by Kristin Henningsen
Forget something? Whether it’s a name, directions or where you put the damn keys again, it’s natural to forget things from time to time. But if calling the kids by the dog’s name is becoming the new normal, it might be time for some intervention. Luckily, there are some super super easy strategies to stay sharp and boost your memory naturally. Read on to discover a few that you can implement today (no judgement for setting an alarm on your phone to remind yourself to do so).
1. Play the Brain Game
You might associate games like Bridge and Scrabble with your grandparents, but there is evidence that playing games does help to boost your brainpower. A 2018 study found that using a computerized cognitive training game (Lumosity) for 15 minutes a day for three weeks increased attention and motor speed. So whether it’s an impromptu board game night or using a brain-training app on your morning commute, games are a great way to flex your brain muscles.
2. Move Your Body
Obviously, exercise is good for the physical body. We can literally see the results in the mirror if we have a regular routine. But while you may not be able to see what a babe your brain is shaping up to be, we can feel the measurable effects. Exercise can support both short- and long-term memory. The research is also clear that it doesn’t actually matter what you do. Anything from jazzercise to hot yoga counts, as long as it’s consistent. Choose an activity that feels good in your body, and make sure it’s a realistic fit for your current life.
Oh, sweet elusive sleep. While it seems like an easy solution to memory support, a 2013 Gallup poll found that 40 percent of Americans were getting less than the recommended amount of sleep. That’s a problem when the research also shows that sleep actively supports the formation of long-lasting memories. Need help? Try altering your bedtime routine, turning the lights down low an hour before bedtime or taking a new sleep supplement to get back on track.
4. Herbs for Memory
Even if you have the sleep superpower, you may want to consider a memory supplement to stay sharp. It’s an easy way to ensure that you’re supporting your brain on a regular basis. Look for one with Bacopa, Rhodiola and/or L-theanine like FOCL Day (which combines all three with CBD). All show promising research supporting increased cognitive function as well as short- and long-term memory improvements. Amongst other findings, Rhodiola in particular was found to do so through antioxidant and anti-inflammatory mechanisms.
Supporting your memory through natural methods like supplements, healthy sleep, exercise and brain games doesn’t have to feel like one more thing to check off your to-do list. Instead, we can incorporate these strategies into our daily lives to stay sharp and stay in the game.
Kristin Henningsen MS, RH (AHG), RYT, is a clinical herbalist and educator who first fell in love with plants in the desert southwest. She’s passionate about bringing plant medicine back to the people, integrating Western Herbalism, TCM, and Ayurvedic practices to empower folks in their healthcare. She maintains a private clinical practice and serves as faculty for several University programs.