There are a number of factors that can affect memory retention and brain function, including poor nutrition as well as exposure to drugs, chemicals, and smoking. But emotional state plays a big role. For example, sleep quality and quantity as well as reducing stress Improves memory.
It has long been known that a good night’s sleep improves memory and memory retention. In this new study at Notre Dame, students were given specific word pairs to remember, some related and some not. Some students slept after learning them while others did not. It was clear that those that slept had a much superior retention to those who had not.
It is clear that sleep has a way of fortifying our memories. The trouble with aging is that many people stop being able to get high quality sleep and sleeping while medicated is not the same, the brain activity is different.
Studying before sleeping improves memory
“Our study confirms that sleeping directly after learning something new is beneficial for memory,” Payne [from Notre Dame] told Science Daily…..[Nurse Kehoe at Oregon] discouraged irregular sleep patterns for studying because the body does not learn as efficiently with irregular sleep. The body can also only make up two hours of sleep, she said. Uwire article
Reducing stress and cortisol levels may just be the way. One way is by daily meditations: it helps reduce stress, which provides lasting benefits, including psychological and cognitive. Daily meditation alone improves memory function, but it also improves the quality and duration of sleep.
Reducing Stress Improves Memory
The benefits are many. According to Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, while meditation has long been known to provide peacefulness and physical relaxation, recent research supports the claim that it also provides lasting cognitive and psychological benefits. Measurable changes occur in the brain, after only a couple of months, in the regions associated with memory, sense of self, empathy, and stress. Link to article in International Business Times
So, two lifestyle changes that could help retain memory and brain function include relaxation with medication as well as increase duration or quality of sleep as studies show that sleep quantity and quality as well as reducing stress improves memory. The best quality sleep is before midnight. Thank goodness for DVRs.
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