10 common behaviors that make you more forgetful

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10 common behaviors that make you more forgetful

Memory is a fickle thing. For example, you might remember something significant that happened a decade ago, but not what you had for dinner last Tuesday. Or maybe you just forget the little things like misplacing your keys, reading texts but forgetting to reply, or losing track of appointments.

Everyone forgets something from time to time, but if you’re often forgetful – about important things just out of reach in your thoughts or words right on the tip of the tongue it can feel debilitating and beyond that frustrating.

Although some memory loss and Forgetfulness is normal with ageAccording to the National Institute on Aging, some things can make your forgetfulness worse, regardless of your age.

“There are a number of common habits that can make us more forgetful,” says Michele Goldman, psychologist and psychologist Hope for Depression Research Foundation media consultant.

Below, experts explain some things you might not know you’re doing that affect your memory. If you’ve been feeling more forgetful lately, read on to see if you’ve developed any of these habits.

Not getting enough sleep

Sleep has many health benefits, including improving memory. Too little sleep can affect your ability to learn new things by up to 40%, and it can affect the hippocampus part of your brain responsible for creating new memories.

“Sleep allows our brain to recover,” Goldman said. “Certain sleep stages, including REM sleep, are specifically associated with memory consolidation, or the process of converting newly learned information into long-term memory.”

The Sleep Foundation recommends Adults get about seven to nine hours sleep quality per night. Not getting enough sleep or poor quality sleep can make us more forgetful because “the new information we learn doesn’t get stored in our long-term memory and is more likely to be forgotten or lost,” Goldman said.

Julia Kogana Florida health psychologist and creator of the Master Stress Method, said sleep is related to attention and focus — two things that are crucial when it comes to memory.

“When we don’t sleep, we’re less alert, less focused, and less energetic,” she said. “If we lack attention, we probably cannot retain information well. Therefore, those who regularly skip sleep are more likely to be forgetful because their brain’s attentional areas, particularly in the prefrontal cortex, won’t be as sharp.”

multitasking

Kogan said forgetfulness is often “an attention problem.” She explained that attention and focus are an important part of remembering information.

“If we’re not fully paying attention, are distracted, or aren’t in a mental state to retain information, we won’t fully focus on the information, leading to what appears to be forgetfulness,” Kogan added.

Distraction can also occur when multitasking. “Working on different tasks at the same time can actually lead to less productivity and more forgetfulness,” Kogan said.

She recommends focusing on one thing at a time. One way to do this is to time-block work by breaking tasks into manageable activities with small breaks.

“This might look like 45 minutes of a specific task with no breaks or other tasks, followed by a 5- to 10-minute break,” Kogan said.

Doing too many tasks at once can tax your brain.

MoMo Productions via Getty Images

Doing too many tasks at once can tax your brain.

Not exercising or moving your body

“Exercise is important for your overall health, including your memory,” he said Valentina Dragomira psychotherapist and Founder of PsihoSensus Therapy and PsihoSensus Academy. “Exercise increases blood flow to the brain and helps protect brain cells. There is also [research] this shows sedentary habits are associated with thinning in some brain regions which are important for memory.”

“Regular exercise — not necessarily strenuous exercise — helps reduce the risk of a number of common diseases associated with memory loss, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes, to name a few,” Goldman added.

taking certain medications

Have you recently started taking a new medication? This could also affect your memory.

“Medications such as antidepressants, allergy medications, blood pressure stabilizers, and more can impair memory due to their calming properties,” said Sanam Hafeez, neuropsychologist, associate professor at Columbia University and founder and director of Comprehensive counseling Psychological Services, PC

Other drugs that can make you more forgetful include benzodiazepines, cholesterol-lowering drugs, anti-epileptic drugs, narcotic pain relievers, blood pressure-lowering drugs, incontinence medications, antihistamines, and more.

“Some drugs only affect your memory when you’re taking them, while others can have longer-lasting effects,” she noted. Talk to your doctor and find the best medication for you and your lifestyle.

drink alcohol

“Alcohol can damage brain cells and lead to memory problems,” Dragomir said. “According to the research results, Long-term drinking causes the brain to decrease in size.”

Kogan said this Those with an alcohol use disorder or who binge drink are more likely to suffer from short- and long-term memory loss.

“When you drink alcohol, it affects the hippocampus, which is responsible for learning and memory,” Kogan explained. “Alcohol can affect how nerves in the hippocampus communicate and lead to forgetfulness.”

She added, “People who drink heavily tend to be deficient in certain vitamins and other nutrients, which can also lead to forgetfulness.”

Smoking

Smoking is another habit you should quit if you want to improve your memory. “Smoking damages brain cells and prevents new ones from forming in the hippocampus, leading to forgetfulness,” Dragomir said.

She also cited a study in the Journal of Neuroscience this shows “chronic nicotine exposure could impair brain mechanisms related to learning and memory.”

“Smoking can impair lung and heart function, which slows oxygen transport to the brain,” Hafeez added. “Less oxygen in your brain can lead to decreased brain function, leading to memory loss.”

The THC in there Marijuana can also affect learning and memory.

“Marijuana has been shown to cause short-term problems specifically with working memory and attention,” Kogan said. The problem is worse the more you smoke. “In heavy users, marijuana has been shown to cause learning and memory problems for weeks after cannabis use.”

Not eating certain foods

Food can also affect our brain. “What we eat affects how we feel physically, mentally and emotionally,” Goldman said. “An unbalanced diet can have a negative effect on the body.”

If you are looking Foods to increase brain function, Harvard Medical School suggests opting for leafy greens, oily fish, berries, tea and coffee, and walnuts. Hafeez also recommends “eating a diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods.” These include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and healthy fats.

be disorganized

Organization is important when it comes to memory.

“We’re much more likely to forget things when our external environment is in disorder,” Goldman said. “A chaotic, cluttered, or disorganized environment works for some, but not for most people.”

She recommends finding a system that works for you. “Keep a notebook, make a schedule, get a calendar — whatever the system, be consistent and follow through.”

Part of organizing is finding a place for everything, including those often misplaced keys. “Set specific locations for items to reduce the chances of losing them. For example, the keys are hanging on a hook by the door, they’re not absentmindedly dropped when we walk in and drop our stuff,” Goldman added.

Being disorganized can make it harder for your brain to remember or process information.

Justin Paget via Getty Images

Being disorganized can make it harder for your brain to remember or process information.

Have an untreated mental health problem

“Both anxiety and depression can interfere with concentration and make it harder to pay attention to small details,” Goldman said. “It can be difficult to stay organized; We could easily become overwhelmed and unfocused.”

Trauma survivors, in particular, “are prone to memory impairment,” according to Goldman. “The nervous system is in overdrive to ensure safety and security, which means non-life-threatening details are more likely to be forgotten.”

“Because stress, anxiety, and depression can impair attention, learning, and memory, addressing these concerns is very important to sharpen our memory,” Kogan added. “Those struggling with anxiety and depression should look to evidence-based treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy or acceptance and attachment therapy.”

Don’t sharpen your mind

One of the best things you can do to combat forgetfulness is to stimulate your brain. “Keeping your brain active by learning new things, playing games, reading, or engaging in other stimulating activities is one way to keep your brain ‘muscles’ in shape,” Goldman said.

The American Psychological Association recommends taking “mental snapshots” of things in life, such as: It also suggests training your brain through mnemonic devices and escape characters, or using technology to help you remember things.

“Think of your brain and memory as something that needs to be used and exercised like any other part of the body, or it will atrophy,” Hafeez said.

When to see a doctor for memory problems

Call your doctor if your forgetfulness doesn’t improve after these changes or if You have these symptoms:

  • Ask the same questions over and over again.
  • Getting lost in places you know well.
  • Having trouble following recipes or directions.
  • Confusion about time, people and places.
  • Not taking care of yourself, eating poorly, not bathing, or acting unsafe.

Being forgetful can be annoying, but it doesn’t have to rule your life. With a few lifestyle changes and some mental exercise, you can improve your memory in no time.

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