How to Improve Memory
Power: 10 Tips and Tricks
1. Get a Goodnight's Sleep - "Poor sleep takes a toll on everything, from your job
performance to your daily chores, and especially your memory", says Dr.
Adarsh Kumar, Internal Medicine, National Heart Institute. Sleep is a key time
for the brain to solidify the connections between neurons, thus helping us
remember more of our tasks. Rule of thumb: Get 7-8 hours of sleep everyday. And yes, naps count. Experts are of the
opinion that if you do only one thing to improve your memory, getting more
sleep should be it. If you have trouble sleeping fast, drink a warm cup of milk
a half hour before hitting the sheets. Yes, this age-old remedy actually works.
Now stop staring at the ceiling, and slip into slumber.
2. Jog Your Memory -
Literally. Exercise increases your heart rate which gets blood
flowing to your brain, thus keeping your memory sharp. Running, swimming,
biking - any form of exercise - for at least 30 minutes helps enlarge the
hippocampus, which is regarded as the 'memory center of the brain'. In fact,
physical activities that require hand-eye coordination or complex motor skills
are particularly beneficial for brain building. If you don't have time for a
full workout, squeeze in a 10-minute walk around the block in your schedule or
a few jumping jacks. It's enough to reboot your brain.
3. Quit Multitasking - Can't
find your keys? It's probably because you weren't paying attention when you put
them down. When you're juggling too many things, you're bound to forget. As it
turns out, the brain doesn't actually multitask. Instead, it switches focus
from one thing to the other, which is why it is difficult to read a book and
hold a conversation at the same time. Multitasking will slow you down, so make
it a point to concentrate on the task at hand. It's crucial. Studies suggest to
say it out loud: "I left my keys on the dresser", etc. so the brain
can process it. Your brain actually need about eight seconds to commit a piece
of information to your memory, so if you're talking on the phone and carrying
groceries when you put down your car keys, you're unlikely to remember where
you left them.
4. Go Back to Your Roots - Ashwagandha, a go-to choice in Ayurvedic medicine, is known
for promoting memory since it helps prevent nerve cell damage. Dr Ashutosh
Gautam, Clinical Operations and Coordination Manager at Baidyanath says,
"Ashwagandha can be taken in the form of powder or tablet. It also
improves the brain's memory functions like attention and concentration, hence
helping with the symptoms of Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and other
neurodegenerative diseases. Fish oil, has also been associated with encouraging
the growth of neurons and lowering the risk of dementia. Fish oil contains DHA,
an omega-3 fatty acid which helps improve your memory power.
5. Use Mnemonic Devices -
Mnemonic devices are tools which help you memorize in an easier format - words,
lists, concepts, et al.
Acronyms: They are
basically abbreviations used a word to help you jog your memory. For example:
CART can be carrots, apples, raspberries and tomatoes, which can be used to
remember your grocery list.
Rhymes: If you need to
remember a name, get creative. "Mary loves cherry" or "Simon is
Acrostics: These are
life savers during exams, especially. Whenever you need to mug up a sentence,
combine the initial letters and use as a memory cue. For example: How we all
remembered the 9 planets during childhood, "My Very Educated Mother Just Showed
Us Nine Planets".
6. Get Organized - If your
house is in a mess, you're more likely to forget things. Jot down tasks,
declutter your home and note down appointments. Set aside a particular place at
home to keep your keys, and limit distractions. Live by to-do lists, keep them
upto date and check off the items you've completed. Physically writing down new
information actually helps reinforce it.
7. Meditation is Key -
According to a 2015 study from the UCLA Brain Mapping Center, the brain starts
to decline in your 20s and continues to decrease both in size and volume.
Meditating regularly delays cognitive decline and prevents neurodegenerative
diseases like Dementia, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. Meditation produces a positive charge in the brain's gray
matter overtime, which is important for memory, learning and self-awareness. In
addition, meditation has been shown to reduce stress, which can do a number on
8. Stay Mentally Active -
Note: Crossword puzzles and Sudoku are your new best friend. Challenge your
brain, take a different route to work, learn a new language, read a section of
the newspaper you usually skip, do things out of the ordinary. Stay engaged,
because mentally stimulating activities help keep your brain in shape - and
might even keep memory loss at bay. People who are cognitively active have
better memory as they age, it's true. So quiz yourself, flex your brain and
improve your memory power.
9. Balance Your Stress -
Chronic stress and depression, both contribute to memory loss and
the destruction of brain cells. One of the best things you can do is to laugh.
Yes, it's that simple. Laughter engaged multiple regions of the brain and
simultaneously reduces stress. Social interaction also helps ward off depression and stress, so look for opportunities to get
together with family, loved ones, friends and work colleagues. When you're
invited to share a meal or attend an event, go!
10. Food for Thought - Did
you know that the brain is an energy hungry organ? Despite comprising only 2%
of the body's weight, the brain gobbles up more than 20% of daily energy
intake. So a healthy diet might be as good for your brain as it is for your
overall health, and eating right may in fact be more important than you think.
After all, you are what you eat. The brain demands a constant supply of
glucose which is obtained from recently eaten carbohydrates like whole grains,
fruits and greens. Because when the glucose level drops, it results in confused
thinking. No, this does not give you the license to slurp on sugary drinks.
Instead eat throughout the day to optimize brain power- not too much, not too
little. Memory superfoods include antioxidant-rich, colorful
fruits, green leafy vegetables and whole grains which protect your brain from
harmful free radicals. Choose low-fat protein sources such as fish and drink at least 8 glasses of water daily since dehydration
can lead to memory loss and confusion.
Vitamin C and B: Vitamin C, found in citrus fruits, is associated with mental
agility, whereas Vitamin B is known to guard against age-related brain
shrinkage and cognitive impairment. Load up on blackcurrants, fish, green leafy
vegetables, mushrooms, peanuts, sesame seeds and eggs to rev up your brain
Nuts and Seeds: A
handful of seeds and nuts may help improve your memory power significantly.
Pumpkin seeds are loaded with zinc that play a great role in sharpening your
memory. Brain-shaped walnuts are a good source of omega-3 and other essential
nutrients crucial for brain functioning and memory skills. Sunflower seeds are
good sources of Vitamin E, just sprinkle them on top of your salad to give your
brain a boost. Even peanuts are packed with vitamin E, a potent
antioxidant. Almonds and hazelnuts also help boost memory.
are the top source of substances called anthocyanins which are brain-boosting
antioxidants. Eating blueberries daily can help combat against the onset of
short term memory loss. Even strawberries, when consumed regularly can help
delay age-related memory decline.
Broccoli, kale, collard greens, spinach - all green vegetables are full of
iron, Vitamin E, K and B9 (folate), and phytonutrients like vitamin C which are
extremely important for brain cell development. Vitamin K is known to be
helpful in cognitive enhancement and increasing mental alertness.
Avocados: Enriched with
Vitamin E, avocados are loaded with antioxidants which help in keeping the
brain healthy and alert. Creamy avocados are also associated with lowering the
risk of Alzheimer's.
Tomatoes: Tomatoes are
a good source of lycopene which acts against brain cell degeneration and aids
in the maintenance and production of new brain cells.
Whole Grains: Whole
grains are considered to be the powerhouse of energy and help you focus better.
On consuming fiber-rich whole grains, energy is released in the body in the
form of sugar which assists the brain in functioning properly, keeping us
Fish: Omega-3 fatty
acids as well as DHA and EPA are essential for healthy brain functioning as
well as for healthy brain neurons. Include salmon, mackerel, tuna and other
fish in your diet. Vegetarian? You can substitute with soybean oil andflaxseed oil.
Red Wine: Resveratrol, a powerful antioxidant, predominantly present in
red wine protects against cell damage and Alzheimer's disease. So,
consuming a glass of red wine a day may actually keep memory loss
1. Get a Goodnight's Sleep - "Poor sleep takes a toll on everything, from your job performance to your daily chores, and especially your memory", says Dr. Adarsh Kumar, Internal Medicine, National Heart Institute. Sleep is a key time for the brain to solidify the connections between neurons, thus helping us remember more of our tasks. Rule of thumb: Get 7-8 hours of sleep everyday. And yes, naps count. Experts are of the opinion that if you do only one thing to improve your memory, getting more sleep should be it. If you have trouble sleeping fast, drink a warm cup of milk a half hour before hitting the sheets. Yes, this age-old remedy actually works. Now stop staring at the ceiling, and slip into slumber.