Our memory plays a significant role in helping us navigate through our daily routines. Unfortunately, as we get older, we may start to notice that our once sharp mental acuity has started to slip a bit. While there’s not much any of us can do to stop (or even slow down) time, there are various steps we can take to help keep our mind as strong as possible. Just like any of our body’s other muscles, our brain can be conditioned to perform better on a multitude of tasks and actions.
Here are five simple hacks to help boost memory functioning in our lives:
Eat Memory Building Foods
We all know that a good diet helps our body perform well; however, many people don’t realize that what we eat also impacts our cognitive capabilities as well. It’s not enough to just avoid fatty, processed foods. You should also include foods that optimize brain potential such as avocados, blueberries, coconut oil, eggs, greens, pumpkin seeds, dark chocolate, and salmon.
Surprised? As odd as it may seem, research suggests that chewing gum can actually improve memory function, with some participants achieving test scores that were almost 25% higher than their non-chewing counterparts. While scientists aren’t quite sure why chewing bumps brain performance, some believe that a little gum chomping increases activity in the hippocampus, the region of the brain responsible for attention and memory.
It’s no secret that rest is essential to promote sustainable brain health and functioning. But, how long is the perfect power nap? Research suggests that sleep duration should be based on desired outcome:
- 10-20 minutes of sleep boosts awareness and increases mental functioning
- 60 minutes of sleep strengthens memory processing and the ability to retain facts and faces
- 90 minutes of sleep often includes a full sleep cycle and supports improved creativity and tactical memory function
Write It Down
Studies indicate that writing facts and details down can actually help people remember them. This goes beyond the standard, “make a grocery list so you can reference it at the store” technique. According to various studies, the act of writing things down (not typing them on laptops) can help better commit them to memory for longer-term retrieval.
As we’ve already mentioned, the brain is a muscle that needs regular workouts to keep functioning at maximum capacity. Continuously reading new material, learning new things, and pursuing new experiences not only make you smarter, but it can also optimize your memory performance and overall brain health.
What are some of your favorite memory hacks? Tell us your tips for boosting brainpower in the comments below!