The ability to learn, process, and retain memories is important in every stage of your life, whether you’re in high school studying for SATs or in your 70s trying to remember the good times you have with family.
Everyone can have their hiccups from time-to-time. You go into a room forgetting what you’re supposed to do there. You studied all night only to forget an answer that’s supposed to be easy. You’ve probably missed a meeting or two because you just simply forgot. No matter how simple or complex the memory, however, forgetting it is always frustrating.
There are a variety of memory problems that make you forget important facts and events in your life. There’s transience, when you forget information overtime or as soon as you learn it. Blocking happens when you’re trying to remember something that’s on the tip of your tongue but can’t seem to crack it. There’s also misattribution, which involves remembering something but forgetting where you got it from.
Forgetfulness also has a variety of causes, apart from diseases and conditions like dementia and Alzheimer’s.
- Medications — If you’re taking medications for depression and high blood pressure, you may experience some memory problems. This is because they can cause confusion and sedation. Talk with your physician if you think this is the case for you.
- Stress — If you feel anxious or stressed, your brain may find it harder to focus on learning and processing new skills and information. They can also cause complications in retrieving old memories.
- Poor quality sleep — When you lack sleep or didn’t get quality sleep, you’ll find it hard to concentrate and take in information during the day. Lack of sleep can also cause mood changes that lead to memory issues.
Forgetfulness, whether it’s long-term or short-term can significantly affect your everyday tasks.
Here are effective ways to sharpen your memory.
Get Better Sleep
Sleep affects your memory and ability to learn in two specific ways, according to Harvard Medical School’s Division of Sleep Medicine.
First, sleep affects your focus. If you’re not getting enough of it per day, you’ll have trouble learning new information and skills efficiently. Second, sleep is responsible for the proper recording and processing of memories. You’ll have trouble learning new information if you don’t get enough sleep or have poor sleep quality every night.
If your sleep schedule is screwed up or you feel tired even after getting seven to nine hours of sleep, call your doctor immediately. They’ll prescribe medication and provide you with methods on how to get enough quality sleep so you remember more and feel more focus during the day.
Other ways to improve your shut-eye is to use a mattress with biorhythm sleep tech and limit your coffee consumption and artificial light exposure at night.
Get More Exercise
While exercising’s effects are attributed more to physical health, it also helps you recall memories better. It helps improve spatial memory, in particular. Spatial memory involves recording and processing information about your environment, like knowing what the features of the next street are or distinguishing between two types of cars on the road.
Exercise also helps memory by reducing inflammation and stimulating the release of chemicals that improve the health of brain cells and growth of new blood cells in the brain.
Exercise doesn’t have to mean intense workouts in the gym. You can do home routines like jumping jacks, sit-ups, jogs or strolls around the block, and even clearing snow on your yard. As long as you exercise for at least an hour and you work up a sweat, you’ll definitely feel better, and ultimately focus better afterward.
Relaxing can also help improve your memory. However, it doesn’t mean you should just lounge around. You need to use mindfulness meditation. It involves routines that help you become more present and aware.
According to a study by the Liverpool John Moores University and Osnabruck University, ten minutes of mindfulness meditation exercises a day make your brain networks more efficient. You get to concentrate more, and your working memory improves.
Working memory is a system in your brain that can hold memory temporarily to help guide your behavior and decision-making.
A lot of factors affect your memory. They’re often tied to your overall health. Your fitness, mental state, and amount of sleep can determine whether you’ll remember that important meeting or formula for your test. Improve all of them by getting enough sleep, meditating, and exercising every day. A healthy body means a healthy mind.