How many times have you walked into a room and forgot what you came in for? It's something we all do, but when you experience those small memory lapses, it's a good idea to look at your lifestyle habits.
It's generally known that brain development occurs in the early years, overall function peaks in early adulthood, and cognitive skills decline in old age. The only problem? Your brain's memory center should work well even as you begin to age, and your demanding lifestyle could be to blame for its decline.
Throughout adulthood, our overloaded brains are exposed to stress, harmful chemicals, bad eating habits, lack of rest, multiple distractions, and many more adverse conditions. All of these contribute to poor memory and decreased ability to focus.
Luckily, no matter your age, you can develop habits to boost your memory and bring your brain's functioning back to optimal again.
1. Exercise Makes You Smarter
It's a wonder doctors don't prescribe exercise as a remedy for many brain ailments! Studies have found that regular exercise improves blood circulation in the brain and expands the brain's memory center (hippocampus) by "one to two percent per year, where typically that center would have continued to decline in size."
While you exercise, the brain's nerve cells multiply, allowing better overall connectivity. But it doesn't end there. The nerve cells produce proteins that stimulate the release of chemicals and hormones that promote learning, improved memory, and overall feelings of well-being.
2. A Good Night's Sleep Aids Brain Growth
You'll want to get at least six hours of sleep every night if you want to retain more memory. According to studies at Harvard University, "people are 33 percent more likely to infer connections among distantly related ideas after sleeping."
It makes sense that you can think more clearly and be more focused when your body and brain are well-rested, but sleep restores the brain's neuroplasticity, or brain growth, in a significant way. Getting enough shut-eye can affect overall connectivity of synaspses within your brain, affecting memory and learning processes in a positive way.
Research suggests that getting rest throughout the day by taking a nap could also be beneficial. Infants showed a dramatic increase in brainpower after napping, and experts think it affects adults in the same way.
3. Avoid Multitasking To Stay Focused
Multitasking, or the attempt to do many things at once, is something we're all guilty of. We do so many things in a day, such as grocery shopping, dropping the kids off a soccer practice, and doing laundry.
Doing a few tasks at once can create the illusion that we're getting more done faster, but research has proven that's not the case. In fact, we could be harming our brains and making our actions less effective.
Your brain needs approximately eight seconds to commit something to memory, so if you're chatting on the phone, barbecuing, and setting the patio table, you're more likely to forget an important detail such a flipping the burgers. Jumping from one thing to another will make you more forgetful in the short term and hurt your ability to focus in the long term if you make it a habit.
4. Eat Foods That Boost Brain Power
You have control over the meals you eat, so make them count! Avoid sugar and heavy carbohydrates, as contribute to "brain fog." A diet rich in fresh veggies and healthy fats have been shown to help your brain produce new cells as well as decrease the risk of dementia, Alzheimer's, and other neurological ailments.
Coconut oil and animal-based omega-3 fats are also a diet staple if you want to boost brain health and reduce the risk of disease. Krill or fish oils are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, and 2 tablespoons of coconut oil can protect against degenerative diseases.
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