Memory is the cognitive ability that declines first in old age. This is especially true for short-term memory and is the case for almost all of us, not just Alzheimer's patients. Here are some surprising but scientifically proven methods that can boost your memory.
- Think positive
Scientists at North Carolina State University have found that older people perform worse on tests when they believe that seniors perform worse on memory tests. In contrast, subjects who do not give a damn about such negative stereotypes of ageing and declining memory also perform better in memory tests. So you see: a positive basic attitude towards age and your mental abilities is already an important basis for a better memory.
- Draw what you want to remember
Scientists at the University of Waterloo in Ontario have found that test subjects can remember about twice as many words if they draw pictures while memorising them. This is independent of the quality of the pictures and was in comparison to test subjects who wrote down the words several times to memorise them.
- Walk barefoot more often
This may sound strange, but a study by the University of North Florida examined the memory performance of test subjects before and after a run, with one group running in shoes and the other barefoot. It was found that the barefoot runners showed a 16 % improvement in memory performance after the run. On the one hand, this effect could be due to better blood circulation. On the other hand, it could also be due to the fact that when running barefoot, you have to constantly concentrate on where you step in order not to injure yourself.
- Go into nature
There is also a study on this, from the University of Michigan. It was found that a number of cognitive functions - including memory - improve when people spend time in nature or in a park-like landscape. Interestingly, this effect even occurs when subjects are only shown photos of natural landscapes. Spending time in urban environments or looking at such photos, on the other hand, shows no effect.
- Get enough sleep The body is known to use sleep to consolidate memory content. Without enough sleep, we will have difficulty remembering anything at all. This has also been proven by scientific studies. In a study conducted by the University of Lübeck, test subjects had to memorize a set of cards. Then all participants were given a 40-minute break, one group slept and the other had to stay awake. The participants were then tested to see how much they had memorized. Result: the "awake group" only remembered 60% of the cards, while the "sleeping group" remembered 85%. In a second test, 8 hours later, the difference was even greater: the "awake group" knew less than 20%, the "sleeping group": almost 60%.