It may seem natural for us to begin forgetting the small stuff as we get older, but memory loss isn’t a natural part of aging. Frankly, you may be partaking in habits which are speeding up memory loss without even realizing it.
If birthdays come and go and you haven’t even noticed, or you go grocery shopping and don’t come back with anything you needed, you could very well be having serious memory problems. It’s important to take the necessary steps now – no matter what your age is – to start improving your memory.
Below are five daily habits you’re partaking in which are robbing you of your precious memory. Fixing some or all of these habits may very well have you remembering upcoming anniversaries, recognizing names, and even learning new skills, if your heart desires!
5 habits that hurt your memory
Eating late at night
Do you sometimes get out of bed and head to the refrigerator for a late-night snack? Not only does this habit add pounds and inches to your waistline, but it could very well be a factor in your failing memory.
When you eat during the times when your body is supposed to be sleeping, it disrupts the hippocampus and causes a deficiency. The hippocampus is responsible for learning and memory, so caring for this part of your brain is important if you wish to remember things.
In an experiment, mice were fed during normal sleeping hours. The animals were unable to recall objects during a memorization test, and their long-term memory was dramatically reduced as well.
When we sleep, our brains begin to create and form memories, and so when we get up to eat, this process gets interrupted. That’s why it’s important to keep eating times and sleeping times separate.
Chronic low-level stress
We’re not talking about meeting an emergency deadline – we’re talking about life’s daily little stresses, like your commute or long lineups at the grocery store. Although this type of stress may seem insignificant, it’s still enough to negatively affect your memory.
In a study published in the Journal of Neuroscience, the researchers found that stress – even low-level stress that is chronic – is enough to interrupt synapses crucial for brain communication. This is what reduced short-term memory in mice from the experiment. Therefore, if you want to improve your memory, start managing your stress.
A study from Loughborough and Oxford Universities found consuming the health food tofu could contribute to memory loss and increase the risk of dementia in seniors. The researchers found that consuming more than two servings of tofu daily decreased functional memory by 20 percent. On the other hand, consuming tempeh – fermented soy product – could improve memory.
Being single, or living alone
Numerous studies have pointed to the fact that being single, divorced, or unmarried can contribute to memory loss and increase the risk of dementia. One of those studies conducted in Sweden found that living without a partner doubled the risk of dementia, compared to those individuals who lived with someone.
Furthermore, married couples perform better on cognitive and memory tests, compared to single individuals.
Even if you’re not married, your memory can benefit from simply living with a roommate.
The negative health effects of sugar seem to be endless, so it should be of no surprise that consuming high amounts of sugar can hurt your memory as well. A study conducted by researchers at UCLA found that sugar consumption impairs memory, as it alters the way the brain learns and remembers information over time.
If you have trouble cutting on sugar, experts suggest swapping artificial sugars with natural ones – such as those found in berries – which are a better alternative.
If you partake in any of these habits, you could be slowly impairing your memory. Therefore, it’s important that you recognize which habits are contributing to your forgetfulness, and work to improve them.