If you’ve ever found yourself walking into a room and then wondering why you came in there or losing your train of thought mid sentence, then it could be time to begin considering how your lifestyle is contributing to “senior moments”.
It’s common for the brain to deteriorate with age, but you can do some basic tasks to keep it even more alert. The minute you get up from bed, the day accelerates full speed ahead. You rush around each morning getting ready for work, getting the kids off to college or hurrying to the office to get stuck into your mounting heap of work. Who can blame you for forgetting if you put out food for your dog or if you turned the home alarm on that morning.
By being super busy all of the time and having different tasks competing for your attention, it can be tough to focus on the job at hand. Plan your day or week in advance so that you feel more organised. Use a journal to program in appointments so that you do not need to store data in your head. At the end of the day, have a “brain purge” and write down everything that you will need to do or remember.
With greater “self management” instead of “time management”, you may begin to feel less harried and more in control, which will cause less forgetfulness. On waking, drink a large glass of water. As the brain consists of 80% water, it’s vital to replenish it up after sleeping and fight any dehydration. Remember to eat 2 litres of water during the day to help keep you awake also. Some stress is good for you and your brain to keep you focused and sharp, but too much stress is no good for your memory. Stress affects your ability to think straight and may cause a chemical in the brain called glutamates which floods the mind and leads to the memory component of your brain (hippocampus) to shrink.
Learn How to relax
Some well-deserved pressure release is required to restore your memory and get you back on track. Start exercising regularly, learn how to meditate or take some more time for yourself to unwind and relieve stress. Every one has different ways they feel relaxed, so experiment to find out what works for you. Make sure you include some actions specific to your mind to unwind. Curl up with a crossword puzzle, or learn a new skill like knitting (it is not just for grannies anymore!) or a sport.
Nutrition has its role to play in maintaining your mind optimally ticking along. Low blood glucose caused from eating the wrong foods, wreak havoc on your concentration levels. Aim to eat every 3-4 hours and eat foods high in fiber, low fat, varieties of vegetables and fruit and slow-release carbohydrates. Avoid quick “pick me ups” like coffee, alcohol or chocolate as they will lead to a rapid drop in your energy levels and therefore your focus. Eat foods full of omega-3 like fish, eggs and nuts, as they help brain function and can decrease the risk of Alzheimer’s.
Lack of Sleep can play havoc on your energy, levels of concentration and general memory. It’s been discovered that your mind stores memories of this day as you sleep. So skimping on sleep may impact will affect your ability to remember events. Start a wind down regular. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep each night. Make sleep a priority. Stop working or watching TV, at least 1-2 hours before bedtime. Start a ritual before bed time that alerts your body which you’re preparing for sleep. Exercise can also be crucial for improved sleep and your mind. As you exercise, your mind is rejuvenated from the discharge of more oxygen, nutrients and the feel good hormone serotonin. You’ll sleep better with regular exercise. Aim to exercise at least 3 hours before bedtime, so it will not wind up over stimulating you!