Whether you’re a new mum, in your forties or ready for retirement, there’s no good time to feel like a poor memory is getting the better of you. Rather than let it win though there are some simple things you could do to try to improve it.
Old age doesn’t have to come hand in hand with memory loss. The brain is capable of producing new brain cells at any age, but just like your fitness or muscle strength, if you don’t use it you lose it. Break your routine and do something different and challenging to ensure you’re strengthening the brain. An activity that’s pushing you and requires mental effort is best. So think about learning to play a new instrument, learn a new skill or language. Anything that challenges the brain is giving it a workout. If somebody suggests a game of Scrabble during the festive season, it would be the perfect time to flex your memory muscles.
Alcohol and memory loss
We keep reading about drinking alcohol being terrible for your body – and of course that includes your brain. Drinking every evening is a slippery slope, particularly in your forties and over. If you’re keen to improve your memory, we’d suggest cutting out alcohol completely, or at the very least setting a rule, like weekends only. November can be a good time to give up alcohol completely for a few weeks as a lot of people tend to hibernate before the December round of parties, so you’re less likely to be tempted to drink as you’ll be socialising less.
If you’re looking for an alternative, we keep hearing about the benefits of rosemary water. A new study has found that drinking concentrated No. 1 Rosemary Water can boost cognitive and memory performance by up to 15%. The drink is commercially available and combines rosemary extract with spring water, but no other additives.
The findings in The Journal of Pharmacology about the concentrated rosemary are interesting and there’s no harm in adding fresh rosemary to water and making your own version. Simply put some fresh rosemary in a pitcher, jug or mason jar with some filtered water. Leave for an hour or so and then drink. You could always add some slices of fresh lemon or limes for an added zing.
A study from the University of Reading and the Peninsula Medical School tested the blueberry theory by supplementing people’s normal diet with blueberries for twelve weeks. After just three weeks they saw a significant improvement on spatial working memory tasks.
It’s not just berries which could do some good for your brain. Other food sources such as oily fish, avocados, green veggies and turmeric have also been shown to help your brain function at it’s best and keep your memory sharp.
A lack of sleep doesn’t just leave you with bags under your eyes, it also compromises your memory, creativity and your ability to problem solve. Research even shows that the key memory-enhancing activity in the brain occurs when you are at your deepest stage of sleep.
Even if you think you don’t need much sleep, most adults need between seven and nine hours every night. Try to set a regular sleep schedule, avoid screens for an hour before bed and cut back on caffeine and alcohol too.
The above information is intended as a guide only. If you’re concerned your forgetfulness is something more serious you should seek advice from your GP or a medical professional in person.