Having a sharp memory is very crucial in every stage of our lives. For one, you have depended on your memory when you took that final exam back in your student days. You also relied on your memory skills to work your best as a professional in your career. Even more so on your senior years you did pay so much attention to improving your memory. After all, it is widely known that our memory declines during our golden years.
The truth is, we suffer from memory gaps every once in a while, no matter what age. Another fact is that memory gaps are not caused by age. Rather, our lifestyle mostly causes memory problems such as a poor diet, lack of sleep, stress, and exposure to chemicals and toxins.
Likewise, old age also doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll suffer from memory loss for the remainder of your lives. In reality, our brain is said to have the ability to adapt and change even in our golden years. We can achieve this with the right stimulation, which can form new neural pathways that can help our brains adapt to constant changes.
With these said, there is no wonder about the proliferation of prescriptions and medicines that claim to boost and improve your memory. While there’s generally no harm in taking these products, there are actually more effective (and sometimes inexpensive) ways to improve your memory.
Here are 5 simple ways to improve your memory, even during your senior years:
1. Playing games that can help stimulate your mind
According to research, not challenging or stimulating your brain with new information (or relying on the same information over and over again) will result to cognitive deterioration. On the contrary, you can counteract with that brain deterioration by providing your mind something challenging such as so-called “brain games”.
Like your body muscles, our memory needs some sort of “workout” every now and then. These mind exercises are good for breaking your usual routine and for challenging you to use your new brain pathways.
Among benefits of playing “brain games” -- this can include crossword puzzles among many things – include teaching you something new. Plus, this new skill can be built and develop, and you can feel a sense of achievement once you solve a hard problem.
2. Get enough sleep
Most probably you were told by your mother not to stay up late at night. Apparently, having enough sleep can boost your brain power. According to an article by Dr. Joseph Mercola, a natural health expert, naps can help infants boost their brain as well. In fact, “infants who slept in between learning and testing sessions had a better ability to recognize patterns in new information, which… plays an essential role in cognitive development.”
Likewise, if you are adult and you are advised to get up to 9 hours of sleep every night, don’t ignore it. Our brains needs some time to recharge and retain our memories for longer times, and one way to do so is by sleeping at the recommended length.
In order to achieve the right amount of sleep, we should be consistent with our sleeping schedule, avoid using gadgets and drinking caffeinated drinks at least an hour before going to sleep.
3. Eat brain-boosting foods
What you eat can greatly affect your cognitive function. For example, antioxidant-rich foods such as celery, broccoli, and walnuts can help protect brain health and even promote new brain cell production. Moreover, avoiding sugary and high-carb foods can also help prevent memory problems.
Likewise, increasing your vegetable and animal-based omega-3 fat intake such as krill oil, fish oil, and also coconut oil helps improve brain performance as well.
4. Physical exercise can also boost your mental performance!
Exercise not only can help improve your overall physical fitness, but also your mental fitness as well. As experts say, exercises or any physical activities that can keep your blood pumping is good for your brain health. Doing physical exercises in the morning can also help you to be alert and primed for today’s hustle-and-bustle. Likewise, physical activities that challenge your hand-eye coordination or motor skills can do wonders on your brain as well.
5. Avoid stress
It is said that stress is one of the brain’s worst enemies, as it can damage brain cells that can affect your cognitive function including memory loss. There are many ways to deal with everyday stress, including:
- Setting realistic expectations
- Taking breaks during work (ex. coffee breaks in the pantry or taking a short walk outside the building)
- Maintaining a work-life balance
- Avoiding multi-tasking