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5 Strategies to Improve Memory

It’s important to remind ourselves of some of the simple ways to improve memory. Here are five methods to improve memory based on scientific research:

1) Sleep – Sleep has long been identified by scientists as the state in which our bodies optimize and consolidate newly acquired information and store it as memory. A new study in Nature Reviews Neuroscience provides further evidence that getting enough restful sleep is a key ingredient to improving memory.

2) Nutrition – It is a ‘no-brainer’ that poor nutrition will adversely affect your memory (pun intended). There is a strong body of scientific evidence that a diet rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, and anti-oxidants is important to brain health. One new study shows that blueberry juice might actually improve memory in older adults. In fact, the popular brain scientist Dr. Amen calls blueberries “brain berries” because of the accumulated research on the positive benefits of this fruit.

3) Relax – De-stressing and meditation are also scientifically accepted ways to improve your memory. In a well publicized study about meditation, a strong case was made that the daily practice of meditation thickened the parts of the brain’s cerebral cortex responsible for decision making, attention, and memory.

4)Mindfulness Exercises – A study out of the University of Pennsylvania about exercise and memory found that people who routinely engaged in mindfulness exercises showed measurable improvements in “mind-fitness”. One of the study’s authors stated, “Working memory is an important feature of mind-fitness. Not only does it safeguard against distraction and emotional reactivity, but it also provides a mental workspace to ensure quick-and-considered decisions and action plans. Building mind-fitness with mindfulness training may help anyone who must maintain peak performance in the face of extremely stressful circumstances…”

5) Cognitive Stimulation – Lastly, it is no secret that regularly participating in brain training helps improve memory. Work that utilizes problem solving and critical thinking should help to maintain working memory.

Tips to implement these five simple memory improving strategies:

  • Get to bed a little earlier each night to get more sleep
  • Start eating more foods rich in Omega-3 acids, B vitamins, and anti-oxidants such as fish, avocados, walnuts, and blueberries
  • Get a book on meditation and/or sign-up for a class and try it out
  • If you are not already exercising at least three times a week, start going for 20 minute walks until you build up enough fitness to expand your exercise regimen.