It is a truth universally acknowledged that as we age, our memory starts to falter. We lose words. We can’t recall trivia that we used to know. And where on earth did we put our housekeys? The good news is that you can boost your neuroplasticity — that’s the ability to form new networks in your brain to improve memory — with a few simple habits.
A diet rich in antioxidants, vitamins D and B12, and omega 3 fatty acids has been shown to boost memory in as little as two weeks! You can get those nutrients from supplements, but you’re better off consuming foods where they naturally occur. That means getting plenty of fish, colorful veggies, and sunlight. You should also limit the amount of red meat you eat, since beef is high in potentially harmful omega-6 fatty acids.
“Use it or lose it” applies to our ability to learn and retain new information. If you want to improve memory function, try learning a new skill! These days, you can learn to play an instrument using online videos or download an app to master a new language, so there’s no excuse not to give it a try.
Health Tips Daily Insider Advice: You’re more likely to succeed in learning something new if you have a goal to work toward. Aim to have a conversation in a new language or play a favorite song for your family and friends!
Scientists believe that during deep sleep, the day’s memories get moved from short-term to long-term storage. But that only happens if you’re getting enough sleep, so make sure that you have 8 uninterrupted hours. Don’t eat too close to bedtime, put away your phone or tablet, and consider a melatonin supplement. Many wristband fitness trackers monitor your sleep, letting you see how often you hit those all-important deep sleep stages.
Brainteasers such as puzzles, Sudoku, and crosswords are like weight-training exercises for your mind. By engaging in just a few minutes of focused puzzle-solving activity, you can help improve memory function and stay entertained. That’s a win-win!
Health Tips Daily Insider Advice: Make sure that you’re feeling challenged; if the puzzles are too easy, you won’t get the same benefits.
People who engage in moderate exercise have been proven to perform better on memory tests than those who hang out on the couch. Researchers think the effect may be linked to norepinephrine, a chemical produced during exercise. To get the full benefits, you’ll need to do about 20 minutes of exercise every day. Experts recommend walking—but if you’re looking for low impact exercise, check out these fantastic workouts!
Multitasking is making us less productive and more likely to forget things. When we divide our attention between two—or three, or four—things at the same time, it’s no wonder that our memory suffers. One trick to cementing memories is to state the information out loud. For example, if you’re making plans with a friend via text message, you might say “I am meeting Sharon at noon on Wednesday for lunch.”
Health Tips Daily Insider Advice: Try setting a timer for 15 minutes and focus completely on the task at hand until the buzzer goes off. No phones, no music, no TV. Just focus!