5 Science-Backed Methods to Improve Your Memory
The following is a guest post by biochemist and nutritionist Dr. Mike Roussell, PhD, co-founder of Neuro Coffee and Neutein.
Isn’t it amazing when someone can effortlessly remember a specific detail from an experience or book they read years before? This ability to improve your memory isn’t a magical ability—it’s something we all can do. But in order to tap into your long-term memory, you need to have a robust memory to start with. Here are five simple yet surprising study-based hacks you can use to upgrade the rate in which your brain stores memories, experiences, and topics you studied into your long-term memory.
1. Have caffeine after—not before—you study
Research published in Nature Neuroscience found the timing of your caffeine consumption can impact how it affects your brain. The researchers found when people had caffeine after studying or learning new information, they had better retention of that information 24 hours later. Having caffeine before they studied or learned had no impact on their memory. Researchers also looked at different dosages of caffeine and 200 mg (the amount found in a cup of coffee) seemed to be the ideal dose for improving memory.
2. Drink coffee fruit coffee
Coffee fruit coffee, like Neuro Coffee, contains concentrated antioxidants from the coffee fruit. These antioxidants have been found in two clinical studies (see here and here) to increase the neuro-protein BDNF. BDNF is used by your body in the growth and repair of neurons but it also plays a role in the formation of memories. Stress, getting older, and high sugar diets have been associated with lower levels of BDNF. A simple cup of coffee fruit coffee can get you back on the right track.
3. Sit in silence and relax
When it comes to improving your long-term memory, you might feel like you need to do more–more study, more time working, more action. But research shows that doing less can actually improve your ability to remember things. A study published in Neurobiology Learning and Memory showed 12 minutes of mental relaxation led to greater memory retention after four weeks than in people who did not spend time to relax after learning something.
4. Do high-intensity interval training
Along with coffee fruit coffee, exercise is one of the most well-known ways to increase BDNF, but not just any kind of exercise will do. A 2015 study from Journal of Applied Physiology found interval training was a superior way to increase BDNF via exercise. Here’s what to do based on this study: one minute of intense cardio at 90% of maximum heart rate (at this intensity you are working so hard that you are not able to talk) followed by one minute of rest. Repeat for 10 total rounds. Get after it and get smarter. [Editor’s note: make sure to clear this or any new exercise program with your doctor first.]
5. Don’t skimp on sleep
Sleep is very important for improving memory, as when we sleep our brain actually prunes and consolidates our daily experiences and stores them (the ones they want to keep) in our long-term memory, as this study shows. Turn off Netflix. Turn off your phone. Prioritize getting at least seven hours of sleep each night to keep your memory as sharp as possible.
Dr. Mike Roussell is a biochemist, nutritionist, and co-founder of Neuro Coffee and Neutein. He holds a degree in biochemistry from Hobart College and a doctorate in nutrition from Pennsylvania State University.
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