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The 5 best ways to sharpen your memory:
« on: September 08, 2008, 09:43:37 PM »
The 5 best ways to sharpen your memory:
remember names. Know where your keys are. Never have a frustrating memory lapse again. It's easier than you think - Do-It-Yourself Cures / Natural Remedies

IF YOU WORRY THAT YOUR MEMORY'S failing, here's some encouraging news. A recent study says that you don't lose your memory as you age; you just temporarily lose access to some parts of it when neuron connections don't function properly. Research also shows that making simple lifestyle choices can improve neuron function--preventing and even reversing problems with recall. Here, experts reveal the five most effective habits you can adopt to improve your memory.

1. Indulge in Caffeine and Chocolate.

Memory experts say consuming a little caffeine and chocolate each day may help you remember information better. But you need to choose the right kinds.

Strive to get your caffeine from black or green tea. You'll get a slight boost from the caffeine, which will make you feel more alert so you can absorb new information, explains Jeff Victoroff, M.D., associate professor of clinical neurology at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles and author of Saving Your Brain (Bantam, 2002). You'll also be taking in important antioxidants that stave off brain cell damage. Just don't drink your tea with milk, Victoroff says, because milk interferes with the absorption of those antioxidants.

When you buy chocolate, choose dark varieties made with at least 60 percent cocoa, recommends Victoroff. (Most American chocolate, including dark, is made with very little cocoa, so you should look for French or Belgian brands; Valrhona is one brand that's available in some gourmet and natural food stores.) Although more research is needed, researchers suspect that compounds in dark chocolate called procyanidins counteract oxidation and inflammation, two conditions that age the brain. Some scientists think procyanidins also improve memory by increasing blood circulation so your brain gets more oxygen and nutrients, explains Victoroff.

2. Sleep on It.

Common sense dictates that if you get a good night's sleep, your brain functions better and you remember better. Several studies suggest that during sleep, your brain processes your experiences from the day, strengthening the connections between neurons that were formed when you were awake. This may allow you to remember the information more easily the next day.

Scientists also think that while you sleep your brain weakens strong neuron connections to make room for new ones. "You can think of [the weakening of connections] as pruning away unneeded things," explains Marcos Frank, Ph.D., assistant professor of neuroscience at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

To maintain memory, most people need to get about eight hours of sleep a night. Some research suggests that intense aerobic exercise and a 60- to 90-minute hot bath can help you get that amount. Researchers say those activities may help you sleep better by increasing body temperature or helping release hormones that trigger sleep. For the sedation effect, be sure to do these activities at least two hours before you go to sleep; if you do them too close to your bedtime, they'll keep you awake.

3. Work It Out.

Experts agree that aerobic exercise improves your memory by doing more than just enhancing your sleep quality. Anytime you do at least moderate exercise (like brisk walking), your brain receives a larger-than-usual supply of blood, explains Victoroff. More blood means your brain gets more nutrients and oxygen, both of which help neurons work more efficiently.

Aerobic exercise also improves memory by relieving stress, Victoroff says. When you're stressed, your body releases hormones like cortisol, which boost your energy to help you cope with a challenging situation. However, these hormones also travel to your brain and damage your memory center. Animal studies show that after just a few days of exposure to elevated cortisol levels, brain cells in the memory center start to die. But exercise allows your body to burn off that extra stress-induced energy, which reduces cortisol levels. Most experts recommend at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise, like walking or biking, daily.

4. Eat the Right Fats.

You need to eat fat daily to maintain brain power. But as with chocolate and caffeine, you need to choose the right kind. Studies show that omega-3 fatty acids can keep you from losing cognitive function. Certain kinds of fish and fish oil supplements, flaxseeds and flaxseed supplements, and canola, soy, and walnut oils contain these fatty acids, but some research suggests that whole fish is the best form for brain function. This may mean that fishes contain other brain-enhancing compounds. "If I had to give a single easy-to-remember piece of advice," says Victoroff, "I'd say eating 4 ounces of fatty fish [like salmon or sardines] four times a week probably does your brain a lot of good."

On the flip side, experts agree that trans fats (found in hydrogenated oils) are the worst fats for your memory. Eating a diet high in trans fats is associated with narrowed blood vessels in the brain and limited blood flow. A high-trans-fat diet also lowers levels of HDL cholesterol, the "good" cholesterol that helps ward off blockages in blood vessels. Trans fats are in chips, French fries, and baked goods that contain margarine or shortening.

5. Challenge Your Brain.

Research shows that the more intellectually stimulating your occupation is, the better your brain functions throughout your life. But don't despair if your job is dull. A few studies suggest that adopting intellectually challenging hobbies like crossword puzzles or reading can also boost your brain power.

It's not clear how mind-stimulating work and hobbies improve memory. According to one theory, challenging your brain prevents cognitive deterioration by strengthening the neural connections that you use most often, says Randy Buckner, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology at Washington University in St. Louis. The more situations you expose your brain to and the more challenging or stimulating those experiences are, the stronger the neural connections grow. Others theorize that those connections deteriorate no matter what you do, but stimulating your brain intellectually forces it to create other connections to compensate for deterioration, explains Buckner.

You should probably choose a hobby that challenges parts of your brain that you don't use at work, although longterm research hasn't been done to prove this idea. Preliminary evidence shows that with this approach you'll build connections between neurons where you're most likely to lack them, says Dharma Singh Khalsa, M.D., president and medical director of the Alzheimer's Prevention Foundation in Tucson, Ariz. "If you have an intellectual job, the best thing for your brain is to go home and play music, paint, or walk in nature."

Getting Started

Quick Memory Chargers

The best memory improvements come from long-term lifestyle changes. But if you need a quick memory boost--like before a meeting--try one of these three tips.

1. Load up on carbohydrates, especially healthy complex carbohydrates like bananas, kidney beans, and whole-grain bread. Carbohydrates release sugar into your bloodstream where it travels to your brain and boosts brain function for up to an hour, says Randall Kaplan, Ph.D., who conducted research on this topic at the University of Toronto and Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care in Toronto. But beware: When the glucose kick ends, you may feel groggy.

2. Drink a caffeinated beverage 20 minutes before you need a memory charge. Studies show that caffeine will make you feel more alert, which may help you remember information better. But you don't want to overdo it, says Jeff Victoroff, M.D., a neurology professor at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. If you're wired on caffeine as you acquire information, you may not be able to retrieve it later unless you're in the same wired state.

3. Don't try so hard, advises Martha Storandt, Ph.D., professor of psychology at Washington University in St. Louis. If you can't remember someone's name, continue on with your conversation and don't dwell on trying to recall the name. It's more likely to come to you if you don't stress about it.

Clare Horn, the associate editor at Natural Health, looks forward to eating dark chocolate to help her remember people's names.

COPYRIGHT 2003 Weider Publications
COPYRIGHT 2003 Gale Group

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Re: The 5 best ways to sharpen your memory:
« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2008, 10:19:13 PM »
Learn how to improve memory by improving memory

Do you want to improve memory? Will improving memory make things easy for you? Do you want tips and ideas on how to improve memory ? Well this is what this lens is going to be about. One of the best things you can do in your life is go on a quest of improving memory on a daily basis. Remember that there are several ideas which you can apply daily and get the results you want.

These things may be obvious to you but you may not have used them because of sheer negligence. Our brain is created like that. You will forget and you will recall. If you think that you should never forget then this is a wrong mindset. Forgetting is a part of humanness. You will also see that forgetfulness in some situations is better than remembering. So you must first know the things that you want to remember and the things you want to forget.Take this as the first step of improving memory.

Now coming to other things which you can do.Various things that can be used to improve memory are

1) memory games

2) exercises

3) good sleep

4) positive attitude

5) different memory techniques

I will address these things so that you will have a great kick start to get your brain doing things that you want and control your memory.

Exercise not only improves you physically but also mentally. A good physical body has a sharp mind where as a person who does not give the proper care to his body, his memory also weakens.

Aerobic exercises are the best ones to do for improving memory. These will increase the heart rate and also the blood flowing to the brain. As a result the brain sharpens.

Scientists find new evidence that aerobic exercises help brain

This article may give you an inspiration to start doing some form of aerobic exercises.
What 30 minutes of aerobic exercises can do for you.

The various types of aerobic exercises you can start are

1) Power walking or fast walking
2) Jogging
3) Swimming
4) Sports activities

Do a variety of these exercises and you will be fresh daily.
Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise
This is also one of the most important things for improving your memory. A normal human being must take a good nights rest for 6 to 8 hours. Sleep gives the brain a good rest after it gets exhausted in the day. Many people around the world have developed bad sleeping habits such as going to bed very late at night, taking a very little sleep, and some people don't sleep all night (how stupid it is). These bad habits cause various problems because your body's natural habit is disturbed. As a result we can see people eating sleeping pills, and taking other drugs to get a good sleep at night.

Here are some articles which will help you to sleep better

1)How to fall asleep
2)How to sleep better
3)10 tips to get better sleep
4)33 secrets to a good night's sleep
5)A brief guide to better sleep
Memory challenging games
Games are one of the best ways to get your brain working. There are several memory games which will give a great boost to your memory.

Some of the games which you can regularly play are

1) Puzzles
2) Quizzes
3) Try to remember a set of random numbers, alphabets, names etc.
4) Take a number and start continuous addition or multiplication with itself, in your mind only.

There are several online memory improving games. You can try them for fun.
Here are some of them

1) Funbrain matching game
2) Easysurf memory games
3) Try to remember a face and make it again
Memory Techniques
People all over the world use some technique or the other to remember. Several books have been written showing different methods to improve memory and remember better. These things take some time to learn but after doing that, it becomes very easy to remember.

Here are some of the methods which you can start using

1) Link and Story method
In this method, the things or information to be remembered are converted to images. A story is then formed using these images.

2) The Journey method
For remembering long lists of information, a journey is imagined with events containing the information to be remembered. If you want to remember different information, then just imagine different journeys. This will take some time but is effective to learn long lists.

3) The Roman Room method
The name itself suggests what you have to do. This is similar to the journey method where the information to be remembered is imagined as objects in a room. It can be used to memorize unrelated items.

4) Mind mapping method
A map is formed of the objects or information to remember. This method can be used to remember different concepts.A structure is formed like a map and it can be used to recall related information.

5) Rhyme method
This is a very simple method. As the name suggests, a poem is made out of the things to remember and this can be easily recalled.

6) Hypnosis method
You do some hypnotizing methods and remember the information.

Improve Memory - The Basics (Part 1)

Improve Memory - The Major System (Part 2)

How to improve your memory using the 300 year old Major System