors can negatively impact a person’s ability to recall recent and past events and concentrate on current obstacles. Things like certain medications, the foods you eat, and even an abundance of stress can actually compromise your memory. Here are 7 ways to combat these natural and external factors and boost your memory.
1. Limit Media Overload
Although multitasking is beneficial in some respects, it can actually overload your brain and decrease your ability to remember both simple and complex information. These effects are made worse when media and electronics are involved. Some studies show that when people bounce from one media or electronic source to another, including cell phones, television, or tablets, that their immediate attention span and ability to remember things is greatly compromised. When you multitask, it’s more difficult for your brain to determine what information is important and what you can disregard. Media can also be very distracting. If you’re in the middle of an important task or are concentrating, a text or email alert can easily distract you and cause you to forget what you were doing mere moments before. This confuses your brain, making it harder to focus and retain information.
2. Time Your Workouts and Information Input
It’s no secret that exercise plays an important part in maintaining a healthy lifestyle, but did you know that timing your exercise and information input can actually help you remember things more clearly? High intensity cardiovascular workouts immediately before or directly after learning new information have been said to improve a person’s ability to retain facts and recall that information later on. Not to mention, cardiovascular exercise is also proven to reduce a person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and other related cognitive disorders.
3. Try Nootropics
While some medications can impair your memory and cognitive function, other medications and supplements might actually enhance these skills and support improved creativity. This useful source explains more. Nootropics encompass several chemical compounds that are said to improve a person’s cognitive function, motivation, and memory. But in order to be classified as a nootropic, a supplement must offer 5 main benefits, as follows:
- Help the brain function under disruptive conditions.
- Have few or no side effects.
- Enhance a person’s memory and their ability to learn.
- Increase the function of the brain’s neuron firing control mechanisms.
- Protect the brain from physical and chemical assaults.
Nootropics come in pill form, as well as vials and in both food and drink form, found in products like coffee and snack bars.
4. Get a Good Night’s Sleep
A quality night’s sleep is often the secret to many common ailments from reducing stress to weight loss. But giving your mind and body adequate rest can also boost brain power. In fact, sleep is so important for cognitive function that it may actually benefit your brain power more than your waking hours. During sleep, your mind has the opportunity to review and consolidate recently learned information with minimal distraction. And each stage of sleep benefits your memory in different ways. For example, during the body’s REM cycle (rapid eye movement), your mind strengthens newly acquired information and memories. Slow-wave sleep helps reactivate that same information but also store it efficiently for long-term memory benefits. Quality sleep is especially important in children and young adults who are acquiring new and useful information every day.
5. Adjust Your Diet
The foods you put into your body directly affect its functionality. So it’s no surprise that certain foods, vitamins, and nutrients can boost brain power and improve your memory. Foods high in sugar have been linked to a breakdown in cognitive function. Not to mention, high sugar levels cause additional health complications including obesity and heart disease. Monitor your intake of refined carbohydrates as well, which contain sugar and other ingredients that may negatively affect memory. Things like white rice, cake, cookies, and breads can actually damage your mind’s ability to recall information. That’s because refined carbs have a high glycaemic index, which means your metabolism digests these foods very quickly, causing a spike in blood sugar levels. But eliminating certain foods from your diet isn’t enough. There are actually brain boosting foods you should incorporate into your daily regime to help keep your brain healthy, strong, and working efficiently. These include:
- Dark chocolate
- Pumpkin seeds
And boosted brain power is only one of the many benefits foods like these offer to your overall health and well-being.
6. Build on the Information You Currently Have
One of the best ways to improve your memory is to build on information you already have stored in your brain’s database. The ability to make references to previous information and develop meaningful connections will help you remember new information more efficiently. Your brain can now make associations between different pieces of information. It’s also interesting to note that your ability to recall and remember information is based heavily on how efficiently you first learn and internalize those facts and details. Recalling past information and building on it actually strengthens cognitive function, allowing you to pull from existing knowledge more easily in the future.
7. Try Meditation and Mindfulness
You already know that in order to have strong bones and muscles, you need to exercise. Strength training helps build lean muscle. Cardiovascular exercises help strengthen and work the muscles of your heart and lungs. Your brain needs a workout too in order to stay strong and function at optimum levels. And practicing mindfulness and meditation can do just that. While both meditation and mindfulness help you connect with your mind and body, they are different practices. Meditation is a more focused, formal practice, whereas mindfulness can be applied to most any situation. During mindfulness, you become completely aware and mentally present in the current situation. This helps strengthen your focus and your ability to control and gauge your emotions and thoughts. The more you practice mindfulness, the easier it will be for your body to become naturally aligned with your mind. Meditation is also beneficial for strengthening cognitive function by increasing the amount of gray matter found in the brain. Gray matter contains neuron cell bodies, which helps memory and cognitive function. This matter decreases with age, so it’s important to practice meditation regularly.
Improved memory and cognitive function don’t come without work. Just like any other muscle in the body, your brain needs exercise, rest, and proper nutrients to work efficiently and serve you best. Be mindful of your decisions and these small changes might just help you recall and retain information for years to come.
Article Submitted By Community Writer