Improving memory. Everyone understands why it’s important to improve their memory, but not everyone has taken the time to work specifically on their memory. Improving memory is going to improve all sorts of areas in your life. There are the obvious reasons of being able to do better in school, but there are also plenty of side benefits to improving memory. For example, being able to memorize and learn more quickly means less time studying and more time playing. Improving memory is a great skill to help you land a job, and it’s a fantastic confidence booster when meeting new people. You will impress your employers with the things you’ve researched and learned about their companies, and you will impress other kinds of relationships with your memory of things that are important to them. A better memory is helpful far beyond just the school setting; it can touch every aspect of your life.
When it really comes down to it, memories make up who we are as a person. While everyone has their own little bit of “nature,” “nurture” is still a significant aspect of who we end up becoming. Our experiences, and our memories of those experiences, color just about everything we see in life.
Genes play a significant role in determining the levels of our memory capacities. You may be genetically predisposed to cognitive diseases like Alzheimer’s. While this can be discouraging to those with specific family histories, there is good news available. Increasing memory capacities beyond our genes is possible if we invest the energy and time needed for it.
So how do we improve our memory? Not only can you look into memory booster supplements, nootropics, and health habits, but you can also simply practice.
How to Improve Memory
Sure there are plenty of natural memory boosters for students, but we’ll talk a little bit about that later. Let’s discuss a couple of other practices you can use before trying to sort through memory supplements.
That’s the first thing you can examine in your life. In one study done by the Boston University School of Medicine followed 4,200 people and periodically tested them in different ways. There were surveys about their diet that asked specifically about sugary drinks. Sugary drinks are a great way to test someone’s sugar consumption because there are no other nutrients to slow down the absorption into the bloodstream. Beyond surveys, participants were tested in memory and cognition. There was a definite correlation between sugar consumption and memory deficits. To make matters worse, researchers went on to give MRI scans to these participants and found that people who ate more sugar literally had less brain volume than those who didn’t.
It wasn’t just brain volume in general, these participants had less brain volume in the areas of their brains that controlled memory. More than two drinks a day are believed to age your brain by five to eleven years. Next time you reach for a sugary caffeinated drink or some kind of energy drink, think again. It may lengthen your attention span by temporarily reducing your drowsiness, but it’s not going to do you any favors over a long period of time. Tempted to grab a sugar free option? Just know that artificial sweeteners didn’t have better results than the regular sugary diets.
Meditation is positively linked towards all sorts of health benefits, and memory is just one of them. As you age, your brain starts to lose gray matter. Gray matter is associated with your memory. Studies on meditation have shown to literally increase gray matter in people of all ages. There are all sorts of studies that show the inarguable link between meditation and memory. Some of the more famous studies include those done on Tibetan monks as they meditated. Meditation increases the amount of blood flowing to your brain, and consequently leads to a strong network of blood vessels. That’s just a fancy way of saying that your memory is getting better simply because your brain is healthier physically.
Get in shape.
Specifically, lose weight if you NEED to. Obesity is linked to a million health problems that we get to hear about all the time. Unfortunately, it’s also linked to decreasing levels of cognitive functioning. Being obese quite literally changes the genes found in your cells that are associated with memory. Obesity is linked to a higher risk of Alzheimer’s Disease.
Go to sleep.
I wrote an entire article on this already if you’re interested enough. Sleep is a key practice in improving memory. While you’re asleep, your brain takes your short memory (like the test you just studied for), and strengthens it and stores it in your long term memory. This is known as memory consolidation. High five to your brain for doing that while you’re asleep. Get enough sleep. It’s going to make your life better in so many ways.
Strain your brain to a healthy level.
While significant amounts of stress aren’t doing you any favors, healthy amounts of stress lead us to beneficial outcomes. I mean, how much would you really absorb in your college classes if you weren’t going to experience the stress of being tested on it? There are plenty of little games like Sudoku that boast its brain-empowering capacities, but any kind of development is going to push you in the right direction. For example, try learning a new language. Pick up a new instrument; you don’t have to be younger than eight years old to start practicing piano. There are all kinds of ways to get involved and boost that brainpower.
Repetition, repetition, repetition.
(You’re welcome for the second dad joke in this article). Every time you pause to recall something you’ve previously focused on, you’re making that memory stronger. Consciously recalling a fact you learned in class actually repeats the entire process you previously encountered when you originally made the memory. In your practical every day life, this may mean striving to focus and take notes in class and then taking fifteen minutes in between classes to review your notes quickly.
What is a nootropic? The nootropic definition states that it is an adjective used to describe a drug that enhances memory. Moving past best practices, there are also nootropic supplements you can take to enhance your memory. Just like it’s important to exercise a muscle to make it stronger, it is also crucial to feed that muscle.
Caffeine and L-Theanine
Caffeine and L-Theanine are two of the best nootropics for memory. I’m putting them in the same paragraph because they are often used together in performance-enhancing supplements. Caffeine is probably the most well known and widely used nootropic. It gets rid of drowsiness for a short period of time allowing a student to focus better (and focus is key to memory!). L-Theanine has a calming effect on its user without the drowsiness, and it’s more effective when combined with caffeine.
Creatine is yet another nootropic source you can use in your arsenal of memory boosters. Creatine is an amino acid that binds with phosphate to create quick energy for your brain. The extra energy is not only associated with memory, but it also works to improve your reasoning skills.
Fish Oil Supplement
Try a fish oil supplement. Fish oil supplements have started to make quite the splash (pun intended) in the supplement world for its many benefits. These supplements contain two kinds of fatty acids that people aren’t consuming enough of. EPA and DHA are these two omega-3 fatty acids, and there aren’t many sources to ingest these acids other than fish. Because they help compose the cell membrane, they can be fairly crucial to health. Yet, people simply don’t eat enough fish and aren’t getting enough of this supplement. EPA and DHA are necessary for regular brain growth and development, especially in children. Adding fish oil supplements to your diet is going to benefit you in many ways, especially in the areas of brain development and memory.
So there are just a couple of the more readily available nootropics that you don’t need a prescription for. There are plenty of other nootropics used around the world, especially in parts of Asia. These are the ones you’re going to find more easily than others.
Memory is an essential part of our quality of life. Taking steps to improve it is worth the time investment it requires. If you don’t already have enough reasons to live a healthy lifestyle with both good practices and beneficial nutrients, hopefully, you can find a couple of more reasons associated with brain functionality. Honestly, that’s really what it all comes down to. There are plenty of games and tools people use to boost their memories, but at the end of the day, if you’re investing time into your health, you’ll find that your body and brain are going to be on top of their game for you.