Don’t so quickly attribute your worsening memory to “senior moments.”
Our dependence on the internet and technology make it more likely that any evidence of forgetfulness is more likely just laziness. We don’t have to rely on our memories to recall phone numbers, driving directions, or random facts. It is for this reason why it is imperative that we exercise our memories and use this area of the brain to its full potential.
Here are Sanjay Gupta’s Memory Strengthening Tips
- Drink caffeine – while many studies advise to stay clear of caffeinated beverages, caffeine in moderation can help enhance your memory. Caffeine has been known to assist the hormone norepinephrine which helps consolidate information so that that information can be recalled in the future.
- Exercise – regular exercise has the potential to increase the size of your hippocampus (the area of the brain responsible for memory)
- Eat Omega-3s – Omega 3 Fatty Acids found in fish, nuts, and seeds are proven to be especially conducive to strengthening your working memory, the part of the brain responsible for holding onto temporary information like a phone number or the name of your server at a restaurant.
- Get enough sleep – take short naps (15 – 45min) in the early afternoon and complement a nap with seven hours of uninterrupted sleep. Sleep has been known to restore and consolidate memories as well as strengthen your attention span.
- Disrupt your routine – break out of your everyday patterns when it comes to activities, meals, and post-work routines. Engage your senses and your brain by exposing yourself to new situations. If you normally eat the same salad at lunch then try something new! Instead of lounging on the couch after work go for a walk instead. Your brain retains new information that it marks as “different,”and therefore important, so make sure you are giving your brain new material.
- Cognitive Games – reading, chess, Sudoku puzzles, and card games are great ways to exercise your memory. Planning regular game nights with friends or grandchildren is a great way to spend time with loved ones and boost your memory!
But when is it time to worry that you’re tendency to misplace your keys or forget your reading glasses is not a more serious memory concern?
Memory problems can arise due to the loss or brain cell receptors and neurotransmitter decline that occurs with age. However, you are more prone to forgetfulness if you are under a lot of stress, are sick, distracted, overwhelmed, or tired.
When to consult a physician
It’s important to meet with your doctor if your forgetfulness and memory problems extend to a disruption that affects your daily life. Here are some signs to look out for courtesy of the Alzheimer’s Association:
- Memory loss that disrupts daily life
- Challenges in planning or solving problems
- Difficulty completing familiar tasks
- Confusion with time or place
- Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships
- New problems with words in speaking or writing
- Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps
- Decreased or poor judgment
- Withdrawal from work or social activities
- Changes in mood and personality
Problems with self-diagnosis
It is very important to consider the severity and frequency of any of the above symptoms. What often happens with a self-diagnosis is that it becomes extremely easy for almost anyone to see the above symptoms in their daily activities. Talking to your doctor in depth about your situation will allow for a professional to evaluate your situation.
Let us know if you have any tips for how to keep your mind sharp!