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 are partaking in which are robbing you of your precious memory. Fixing some or all these habits may very well have you remembering upcoming anniversaries, recognizing names, and even learning new skills, if your heart desires!
15 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 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 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.
Too Much Sitting
Did you know that sitting too much can have a negative impact on your memory? According to recent studies, people who spend long periods of time sitting are at a higher risk of developing memory issues. This is because sitting for extended periods can lead to decreased blood flow to the brain, which can affect brain function.
Suppose you find yourself sitting for long periods. In that case, taking regular breaks and incorporating physical activity into your daily routine is essential to help promote healthy blood flow to the brain and maintain good cognitive function.
Sleep is essential for both our physical and mental health. It plays a crucial role in regulating our cognitive functions, including our memory. Inadequate sleep can affect our memory in various ways, such as impairing our ability to consolidate new information and affecting our ability to retrieve previously learned information.
Furthermore, lack of sleep can also lead to decreased concentration levels, making it challenging to remember even simple things. Therefore, it is vital to prioritize sleep to enhance our overall cognitive abilities and maintain a healthy memory. So, sleep 7-8 hours each night to boost your memory and mental performance!
You Blast Your Headphones
Listening to loud music may be a common practice among individuals, but its effects on memory are not always considered. Recent studies have shown that loud music can be harmful to memory function. The brain actively processes sounds, and loud noises can disrupt the brain’s ability to encode information correctly. Moreover, music listened to too loudly for an extended period can have a lasting impact on memory retention.
While it may seem tempting to blast your favorite tunes at maximum volume, it is worth considering the potential impact on your memory function in the long run. Ultimately, it is important to be mindful of sound levels and take steps to protect your brain’s memory function.
Smoking not only affects the respiratory system but can have a significant impact on memory as well. Studies have shown that smoking can lead to decreased cognitive function and memory loss. Nicotine, the addictive substance found in tobacco, can lower brain activity and reduce the amount of oxygen that reaches the brain. This lack of oxygen can result in brain structure changes, subsequently leading to memory damage.
A study conducted by the University of California found that smokers had a 40% higher chance of developing dementia compared to non-smokers. Despite these alarming findings, quitting smoking can improve memory and overall cognitive function.
Negative thinking can have a profound impact on memory function. The human brain is a remarkable organ, capable of storing and processing vast amounts of information. However, when negative thoughts become habitual in our daily lives, they can impair the brain’s ability to consolidate new information into long-term memory.
Research suggests that negative thinking can lead to stress, anxiety, and depression, impacting memory function. Additionally, negative thinking can contribute to a lack of sleep, poor diet, and decreased physical activity, all of which can further compromise our ability to remember important information. To maintain optimal memory function, it’s essential to cultivate a positive mindset and practice stress-management techniques.
You Drink Sugary Beverages
Consuming sugary beverages is a common habit for many people in today’s world. However, research suggests that it can have damaging effects on our memory. This is because excessive sugar consumption leads to insulin resistance, which in turn harms the brain cells responsible for forming new memories.
Additionally, sugary drinks often contain high levels of caffeine, which may disrupt our sleep patterns and further impair our cognitive abilities. To maintain a healthy brain and preserve our memory, limiting our intake of sugary beverages and opting for healthier alternatives such as water, herbal tea, and freshly squeezed juice is crucial.
You Don’t Have a Sense of Purpose
Having a sense of purpose can provide direction and meaning in life, but did you know it can also benefit cognitive function? Studies have shown that individuals who lack a sense of purpose may experience a decline in memory as they age. When we have a purpose, our brain is motivated to perform at its best, improving memory and cognitive abilities.
On the other hand, not having a clear purpose can lead to feelings of boredom and apathy, which can negatively impact brain function. So, if you’re looking to improve your memory and cognitive abilities, consider finding a purpose or setting meaningful goals in your life.
You Have a Few Drinks Per Week
Many of us are aware that excessive alcohol consumption can lead to negative consequences, including damage to the liver, heart, and brain. However, a lesser-known fact is that alcohol can harm our memory.
Initially, consuming alcohol may seem to boost a person’s confidence and even improve their social skills. Still, over the long term, it can affect the brain’s ability to encode and store information. This is because alcohol disrupts the process of creating long-term memories, impairing the brain’s ability to transfer information from short-term to long-term memory.
While occasional indulgence in alcohol may not cause severe harm, regular and excessive use can damage the hippocampus, the part of the brain that plays a crucial role in our memory formation.
Consuming Too Much Salt
Salt is a common ingredient that can be found in almost every kitchen around the world. However, studies show that consuming too much salt can lead to harmful effects on one’s memory. The brain needs a balanced amount of electrolytes to function properly, and having too much salt in our diet can disrupt this balance.
In particular, high salt intake affects the brain’s hippocampus region, which is responsible for memory and learning. This means that individuals who consume excessive amounts of salt may experience memory problems or cognitive decline over time. So, it’s essential to monitor your salt intake and make sure you’re consuming it in moderation to keep your brain healthy and functioning at its best.
The effects of drug use on the human body are numerous and far-reaching. When it comes to memory, taking drugs can have a particularly damaging impact. Studies have shown that drug use can impair memory function in several ways. For example, drugs like marijuana can interfere with the brain’s ability to form new memories, whereas opioids can cause forgetfulness and confusion. In the long term, chronic drug use can lead to a range of memory deficits that can impact all areas of life.
It’s important to remember that prescription medications are a common method of treating various health conditions, but they also could come with unwanted side effects. This can be especially concerning for those who depend on their memory for work, school, or daily life.
It is important to talk to your healthcare provider about the potential side effects of any prescription medication you are taking and ask questions about alternative options or ways to mitigate their impact on memory. By being informed and proactive about medication usage, individuals can better protect their cognitive health and quality of life.
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.