Understanding and Improving memory | The Scientific Way

00:04:54 – Reading time. “Memory is a way of holding on to the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose.” – Kevin Arnold

Memories mean a lot. That is to say, when people start losing their memory due to age, they feel like they really are losing sentimental valuables.  

Consequently, memories cherish like your first love or information that you need to memorize. So, memory plays a vital role in our lives. They help shape who we are, what we believe, how we act, behave, and interact with others.

It’s crucial to save and improve your memoryTherefore, in this article, we’ll dive into what memory is and how to improve your memory with 9 tips.

How does it work?

Your brain communicates messages with its synaptic connections of millions of neurons. Furthermore, your brain neurons respond to high levels of stimulation. As a result, if connections between these neurons are strong, memories will form. (1)

Above all, it can be said that your brain is like a muscle. If you don’t practice it often, you can lose it. Hence, it becomes essential to help strengthen your brain neurons. (1)

Memory is an ongoing process. To clarify, researchers have found that there are three processes involved in retaining information. The first process is encoding. In other words, this process includes actually absorbing the information. The second process is storing. So, you can tell it consists of keeping the information. While the third process is retrieving, which is about getting back the information and using it. (2)

Subsequently, these 9 ways will help strengthen your brain neurons to store and retain information better!

9 tips for improving memory

Reduce sugar consumption

Sugar tastes good. However, it fired up your dopamine. Also, sugar puts your brain in flames. It specifically hinders hippocampal-dependent memory

Moreover, high-energy diets can cause inflammation in the memory areas of our brain. (3)

Also, excess sugar can contribute to Alzheimer’s Disease (4).

Use brain training games like Lumosity

Brain training games can help boost memory and increase your focus.

Lumosity has engaging games. Likewise, it has fun exercises that can help you refine your memory. In fact, they conducted a study. As a result, researchers found that participants who trained 5 days per week for 15 minutes a day had improved their working memory. However, they also improved short term remembrance, speed of processing, and overall brain function. (5)

Find refuge in Meditation

Meditation has countless benefits. For example, meditation prolongs your life and helps you find calmness. However, one of the many gifts meditation gives is also improved memory.

One study found that meditation can improve the learning effectiveness, attention, and memory aspects of students’ cognitive performance. (6) Additionally, people who meditate tend to have more gray matter volumes. This translates to better memory! (7)

Stay hydrated 

The quickest way to improve your memory? Drink more water!

Every single function of your body depends on water. So, it’s not surprising that water is literally our ‘fuel.’ Dehydration means a bad memory. Hence, you should make sure you are drinking enough water. As a result, it will help your brain continues functioning and strengthen remembrance. (8)

For instance, even if your brain is 1% dehydrated, it will have dramatic effects on your cognition. 

Laugh often and when you can

Laughter has been called the “best medicine for memory.” And, it makes sense. 

Furthermore, laughter reduces stress. Certainly, stress damages the brain and impacts remembrance. (9)

One research found that just watching a funny 20-minute video before a memory test was enough to help people improve their memory recall, learning ability, and sight recognition. (9)

Humor works because of lower cortisol levels. Therefore, now you have an excuse to watch those funny videos.

Catch your Z’s

Sleep deprivation is a serious and alarming problem. 1 in 3 people doesn’t get enough sleep, according to the CDC. So, just like you charge your phone, your brain also needs recharging. Consequently, sleep is the only way your brain recharges. It strengthens your memory. Also, it improves school performance and social functioning. Above all, sleep increases memory and safeguards long term. (10)

That is to say, your brain has rights. Undoubtedly, a healthy adult is someone who has 7-8 hours of sleep per night.

Watch your Salt Levels

Research by scientists at Cornell University discovered important information about the effects of high levels of salt.

As a result, they found that high salt levels can lead to worse performance in memory tests. Therefore, salt has been shown to decrease the flow of blood in the brain. Particularly in the areas responsible for the memory! (11)

So, some foods have high salt levels. For instance, these food are smoked, salted, canned, or cured meat, fish, bacon ham, ravioli, salted nuts, and canned beans with added salt. (12)

Do nothing after memorizing new material

This surprising technique might sound ineffective and unproductive. And that’s the problem.

If you just let your brain work out the new information you’re trying to memorize, it’ll be much easier to process and store it. However, most people instead of it keep practicing over and over. Also, they check-up emails, surf the web, check socials, or other works. (13)

Consequently, you should try to ‘wind down’ for 10-15 minutes with calmness. Furthermore, you might be shocked to learn how your brain needed the rest you never gave it. (13)

Add Blueberries to your diet

If you simply add blueberries to your diet, you can start seeing their benefits play out in 3 weeks. For instance, a study found that eating blueberries for 12 weeks increased performance on spatial working memory tasks. (14)

Further, blueberries contain high levels of flavonoids. In other words, they help the connections in the brain for memory.

Conclusion

Understanding and improving your brain is an important aspect that is a part of all of us. Finally, we are our memories. That is to say, that they are part of our lives, how we think, behave, and interact with others.

Hopefully, your brain will benefit from following the 9 tips we mentioned. Moreover, they’re all confirmed by science to help you experience a better and more reliable memory.

References

(1). ScienceDaily. (2016). How does memory work? [online] Available at: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/05/160517131928.htm  [Accessed 23 Dec. 2020].

(2). Harvard.edu. (2011). How Memory Works. [online] Available at: https://bokcenter.harvard.edu/how-memory-works  [Accessed 23 Dec. 2020].

(3). Beilharz, J.E., Maniam, J. and Morris, M.J. (2016). Short-term exposure to a diet high in fat and sugar, or liquid sugar, selectively impairs hippocampal-dependent memory, with differential impacts on inflammation. Behavioural Brain Research, [online] 306, pp.1–7. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26970578/  [Accessed 23 Dec. 2020].

(4). Pase, M.P., Himali, J.J., Jacques, P.F., DeCarli, C., Satizabal, C.L., Aparicio, H., Vasan, R.S., Beiser, A.S. and Seshadri, S. (2017). Sugary beverage intake and preclinical Alzheimer’s disease in the community. Alzheimer’s & Dementia, [online] 13(9), pp.955–964. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28274718/  [Accessed 23 Dec. 2020].

(5). Lumosity. (2018). Lumosity: Daily Brain Games. [online] Available at: https://www.lumosity.com/en/  [Accessed 23 Dec. 2020].

(6). Ching, H.-H., Koo, M., Tsai, T.-H. and Chen, C.-Y. (2015). Effects of a Mindfulness Meditation Course on Learning and Cognitive Performance among University Students in Taiwan. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, [online] 2015, pp.1–7. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4657094/  [Accessed 23 Dec. 2020].

(7). Luders, E., Toga, A.W., Lepore, N. and Gaser, C. (2009). The underlying anatomical correlates of long-term meditation: Larger hippocampal and frontal volumes of gray matter. NeuroImage, [online] 45(3), pp.672–678. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19280691/  [Accessed 23 Dec. 2020].

(8). Zhang, J., Zhang, N., Du, S., He, H., Xu, Y., Cai, H., Guo, X. and Ma, G. (2018). The Effects of Hydration Status on Cognitive Performances among Young Adults in Hebei, China: A Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT). International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, [online] 15(7), p.1477. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6068860/  [Accessed 23 Dec. 2020].

(9). Unitek College (2014). Laughter Is Best Medicine for Memory – Laughing Combats Harm from Stress. [online] Unitek College. Available at: https://www.unitekcollege.edu/articles/medical-assistant-articles/laughter-is-best-medicine-for-memory/  [Accessed 23 Dec. 2020].

(10). Potkin, K.T. and Bunney, W.E. (2012). Sleep Improves Memory: The Effect of Sleep on Long Term Memory in Early Adolescence. PLoS ONE, [online] 7(8), p.e42191. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3413705/  [Accessed 23 Dec. 2020].

(11). Alzheimer’s Research UK. (2018). High levels of salt linked to memory and thinking problems in mice | Alzheimer’s Research UK. [online] Available at: https://www.alzheimersresearchuk.org/high-levels-salt-linked-memory-thinking-problems-mice/#:~:text=Scientists%20at%20Cornell%20University%20investigated,the%20brain%20important%20for%20memory . [Accessed 23 Dec. 2020].

(12). UCSF Health (2019). Guidelines for a Low Sodium Diet. [online] ucsfhealth.org. Available at: https://www.ucsfhealth.org/education/guidelines-for-a-low-sodium-diet  [Accessed 23 Dec. 2020].

(13). Robson, D. (2018). An effortless way to improve your memory. [online] Bbc.com. Available at: https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20180208-an-effortless-way-to-strengthen-your-memory  [Accessed 23 Dec. 2020].

(14). Belle Beth Cooper (2014). 6 Science-Backed Methods To Improve Your Memory. [online] Fast Company. Available at: https://www.fastcompany.com/3028359/6-science-backed-methods-to-improve-your-memory  [Accessed 23 Dec. 2020].

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