May 18th 2021|| Improving Memory by Dr.Manvir Bhatia & Saunri
Memories begin to form at the age of 2 and reach their peak at around 25 years of age. After the age of 35, these memories begin to decline. Memories are stored in a region of the brain called the hippocampus. The delicate balance between our ability to remember and our ability to forget depends on the communication taking place at synapses between neurons. Synaptic plasticity is term used to describe the changes that take place in neuronal connections which either make them stronger or weaker.
When you want to retrieve a stored memory from long ago, your brain has to ‘search deep within’ to access those memories from within your hippocampus. Unless an event has not been transferred from your short-term memory to your long-term memory, that information will not be stored for a long duration and you will end up losing those memories.
Here are four simple areas that you should work on in order to improve your memory:
- Brain Exercise: The saying ‘Use it or lose it’ is applicable when it comes to brain function. Giving a new challenge to your brain such as learning a new language, writing with your non dominant hand or solving puzzles with a higher difficulty level help to form new synapses in the brain and also increase and strengthen existing synapses, thus improving neuroplasticity.
- Physical Exercise: Even moderate exercise of 30 minutes a day not only helps you to keep physically fit but also helps to keep your brain sharp. Exercise helps to increase the blood flow and oxygen to your brain. It also helps to improve your mood and sleep and reduce stress and anxiety which in turn help you think more clearly. Exercise also increases the levels of BDNF Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor that increases synaptic plasticity in the hippocampus and also induces neurogenesis which is the growth of new neurons.
- Sleep: In sleep, a very important process of “memory consolidation” occurs that involves the formation of new long-term memories and the strengthening of existing memories. In NREM or Slow Wave Sleep generation of sleep spindles helps in a part of memory consolidation. In REM sleep, brain activity reactivates sleep associated gene expression. This alternation between REM and NREM is important for the complete consolidation of memories and hence, a full nights sleep of 7 to 8 hours is necessary.
- Diet: The brain consumes 20 % of the body’s energy and hence diet is a very important factor to consider while working on your memory. Diets that are rich in polyphenols have been shown to improve cognitive performance. Antioxidants such as Curcumin known as ‘Haldi’, help to reduce oxidative stress and prevent brain damage. Foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids provide the necessary fats and lipids that are essential in maintaining neuronal physiology. Intermittent fasting has also been shown to be essential for brain health.
In conclusion, to improve memory, you need a good and healthy brain that you must challenge and exercise regularly. Proper diet should also be maintained, and most importantly, your memories must be allowed to be consolidated during sleep.
To seek help or know more about how to improve your memory, you can visit the Neurology and Sleep Centre, the 1st sleep centre in the country accredited by Indian Board of Sleep Medicine at L-23, Hauz Khas Enclave, New Delhi, Delhi-110016 (INDIA)
Or give a call on +91-11-46070321, +91-9643500270,