How Your Lifestyle Affects Your Memory

Most people have problems with their memory on some days and not others. When you are feeling alert, well rested and healthy, you are less likely to have problems with everyday remembering. But if you have been having a bad day, or are tense or depressed, you may experience problems with your memory.

Since memory is part of your cognitive process, it makes sense that anything that interferes with optimum brain function can affect how well you retrieve and store information. Both your body and your mind – hence your memory – are influenced by diet, medications, stress level, exercise, smoking, and relaxation.

Your mood affects your ability to remember. When you can’t remember something, you can get even more frustrated and create even more stress, which in turn affects your memory. Anxiety and depression are the two major causes of memory problems at any age. When you are deeply depressed or overstressed, you tend to turn inward. You do not record information the way you normally do and your thoughts are occupied with negative emotions. It is important to relax and de-stress so your memory function can get back to normal. Practice breathing and visualization techniques every day so that when you need them, they will be second nature to you.

Not eating a balanced diet can also have a negative impact on your memory, as it can impair the nervous system. Too many food additives and too much sugar contribute to memory malfunction. You need a healthy diet full of vitamins, minerals, iron, and protein.

You also need to drink plenty of water. Have you ever felt tired and disoriented in the middle of the day, and perked up after having some water? That is because dehydration can lead to confusion and other thinking problems.

Getting enough sleep is also essential for a good memory. This gives your brain some needed rest and relaxation. During certain periods of deep sleep that occur about every hour and a half, the brain disconnects from the senses and processes, reviews, consolidates, and stores memory. To interfere with this crucial time of sleep will seriously affect how your memory functions.

Alcohol, smoking, and caffeine are all memory inhibitors. Consuming too much of these will impair your ability to store new information and cause short term memory loss.

It may not be easy at first, but moderating your lifestyle and living in a healthy, balanced way can have a tremendous impact on you and your memory.