1. Get more sleep.
Your professors weren’t wrong when they warned you against all-nighters. When you sleep, your brain takes the information you gathered throughout the day and processes it into your longterm memory. Make sure you get the recommended seven to nine hours each night to optimize the health benefits of sleep.
2. Quit smoking.
Kick the habit for your mind. A 2010 data analysis found a significant association between individuals who smoked and a higher risk for Alzheimer’s disease. Once you quit, your body starts the healing process.
Show this to your boss next time they think you’re not paying attention. Research suggests doodling on paper while listening to something may help with retention. In one study, researchers found that people who doodled remembered 29 percent more information from a boring phone call than people who just listened. This is because the act keeps your brain active, making it harder for you to tune out what’s going on around you. As a general rule of thumb, the more sensory details you associate to a given situation or subject, the more likely you are to remember it.
4. Be mindful of your diet.
Here’s some food for thought: Research shows there’s a large connection between what you eat and your memory. Diets high in saturated fat have been linked to a gene which may contribute to Alzheimer’s disease, according to Harvard Health. It’s important to note that this specific study was just conducted in women, but we can certainly infer more from it than an experiment done on rodents.
We’re not implying that you forego an indulgence or two (that would be torture), but you may want to think twice before you have regular steak-and-fries dinners. Foods rich in mono and polyunsaturated fats (think fruits, vegetables, fish and nuts) are also good to include in your diet to help improve memory, Harvard Health reported.
An active body = an active mind. A 2014 University of British Columbia study found that regular aerobic exercise may increase the volume of the hippocampus, or one area of the brain in charge of — you guessed it — memory. Like the diet research mentioned above, this particular experiment was also conducted just on women, but it can also suggest a lot more about humans than rodents.
6. Avoid multitasking.
Trust us, simultaneously watching a puppy video on YouTube and trying to write a story on a deadline is not going to do anything for that noggin. In fact, distractions have a way of messing up your brain’s ability to focus, leading you to ask, “What was I working on again?”
“We need to have an environment that nurtures memory function,” Monique M. Williams, assistant professor of medicine and psychiatry at Washington University School of Medicine, told Live Science. “Be sure to have an area that is quiet and free from distractions. Multitasking is not an efficient means to accomplish tasks.”
7. Ultimately, live a healthier lifestyle.
There’s no antidote to an aging brain quite like prioritizing your health overall, experts say. That includes eating well, being physically active and even controlling your stress. Try one of these tricks if you’re in need of a little calm (we’re sorry to report drinking red wine isn’t on the list).