Is your memory not what it used to be? You misplace your keys and forget a few birthdays, and it takes you weeks to remember your online banking password every time they make you change it.
But memory decline is just a natural part of aging, and there’s nothing you can do about it, right? Not so fast. Science has proven there are many ways to improve memory, regardless of your age.
Try these five simple memory boosters:
Get Enough Sleep
Of all the ways to improve memory, getting enough sleep might be the most important. Scientists have long known that sleep plays a major role in memory formation and storage.
According to a recent study from the University of Freiburg, sleep actually resets the brain. Without sleep, the brain becomes muddled with all the electrical connectivity that builds up throughout the day while we’re awake. Sleeping helps your brain process your thoughts and strengthen your memory.
Take Up a New Hobby
Perhaps you’ve always wanted to learn how to knit, play an instrument or take photographs. Here’s a great reason to stop putting it off. According to NPR, learning a new skill helps to keep your brain sharp and boost your memory.
Exercise isn’t just good for the body; it’s good for the brain. According to the British Journal of Sports Medicine, researchers found that regular aerobic exercise — the kind that makes you sweat and gets your heart rate up — can actually increase the size of the hippocampus, the part of the brain that is involved in verbal memory and learning.
Reduce Sugar and Saturated Fats
People who are overweight or consume too much sugar and fat are more likely to suffer memory loss than people who are lean and eat more healthy foods. A Harvard study has also shown links between Alzheimer’s and diets that are high in cholesterol and fat. However, the Mediterranean diet — which includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fish — might help to boost brain health.
Indulge in Chocolate and Coffee
Not all sweets are bad for your brain. The Washington Post reports that eating chocolate at least once a week can significantly improve your memory. For a short-term memory boost, caffeine can also be helpful. Researchers from John Hopkins University found that consuming caffeine after reviewing new information enhances those memories for up to 24 hours.
If these tips don’t work for you or if your memory continues to get worse, talk to your doctor about other steps you can take to keep your brain healthy.
Advice or recommendations are for informational or educational purposes only, not a substitute for a visit or consultation with your doctor.
BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee members can access wellness-related discounts on fitness products, gym memberships, healthy eating and more through Blue365®. BCBST members can also use tools and resources to help improve health and well-being by logging into BlueAccess and going to the in the Member Wellness Center under the Managing Your Health tab.