4 Key Steps to Take Now
When it comes to memory loss, you really only have two choices: hope for a future medical miracle to heal your brain, or start taking action now to prevent memory loss in the first place.
Brain health and mental well-being result from simple, daily choices. Memory loss often results from a lifestyle that continually stresses and chemically challenges an undernourished brain, according to researcher Dana Demas.
If you want to prevent memory loss and protect your brain power, here are five things you can do right now:
1. Get a Good Night’s Sleep
A solid night of sleep is the best gift you can give your brain. Without sleep, your brain doesn’t recharge. Instead of sorting through your daily memories over several hours of restful REM sleep, on a short night your brain tries to prioritize memory sorting and preservation in just a few quick minutes. No wonder things start to slip!
You can help prevent memory loss by getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night. A quiet, dark room is best. A good sleep routine will prime your body for sleeping. If insomnia is an issue, try a non-addicting natural sleep supplement to fall asleep fast and get the deep REM sleep your memory needs.
2. Lower Your Stress Level
Chronic stress can permanently damage memory since it shrinks and destroys brain tissue, according to Dr. Stephanie McClellan. Cut out high stress elements of your life or consider getting help dealing with money, relationship, or work-related stress.
To reduce the feeling of stress, the Mayo Clinic recommends cutting out distractions and focusing on one thing at a time. You’ll find your productivity will improve and your mind will feel less pressure to perform. Rested and relaxed, your brain will do a better job protecting and retrieving your precious memories.
3. Eat a Healthy Diet
You need a healthy diet for so many things in your body to work right — including your brain. Memory loss has been linked to a poor diet, irregular eating habits, and ongoing nutritional deficiencies. The brain may only be 2% of your body weight, but it burns through 20% of your daily energy intake, so you need to feed it the right things.
A diet rich in anti-oxidants has been shown to reverse age-related brain changes, according to Dr. James Joseph at Tufts University in Boston. Green leafy vegetables, foods high in B-12, and fresh fruits can all fight memory loss. On the other hand, drinking alcohol, overloading on heavy carbs, and eating lots of fast food contribute to memory loss problem.
4. Proactively Tackle Chronic Health Challenges
When you’re struggling with an ongoing health challenge, it can be easy to focus on just that problem. However, most chronic health issues are treated with medications that will damage your body and upset your internal chemical balance.
The changes to your body these medications cause can ruin your memory. We like to think of life in a “drug-induced haze” as a stoner’s problem, but the reality is multiple prescriptions will give you the same effect. Some of the medications that can cause memory loss include antihistamines, blood pressure pills, anti-depressants, and painkillers.
Don’t sacrifice your mind by being complacent about your health. The Mayo Clinic recommends proactive treatment for chronic health conditions that require ongoing medication — diabetes, depression, heart problems, cholesterol, obesity — as a way to help you avoid a lifetime on mind-fogging drugs and to prevent memory loss.
Demas D. 10 Ways to Improve Your Memory: Natural Solutions To Increase Brain Power. 2010 Nov 22.
Mayo Clinic. Memory Loss: 7 Tips to Improve Your Memory. 2011 Apr 30.
Connors MS. Best Brain Boosts After 55. Prevention. 2011 Nov.