5 Ways to Upgrade Your Memory
When we think of the brain’s ability to perform at optimum, we rarely think of memory as being an important brain process. Most put more importance on their focus, motivation, and problem solving abilities, and rightly so – these are what mainly allow us to stay productive and blast through a whole day’s work. But how important is working memory, really?
Unless you are experiencing a problem with memory, you probably don’t even think about it. It’s one of those “just there” things, and so we very easily take it for granted. After all, we’ll all have to deal with it anyway when we get to our 60s, but for now, who gives a hoot? But what most people don’t know is that having a good memory doesn’t only necessarily mean being able to remember more things… it’s more about what improved memory will ultimately allow: efficient studying, quick mastery of skills and talents, and even faster reaction times and processing speed!
So where shall we start?
1. Dive Head-first Into the World of Nootropics.
If you haven’t heard of nootropics, or put simply, brain enhancing supplements before, what rock have you been sleeping under? Nootropics are on the rise and everyone is taking them to get one step ahead in an increasingly competitive academic and corporate environment. This isn’t anything new though: the very first nootropic, Piracetam (today also known as Nootropil), was discovered by Russian scientists over 50 years ago when it showed very positive effects to working memory.
The premise is really quite simple: there are different types of nootropics out there, from the more common types like caffeine and L-theanine to the more complex like Noopept, all of which positively affect your brain in some way. You take a specific nootropic to see an improvement in a certain area (focus, energy, working memory, problem solving ability, clarity, mood), or you can take a pre-made supplement stack like Alpha Brain or NITROvit, which allows you to benefit from more than one nootropic at the same time.
There are tons of nootropics available out there and you should give them a try if you are serious in your studies, work, or just about anything where you want to achieve exceptional results.
2. Try Out Some Brain Training Apps.
Believe it or not, but the brain boosting games available on either the App Store or Play Store do actually work! There has been astonishing research to support that these games actually have a positive effect on the brain’s cognitive processes – mainly in problem-solving speed and accuracy, strategy and long-term planning, thinking outside the box and creativity, and in some cases, even memory.
The best app available by far is Lumosity. Lumosity is a game that’s basically split into three different categories: memory, problem solving, and processing speed. Each category has a number of different puzzles and games that all work toward improving that specific cognitive process. The creators claim that with as little as one game per day, you’ll find substantial improvements… all while being able to track your progress with detailed analyses and breakdowns.
Lumosity is available for $15 a month or $80 for a yearly subscription.
3. Get Plenty of Sleep.
This one should be the easiest one on this list to do. You just have to make sure that you’re getting your 7.5 or 9 hours of sleep a day. Oh, you’re wondering why we mention 7.5 and 9 specifically? According to sleep specialists (yes, that’s actually a thing), a complete sleep cycle, or circadian rhythm, lasts around 1.5 hours. When you wake up in the morning feeling like a zombie, it is often because you were awoken in the middle of a sleep cycle, most possibly while in deep sleep. To avoid this, try making it so that you schedule your sleep in 1.5 hour intervals. So it would be wise to sleep for 6, 7.5, or 9 hours, and not just 7 or 8.
One overlap with one of our previous points is that there are actually nootropics out there that when taken before bed give you better sleep quality. You’ll have to do a little research to find out which one though.
4. Exercise Frequently.
You may have read about this a number of times already, but just because it’s been known for a long time doesn’t mean it’s less important than any of the other points listed here. Exercising frequently keeps the brain healthy by improving blood circulation in a process called vasodilation. When exercising, your heart rate increases, so the blood vessels have to expand to allow more blood to flow through. This allows more oxygen to be supplied to the brain, improving its efficiency.
In addition, exercise also releases a number of hormones that are known to have beneficial effects to the brain and body. A few of these are serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, which work in combination to improve focus, positivity, and improved short-term working memory, while also alleviating stress.
5. Write Things Down.
Ever notice in an exam that if you’ve written all the crucial points to remember on a piece of paper when studying, it’s so much easier to recall those points? Or when you have a great idea about something and you write it down on a piece of paper, you’re able to remember it for the entire day? The very act of writing things down (not to be mistaken with typing things into your phone or laptop) allows things to be stored more efficiently in your long-term memory.
While this doesn’t necessarily improve your overall memory, it will improve your ability to remember things. With that in mind though, if you get into the habit of writing things down, you’ll definitely see a big improvement in just being able to remember everything.
How does this work? Well, when we hear or think of something, the parts of our brain that involve language and listening are engaged. With only two connections made, our brain categorizes this information as “not important”. But if we’re able to create more associations, say, by writing it down, you aren’t only engaging the language and listening parts, but we also associate the visual, the spatial, and the very act of holding a pen and writing something physically. More connections, more likelihood for things to be remembered.
From taking a brain pill to getting out and running some more, we’ve put down the 5 best ways to upgrade your working memory and start seeing dramatic positive results. You might not have known it, but you might actually be doing some of these already. If not, give a couple a try and see where your enhanced memory takes you…
Know of other ways to upgrade your working memory?
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