Slave to post-its ? Here are some easy lifestyle changes that’ll make your memory “razor-sharp”
(1) GO TO BED AN HOUR EARLIER : Any sort of sleep deprivation, even losing as little as an hour a night, can hamper memory. This is because when you sleep, a part of the brain called the hippocampus files away memories from the day. Missing out on sleep disrupts this process and make you more forgetful. A comprehensive new US study even found that “banking” eight hours of quality shut-eye a night in middle age could help avoid Alzheimer’s in later life.
(2) RIGHTY, USE YOUR LEFT HAND : Mixing up everyday activities can keep your brain in good shape, say experts at Harvard University in America. This can be as simple as brushing your teeth with the other hand, taking a new route to work or simply swapping your knife and fork around. These small changes force your brain cells to adapt and communicate with each other, giving them a good workout and preventing them dying off prematurely.
(3) SHUT YOUR EYES : Can’t recall where you left those keys ? Shutting your eyes for a short time could help you remember, scientists at the University of Surrey discovered earlier this year. They found that participants in a test with their eyes closed correctly answered over 70% of the questions correctly, compared to only 40% of those with their eyes open. According to lead researcher Dr. Robert Nash, closing your eyes stops you being distracted and therefore frees up brain power. He explains, “It might also help people visualise the details of the event they are trying to remember.”
(4) CHECK YOUR BLOOD PRESSURE : Over time, high BP can narrow the arteries, reducing blood flow to the brain and triggering episodes of forgetfulness. One study by the University of Alabama in America, found that people with high BP were more likely to have memory problems —- and higher the BP, the worse the problem. If you’re over 40, or have a family history of heart disease, see your GP and get it checked.
(5) SAY NO TO SECONDS : A study by Toulouse University, France, found gaining weight can harm memory —— the more overweight you are, the lower “recall rate” dips. Researchers think fat may clog arteries in the brain, preventing healthy blood circulation, just as it blocks those in the heart.
(6) GO BARGAIN HUNTING : Need an excuse to treat yourself ? Researchers at Duke University in North Carolina in America, have found that “retail therapy” can improve the memories of older shoppers. And it’s all thanks to our love of a good bargain, which requires the use of an additional brain area. Why ? We have to try to remember a lot of information to compare and contrast and pick the best deal.
(7) ADD UP BILLS IN YOUR HEAD : Counting up how much you’re spending as you put items in your shopping basket is another great workout for your grey matter. The “mental challenge” activates the “working memory” part of your brain, which is crucial for focus, concentration and planning. Studies show “working memory” decreases by up to 10% each decade after 25, but training it in such ways can improve its function.
(8) LEARN THE LINK METHOD : Eight times World Memory Champion —— Dominic O’Brien is a fan of the “link method” for remembering a list of words or shopping items. To do it, you simply make a “link” between each of the objects. For example, try remembering the following words : torch, grapes, a ring, sherry. Imagine shining a torch on a bunch of grapes. Inside one of the grapes you see a ring sparkling with diamonds. As you squeeze the grape, the ring falls into a glass of sherry.
(9) EAT CHICKEN AND FLOSS : Rich in the nutrient choline, chicken along with eggs, fish and beans can help keep the brain in top form. Researchers at Tufts University found that people who ate plenty of choline tended to perform better in memory tests and were less likely to display the brain changes that are associated with dementia. And after the chicken snack, make sure you floss. Poor gum health could damage your brain. Studies have found people with gum disease tend to score lower in memory tests, which dental researchers say maybe because infected gums release inflammatory by-products into the bloodstream that travel to the areas of the brain involved in memory. So as well as keeping your teeth and gums healthy, brushing and flossing twice daily could help keep your memory sharp.
(10) DITCH PROTEIN —CENTRIC DIETS : From Paleo to Atkins, diets that ban carbohydrates are as popular as ever, but going without bread and rice can leave you fuzzy-headed and forgetful, according to a study by Tufts University, near Boston in America. This is because your brain runs on carbohydrates, so when you avoid them, you’re depriving it of its “main fuel”. Wholegrain carbs are also rich in B vitamins, low levels of which can trigger memory loss. But don’t skip eating protein either, as research shows lean meat, fish and dairy are vital for a “good attention span”.
—————- Daily Mirror.