As we grow older, we go through different cognitive changes. Our memory won’t be as sharp, and we tend to start forgetting things. The declarative memory or, what we call long-term memory, starts to deteriorate as we age. Our long-term memory consists of three parts, semantic memory that stores facts; procedural memory that deals with how we perform different actions and skills; and episodic memory that stores your life experiences. On the other hand, our working memory handles the number of pieces of information we can hold at one time actively also decreases as we age. The ability to multi-task and our attention span declines as well.
So how can we optimize our brain function and retain a good memory even when we’re in our 60s or 70s? This article will discuss three simple ways on how you can improve your brain’s performance.
First, you need to address your sleep. Matthew Walker, a lead sleep scientist, wrote the book Why We Sleep, and he discussed in the book how sleep affects every aspect of our physical and mental well-being. Insufficient sleep affects every single function of our body. Not having enough sleep will make everything worse. Your body won’t be able to rest, and your brain won’t be able to recover and regenerate. If you don’t want your memory to worsen or reduce your learning and overall cognitive ability, you need to ensure that you have the right amount of proper sleep.
The second is reducing stress and anxiety. Did you know that anxiety turns off brain growth factors and reduces neurogenesis? The latter is important for the improvement of brain function. If you are always stressed due to deadlines, societal pressure, and anxiety, among other things, your brain will not be able to keep up with its ability to generate new cells. Thus, leading to older neurons and synapses and affecting your brain function altogether.
The third is to improve your cholinergic transmission in your brain. Acetylcholine is the chief neurotransmitter of the parasympathetic nervous system, which plays a huge role in memory and learning. As we age, our brain produces lesser acetylcholine. People with dementia are given acetylcholinesterase inhibitors to stop the breakdown of acetylcholine in the brain. But there are many ways to improve cholinergic transmission without resorting to drugs. You can take nootropic supplements like Ginkgo Biloba, Berberine, Huperzine A, or Alpha-GPC. You can also shift to a low inflammatory diet. Keeping inflammation down is vital for your overall health, and it also limits disease.
Pro-tip, if you struggle to focus on doing or finishing tasks later in the day, try drinking electrolytes. This will help fix your focus.
Want to know more tips on how you can improve your life? Drop me a message with the word “IMPROVE” and I’ll find out how I can help.