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Remembering to improve your memory

by Sonia Chartier, on 23 August 2017, Memory and concentration
memory

Have a word on the tip of your tongue but can’t find it? Forgetting your keys a lot?

These “memory lapses” are an annoying but mostly harmless form of forgetfulness. Memory problems get worse with age—they often start in your forties—and increase when you experience strong emotions, fatigue or anxiety

How can you remember a password or where you parked your car when you have something else on your mind? Turns out you’re not really losing your memory, you’re just not registering things in the first place! But don’t fret: your memory is a muscle—you just need to give it a good workout now and then.

Improve your memory by adopting a healthier lifestyle

You’ve surely noticed that you tend to forget things more when you’re tired or stressed out. You can’t expect to improve your memory if you don’t take care of your health and well-being. Need a few ideas to improve your memory?

  1. Sleep
    Most of us tend to forget that our body and brain need to recharge overnight. Getting enough sleep (between 7 and 9 hours) is essential to improving memory. Establish a bedtime routine to prepare your body for sleep. If possible, set a fixed bedtime and waking time, ideally on weekends too. And remember to turn off your screens (smartphones, TV, computer, etc.) an hour before going to bed.
  2. Diet
    Choose foods rich in omega-3, like fatty fishes. Avoid sugary foods in the morning. A protein-rich breakfast with eggs, whole grain bread, cheese or nut butter is a better option than a pastry or croissant with jam and orange juice. Certain substances are good for memory, such as the neurotransmitter choline. Foods rich in choline include eggs, almonds, soy, artichoke, shrimp and broccoli. And don’t forget chocolate: it’s rich in magnesium and potassium and stimulates the brain. Enjoy it in moderation!
  3. Recreation
    Reading regularly is a good way to keep up your memory, while doing crosswords and sudoku puzzles help keep your mind flexible. Generally speaking, staying curious and pursuing your interests and passions are great ways to keep your mind active and lively.

Remembering more easily with rosemary oil

Researchers at England’s Northumbria University studied the effects of the scent of rosemary essential oil on so‑called prospective memory. Prospective memory refers to the ability to intentionally plan and carry out elaborate tasks within a given timeframe, such as remembering in the morning that you have to take your medication at night and how to take it right.

Sixty-six people took part in this study. One group had to carry out a number of tasks in a room that had been sprayed with rosemary essential oil, whereas the second group’s room had not been prepared in any way. Both groups were tasked with solving the same prospective memory exercises.

The results showed that inhaling rosemary essential oil improves the brain’s ability to plan and act intentionally. The organic compound 1,8-cineol, more commonly known as eucalyptol, is responsible for this phenomenon: it makes up between 35% and 45% of rosemary essential oil and is also found in eucalyptus and sage.

The study participants who were in the room imbued with rosemary essential oil were found to have a higher blood concentration of cineol (1,8-cineol). This organic compound inhibits an enzyme responsible for slowing the exchange of semiochemicals in nerve cells; previous studies had already proved this effect. Researchers are hoping that new treatment methods aimed at patients suffering from memory disorders or dementia will soon be developed.

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