Tips to improve your memory
A good memory may be a beneficial tool for a variety of reasons. For example, if you’re preparing for a test or exam, having an excellent memory might help you recall the answers from the knowledge you’ve acquired and receive the needed scores. Furthermore, preserving your memory as you age can help you safeguard your brain tissue, retain your mental sharpness, and avoid dementia and other kinds of cognitive decline. When circumstances are challenging, remembering joyful and soothing memories may help you stay optimistic and provide comfort.
You don’t have to rely on technology all the time if you have a good recall. With that stated, instead of turning to Google, Siri, or Alexa when you need to know something, consider searching your memory or looking in a book. Although technology might simplify life, it is a significant issue that we are losing our ability to think for ourselves. For instance, I have my mother’s, son’s, daughter’s, and partner’s phone numbers saved in my phone. I wouldn’t be able to contact them if I lost it since I don’t know their phone numbers. I can, however, give you my home phone number from when I was a youngster. It is not kept on a SIM card but rather in my memory. This is a fantastic illustration of how, on the one side, technology may be beneficial, yet without it, we are lost. If you want to give yourself an advantage in life, working on improving your memory is well worth your time. Meanwhile, I’m going to make a concerted effort to memorize my loved ones’ phone numbers!
Even in old age, the human brain may alter and evolve. This is known as neuroplasticity. When you excite your brain, it can build new neural pathways. This implies that you can learn and recall new knowledge even as you age. Neuroplasticity allows you to increase your cognitive talents, learning skills, and memory throughout your life. Using your brain creates multiple connections that allow you to rapidly grasp and recall information, solve issues, and know how to contact your family if you lose your phone! Having said that, there is always space for improvement.
The expression “use it or lose it” applies to both physical strength and memory. Our memory will degrade if we do not engage and stimulate our brains. If an engine is not utilized, it will seize and be considerably more challenging to start.
The more you push your brain, the better it will be able to process, organize, and retain knowledge. However, not all activities are made equal; the most effective brain workouts pull you out of your comfort zone and require you to employ new neural pathways. No matter how difficult the work is conceptual, it will not be suitable for the brain if it is something you can already accomplish relatively effortlessly. To develop your brain and memory, you must engage in activities that are both difficult and outside of your comfort zone.
Examples of these activities are learning a language, playing a musical instrument, learning certain dance routines, learning to play chess, performing puzzles, and playing brain training games online.
The finest memory-boosting exercises are those that begin simple and easy to complete and gradually get more challenging as you improve. Learning to play a new instrument is a prime illustration of this. You begin by learning one or two notes and gradually progress to being able to play a complicated piece of music. Once you’ve mastered that piece of music, you’ll need to learn more to continue laying down neuropathways in your brain and activating and boosting your memory. In other words, at each new level of learning, you build on what you’ve already learned and commit to memory.
It’s also worth noting that, just as when you were a kid, incentives function to make obstacles more enjoyable, encouraging you to continue with the activity or learning experience. I don’t mean that you’ll get a bag of candy as a prize. The prize may be playing an entire piece of music without making a mistake, speaking in a foreign language and being understood, winning a game of chess, or completing a crossword or Sudoku puzzle much faster than previously. These benefits make the exercise more fun and keep you performing it repeatedly, strengthening your memory and brain with each repetition.
The hippocampus is the brain’s portion involved in memory formation. This brain region cannot function effectively unless you have had adequate rest. As a result of all that learning throughout the day, you’ll need a decent night’s sleep, preferably seven to nine hours. This is vital to recuperate physically, wake up refreshed and ready to begin the next day again, and imprint what you have learned in your memory. This is known as consolidation, and it is one of the reasons why “pulling an all-nighter” before a test does not work.
Not only does postponing everything till the last minute add additional stress, but it also forces you to rely on your short-term memory with little or no sleep. This is a tragedy waiting to happen! Stress will put you in a fight, flight or freeze mode. With luck, battle mode will activate and you will be able to concentrate. However, if flight or freeze mode is activated, your mind will go blank, you will be unable to recall anything, and you will have nothing in your long-term memory to rely on.
The most straightforward technique to increase your memory is to learn something new every day and then consolidate it in your memory while you sleep. The next day, review everything you learned, assess how much you remember, and add more information. Rest and repeat until you achieve those “A” grades!
You still need lots of sleep to help protect your memory as you age. Sleep deprivation has been demonstrated to impair memory recall, particularly in adults over the age of sixty. If you have trouble sleeping at night, napping during the day might assist in improving and consolidating memory. Naps might also help you regain energy and improve your attitude. You’ll also be in excellent company since both UK Prime Minister Winston Churchill and eminent physicist Albert Einstein are said to have slept during the day.
Regarding memory and sleep stimulation, be cautious when playing memory or brain-training games on your phone or tablet. These devices generate blue light, which can disrupt the sleep-wake cycle by inhibiting the release of the melatonin hormone. This can cause sleep disruption and insomnia. Furthermore, activating the brain too close to bedtime might impair sleep quality. As a result, you should avoid playing these games in the evening. However, if it is unavoidable, programs to prevent blue light may be downloaded into a phone or tablet. You may also use blue light-filtering screen coverings or use blue light-blocking eyewear.
As previously said, stress can cause memory loss. So, if feasible, striving to live a stress-free life is one of the finest things you can do to improve your memory. With this in mind, engaging in activities you love is critical, such as socializing, caring for a pet, exercising, wandering in nature, and laughing. All of these have been demonstrated to lower stress and improve memory.
If you follow these suggestions, you should be able to maintain your memory functioning well far into old age. Learning new things, avoiding technology, and smiling while doing so all contribute to keeping your brain and memory fit and healthy. That being said, I’m headed to the pub quiz, and I’m not going to look up the answers on Google!
- Scientists say Google is changing our brains https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/10/how-google-is-changing-our-brains/
- What Is Neuroplasticity? https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-brain-plasticity-2794886
- Sleep On It How Snoozing Strengthens Memories https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2013/04/sleep-it
- Cramming: Why It’s Ineffective & Should Be Avoided https://web.stanford.edu/~eryilmaz/cramming_is_ineffective.html
- How Stress Affects Your Memory https://psychcentral.com/stress/how-stress-affects-your-memory
- The long-term memory benefits of a daytime nap compared with cramming https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6335868/
- Matthew Walker’s Defense of Napping: 5 Benefits of Napping https://www.masterclass.com/articles/matthew-walkers-defense-of-napping
- The inner clock—Blue light sets the human rhythm https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7065627/
- How Electronics Affect Sleep https://www.sleepfoundation.org/how-sleep-works/how-electronics-affect-sleep
- Mental Exercising Through Simple Socializing: Social Interaction Promotes General Cognitive Functioning https://pages.ucsd.edu/~pwinkiel/ybarra-burnstein-winkielman_socializing-PSPB-2008.pdf
- The Power of Pets https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2018/02/power-pets
- Exercise Holds Immediate Benefits for Effect and Cognition in Younger and Older Adults https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3768113/
- The Cognitive Benefits of Interacting With Nature https://www.emilkirkegaard.dk/en/wp-content/uploads/The-Cognitive-Benefits-of-Interacting-With-Nature.pdf
- Episode 5: Laughter and Memory https://lluh.org/patients-visitors/health-wellness/live-it/online-health-show/episode-5-laughter-and-memory