We’ve all had those moments of losing our train of thought mid-conversation. Or frantically searching for our car keys, only to find them already in our pocket. It’s tempting to call these minor memory lapses “senior moments.” But the truth is aging itself is generally not a cause of significant cognitive decline.
And here’s another key fact that is surprising but true: you can maintain and sometimes even strengthen your brain function.
Get enough sleep. There is a big difference between the amount of sleep you can get by on and the amount you need to function at your best. The truth is that over 95% of adults need between 7.5 to 9 hours of sleep every night in order to avoid sleep deprivation. Even skimping on a few hours makes a difference! Memory, creativity, problem-solving abilities, and critical thinking skills are all compromised.
Memory, like muscular strength, requires you to “use it or lose it.” The more you work out your brain, the better you’ll be able to process and remember information. But not all activities are equal. The best brain exercises break your routine and challenge you to use and develop new brain pathways.
Just as the body needs fuel, so does the brain. You probably already know that a diet based on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, “healthy” fats (such as olive oil, nuts, fish) and lean protein will provide lots of health benefits, but such a diet can also improve memory.