How can you improve your memory?

(Image credit: Gerd Altmann/ Pixabay)

Top tips for a better memory

  1. Pay attention

To move information from your short-to long-term memory, paying attention and taking the time to understand information helps. Neural circuits that help build long-lasting memories work best when we focus on our surroundings. Neurotransmitters released when we’re attentive target areas involved in processing visuals.

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2. Stimulate your brain

Testing your cognitive ability has been found to reduce early symptoms of memory loss. By taking part in brain games, your frontal lobe enhances its ability to split your attention between mental tasks.

Keeping your brain used to memorising and keeping neuron connections activated can increase their efficiency.

3. Get enough sleep

For memory consolidation to take place, your body needs sleep. While you are asleep, connections in the brain can strengthen and information can pass into more permanent and efficient regions of the brain. Research shows that when information is learned before sleeping, it is remembered better.

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4. Try meditating

Mindfulness is proven to enhance the abilities of your working memory. This is where new information is temporarily held. Most adults are able to hold around seven items in their working memory, but meditation is thought to strengthen it and increase its capacity.

5. Exercise regularly

Physical activity has been proven to have a direct impact on brain health. By regularly exercising, the risk of cognitive decline becomes lower. By stimulating brain growth, studies have shown that in those who regularly exercise, parts of the brain key to memory production are larger.

(Image source: Pixabay)

6. Drink less alcohol

Alcohol consumption has obvious impacts on memory ability. People who drink regularly make around 30 per cent more memory mistakes in daily life than those who don’t drink. Alcohol works to prevent transfer of short-term memories to long-term and even reduces the size of brain cells. 

After a heavy night of drinking, it’s possible to have no memory of events. This is due to a memory-affecting chemical in the brain called glutamate, which is extremely susceptible to alcohol.

This article was originally published in How It Works issue 134, written by Ailsa Harvey 

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