This article was developed via a partnership with BetterHelp
Memory loss is a common feature of aging that many people fear. Our memory stores our experiences, our skills, and even our identity. Therefore, it is understandable that many people worry about memory loss as it can equate to losing your sense of who you are.
Furthermore, some people struggle with more severe memory issues, such as dementia or Alzheimer’s, and may even need memory care. Many people who witness their loved ones going through these struggles may be encouraged to care more for their brain health. However, it is not always clear how to improve your memory or prevent these conditions, especially if they are genetic.
Luckily though, there are many things you can do now to improve your memory and prevent or lessen dementia in your golden years. The best way to help your memory is by creating a healthy lifestyle. Here are a few lifestyle tips that will boost your memory.
Get Plenty Of Sleep
Proper sleep is essential to keep your memory in tip-top shape. Sleep helps with memory consolidation, which is the process of turning short-term memories into long-term ones. In other words, sleep is a crucial function that is necessary for the formation of memories. Conversely, a lack of sleep means that your brain will struggle to retain memories, making every aspect of your life much more difficult.
Sleep is also vital for focus and recall. Think about the last time you didn’t get enough sleep. You probably had great difficulty remembering important information or focusing on the task at hand. Consistent poor sleep habits can worsen this effect and hurt the memory process. Therefore, if you wish to boost your memory, you need to get at least seven to nine hours of sleep each night.
Improve Your Diet
Diet isn’t just important for your physical health; it is crucial for optimal mental health and memory too. Unhealthy diets full of sugar and carbs are often linked to poor memory skills and cognitive functioning. Unfortunately, these diets are all too common, which may be one reason why so many people struggle with their memories as time goes on.
So if you want a good boost to your memory, you need to clean out your diet. Cut down on added and processed sugars and minimize your refined carb intake. You should also reduce your consumption of other inflammatory foods, such as meat or fast food. Conversely, incorporating anti-inflammatory foods such as fruits and vegetables has been associated with improved memory and a reduced risk of dementia.
Furthermore, you should cut out substances that can affect your memory and brainpower, such as alcohol or certain drugs. Having a sober mind is the best foundation for good memory and overall brain health.
Exercise not only feels good but is essential for your brain health. Research shows that exercise increases the secretion of neuroprotective proteins and helps neurons grow and develop. These are crucial functions for brain health and, therefore, positively impact memory.
Furthermore, studies have consistently shown that moderate exercise leads to improved cognitive performance, increased memory, and a decreased risk for dementia. Even just small bouts of exercise of at least 15 minutes can significantly benefit your memory and brain health.
People who socialize often have a more active brain functioning than those who do not. Specifically, the parts of the brain that are associated with memory function better during socialization than when alone. In fact, socialization has been shown to be an important factor in preventing or lessening dementia, Alzheimer’s, and general cognitive decline. So one of the best ways to keep your mind sharp is to surround yourself with great friends and loved ones.
The benefits of meditation seem endless. This practice is known to reduce stress and pain and has also shown benefits in improving memory. In fact, meditation has been shown to increase gray matter, which is essential for the good functioning brain and memory system. The decline in the gray matter has been associated with dementia and memory problems, so increasing it is likely to prevent these issues.
Memory is a critical function for any human, no matter what age you are. Therefore, it is important to take care of your brain at a young age to ensure it is healthy in your golden years. By developing the lifestyle outlined in this article, you will be well on your way to improving your memory and preventing memory-related issues such as dementia or Alzheimer’s. For more information on how memory works and how to improve it, you can find more resources here.