Everyone forgets things from time to time. Periodically forgetting where you left your keys is likely not indicative of a bad memory. But some people find themselves forgetting things more frequently, a troubling development for those who can’t explain their sudden loss of memory.
Memory loss is often considered to go hand-in-hand with aging. As a person ages, conventional wisdom suggests memory will begin to fade. But sometimes memory loss has nothing to do with aging, and a lot to do with a brain that isn’t sharp because of an unhealthy lifestyle. The following are a few ways men and women can improve their memory.
- Get some sleep. Men and women who aren’t getting enough sleep can almost certainly blame that lack of shut-eye for at least some of their memory loss. When you don’t get enough sleep, your brain’s ability to think critically, solve problems and even be creative is compromised considerably. In addition, research has shown that memory-enhancing activities occur during the deepest stages of sleep, further highlighting the importance of getting a full night of interruption-free rest.
- Hit the gym. Exercise is another activity that can improve memory. Daily physical exercise increases the amount of oxygen that gets to your brain while reducing the risk for certain disorders, including diabetes and cardiovascular disease, both of which can lead to memory loss.
- Manage stress effectively. Stress has a host of negative side effects, not the least of which is its impact on your memory. Chronic stress that goes untreated can destroy brain cells and damage the region of the brain that deals with the formation of new memories as well as the retrieval of older memories. Numerous studies have shown that men and women cite their career as their primary source of stress. Since quitting your job is likely not an option, find ways to manage your stress more effectively. This may mean finding a way to make the most of your time, be it working more efficiently, emphasizing planning ahead or even vowing to stop procrastinating. Other ways to manage stress include making time to relax and recognizing that you have limits while seeking the help of others.
- Make some dietary changes. Diet can also have an impact on memory. What you eat is fuel for both your body and your brain, and a poor diet can have a negative impact on your memory. Be sure to include omega-3 fatty acids, sources of which include salmon, tuna and other cold water fatty fish, in your diet. Research has shown that omega-3 fatty acids, which can also be found in walnuts, can boost brain power and possibly reduce your risk for Alzheimer’s disease.
Foods with antioxidants, including fruits and vegetables, can also protect your brain cells from damage, which can have a positive impact on your memory. Leafy green vegetables like spinach, romaine lettuce and arugula as well as fruits like apricots, mangoes and cantaloupe are good sources of antioxidants.
A diet high in saturated fat, which is found in red meat, whole milk, butter and cheese, has been found to have a negative impact on memory. Research has shown that such a diet increases a person’s risk of developing dementia while impairing an individual’s ability to concentrate and remember things.
Loss of memory is often a momentary lapse, but those who find themselves becoming more and more forgetful can take steps to improve their memory and their quality of life.
Prioritizing a good night’s sleep is one way to improve memory.