6 Simple Steps For Improving Memory

It’s time for some mind control. This is how to become the master of your own brain… and stop forgetting where you put your keys!

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How to improve memory, Exercise

Exercise

The number one tip for maintaining your memory? Exercise. It may seem that your muscles are a long way from your brain, but studies have shown that exercise improves short- and long-term memory, aiding the development of new brain cells and increasing the size of the hippocampus, where verbal memory and learning happen. One study even suggested that if you want to remember something, you should exercise four hours after learning it.

Wondering if your memory lapses are caused by something more serious? You need to read this.

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How to improve memory, women talking over coffee

Learn a new language

Studies have shown that people who speak more than one language have an added layer of protection against memory loss.  Lisa Feldman Barrett, university distinguished professor of psychology at Northeastern University and author of How Emotions Are Made,  says that exerting yourself periodically in a challenging task — whether it’s exercising past the point of mental comfort or learning something complex that causes you to push yourself — may help your brain build new connections and also maintain the health of the old ones.

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How to improve memory, Elderly woman plays guitar

Pick up a musical instrument

A study from Baycrest Health Sciences published earlier this year found that when older adults were given the task of replicating a sound on a musical instrument, it altered their brain waves to improve their listening skills. Evidence shows that learning a musical instrument can help to rewire the brain.

Check out these other ways that music can benefit brain health.

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How to improve memory, woman eats salad

Eat a balanced diet

Dr. Jane Rylett, professor in the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology at Western University’s Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, and a lead for the Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging, says researchers are beginning to learn that insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes are connected to an increased risk for Alzheimer’s disease, so it’s important to keep blood sugar stable. Taking care of your heart health with a diet rich in fibre and healthy fats is also key. Some cases of dementia are caused by changes in blood vessels that prevent proper blood flow to the mind, depriving it of necessary nutrients and oxygen. The symptoms of this vascular cognitive impairment can look a lot like Alzheimer’s.

Your diet can also affect your mental health. Here's how.

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How to improve memory loss, Woman talks to therapist about depression

Seek help for depression

Khatri say people who experience untreated depression in midlife have twice the risk of developing dementia later in life, compared to those who do not share that untreated history. While depression and anxiety may seem insurmountable, she stresses that there are many treatments that can help. Dementia, on the other hand, is still incurable.

Not sure if you're suffering from depression? Here are 8 depression warning signs you need to watch out for.

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How to improve memory, Woman sleeping comfortably in all-white bed

Give your brain time to rest

Researchers are still learning about what’s going on in our minds while we snooze, but they do know that memories are strengthened overnight. Evidence shows that the brain replays information and experiences while we slumber, and transfers memories from short-term to long-term storage. That means that staying up until the wee hours to learn a presentation won’t get you ahead. Fighting sleep means fighting memory.

Here are 8 unexpected reasons why you can't sleep at night.

Originally Published in Best Health Canada