We all have little memory slips, usually at the most inconvenient moments. But consistently occurring memory loss is one of the leading signs of dementia. To help combat dementia, here are six health-related tips you can implement in your own life to help keep your memory sharp.
1. Monitor Your Hearing
As hearing loss is usually a gradual process, many people do not recognize the level of hearing loss they are suffering from. This slow loss is something many people automatically adjust to while never realizing they are suffering from a mild-to-moderate form of hearing loss until it has developed into a more severe case. As hearing loss at any level can greatly accelerate brain tissue and memory loss, this is not something to take lightly.
One way to combat hearing loss-related memory loss is to go in for regular yearly hearing exams. Many adults starting at age 50 are already struggling with hearing loss, as are those who like to attend concerts or regularly use earbuds. So, while many people do not consider hearing loss until much later in life, it may be something you want to consider sooner than you expected.
2. Socialize with Family and Friends
Not only can your emotional health be improved by socializing with your family and friends, but researchers have seen that socialization is an important aspect of protecting the brain against memory decline. The brain is more active as you socialize and continues to create more connections to store your memories and interactions.
If you do not live near your family and friends, it can be difficult to find new friends to socialize with, especially as we have more responsibilities. Some ways you can fit in more socialization are:
- Attend local events and set a goal to talk to a couple new people.
- Look for meetups for your particular hobby.
- Reach out to coworkers.
3. Stick to a Regular Workout Routine
Exercise, whether it is sporadic or consistent, has been shown in studies to improve memory. However, when exercise is inconsistent, it is likely to do less good than a regular exercise routine. To successfully integrate a regular exercise routine into your daily schedule, you should:
- Stick to a set time to work out.
- Choose exercises you enjoy, not ones you think you should do.
- Track your workouts to keep yourself accountable.
4. Maintain a Good Sleep Schedule
While some people treat sleep as though it is wasted time, humans need sleep for a number of things. Sleep is how our brain processes our daily activities; REM sleep helps us organize learning; and other memory-related tasks are performed while we sleep. If you are consistently deprived of the sleep you need, you can suffer from gradual memory loss.
Adults should be sleeping between 7–9 hours a night for optimal memory maintenance, with teens needing 9–10 hours and younger children requiring anywhere from 10–14 hours. While it is completely possible to train your body to function on less sleep, you can’t make your brain’s sleep processes faster to make up for the lack of sleep.
5. Watch What You Eat
What you eat not only impacts your physical health, but your diet can definitely affect your cognitive functions. Simple carbohydrates transform quickly into glucose (sugar), and once the rush from the sugar wears off, your brain is left feeling sluggish. However, other foods are excellent for their sustained energy and offer your memory food for thought. Some memory-supporting foods are:
- Citrus fruits
- Whole grains
6. Keep Your Brain Active and Engaged
Binge-watching television is becoming an art form, but it does next to nothing to help keep your memory sharp. Instead, try to engage your brain with regular learning. By trying to learn new things, such as language learning or engaging in strategy games, your brain will create more memory connections. This helps your brain more easily access your older memories as the brain actively engages in the present.
All of these six health tips to keep your memory sharp also double as ways to make your life richer overall. So, do yourself a huge favor and start implementing these memory tips today.