Strategies for Improving Short-Term Memory
Ten ways to improve short-term memory include eating less sugar, eating less refined carbs, taking fish oil supplements, meditation, walking backward, getting more sleep, exercise, avoiding alcohol, brain training games, and practicing mindfulness. More information about each strategy is presented below.
1. EAT LESS SUGAR
- According to Healthline, “Research has shown that a sugar-laden diet can lead to poor memory and reduced brain volume, particularly in the area of the brain that stores short-term memory.”
- This can be easily implemented by drinking less soda, comparing food labels, or replacing sugar completely.
- Eating less sugar improves short-term memory by reducing the health issues associated with it like chronic diseases and cognitive decline.
2. EAT LESS REFINED CARBS
- It has been proven that eating less refined foods with a high glycemic index can reduce cognitive capacity. Reduced cognitive capacity can cause poor short-term memory.
- This strategy could be easily implemented by reducing or removing refined carbohydrates like cakes, cereal, and white rice from your diet.
- Eating less refined carbs helps by limiting blood sugar spikes that can damage the brain over time.
3. TAKE FISH OIL SUPPLEMENTS
- It was found that fish oil and other DHA/EPA supplements can significantly improve short-term memory scores, especially in older individuals.
- Supplements can be implemented into your diet by taking pills or eating fish that is high in omega 3s such as salmon.
- Supplements help improve short-term memory because they have been proven to relieve stress and anxiety, slow mental decline, and reduce inflammation. Inflammation has been linked to cognitive decline.
- Meditation and relaxation techniques have been proven to improve short-term memory in people aged 20 and older.
- Mediation can be implemented by using apps like Headspace or just changing your routine to include meditation.
- Healthline says some studies show meditation may increase gray matter in the brain, reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and improve memory.
5. WALK BACKWARDS
- According to Harvard Health, there was a study conducted that found walking backward, imagining walking backward, and visually seeing someone walking backward can improve short-term memory.
- This can be implemented by walking backward for a short time to help remember something that happened recently. A person could also watch a video that depicts backward motion to achieve the same effect.
- Doctors are not completely sure why this works but they assumed it has to do with “people associating going backward with the past and somehow this triggers a memory response.”
6. GET MORE SLEEP
- Lack of sleep can cause poor memory but getting the recommended amount of sleep can improve memory by 20%.
- To implement this strategy a person would need to get at least the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep daily to keep cognitive abilities at optimal health.
- Getting more sleep allows the brain to consolidate memories which improve overall memory.
- Exercise is not just good for your physical body it is good for mental health as well.
- Studies show that 15 minutes of moderate exercise can improve cognitive performance and memory.
- According to the New York Times, there was a study published in The Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society that showed about 30 minutes of exercise on an exercise bike can improve semantic memory which is based in short-term memory.
8. AVOID ALCOHOL
- Alcohol has been proven to negatively impact memory and alter the brain. Also, binge drinking affects immediate and delayed memory recall.
- Avoiding binge drinking and drugs improves short-term memory by reducing the negative impact on the brain. It the easiest way to improve overall memory.
- Harvard Health stated that “People with alcoholism have difficulty performing short-term memory tasks, such as memorizing lists.”
- This technique can be implemented by avoiding excesses drinking and staying away from drugs.
9. TRAIN YOUR BRAIN
- Brain exercises that work on cognitive skills are proven to improve short-term memory.
- Studies show by adding just 15 minutes of doing online brain-training exercises a person can improve their short-term memory significantly.
- Games like Tetris, crossword puzzles, and even brain train apps like Luminosity are excellent at improving memory.
10. PRACTICE MINDFULNESS
- Healthline defines mindfulness as, “a mental state in which you focus on your present situation, maintaining awareness of your surroundings and feelings.”
- Being mindful lowers stress and improves concentration and memory. Studies show mindfulness training improved recognition-memory performance when recalling objects.
- Ways to implement mindfulness techniques is to focus on present situations, concentrate on your breathing and by resetting your focus if you mind wanders.
- There are also mindfulness exercises for adults, children, and groups on websites like Positive Psychology, Pocket Mindfulness, and the Mayo Clinic.
Please note that a deep search into academic health research (via PubMed) revealed very little that got right to the point of strategies proven to help short-term memory. The reason for the lack of detail may be due to the nature of peer-reviewed and respected research where the smallest part of a scheme or the most scientific elements are looked at and tested in a more deconstructed fashion. There is very little recent academic research on specific controlled tests for strategies that improve short-term memory. Most of the data present had to do with offshoots like genetic strategies/neurons, cognitive therapy/depression, or design strategies/layout. For this reason, we have relied on respected articles and news that feature some suggested ways to improve short-term memory (please also note that some articles are a bit older but their data may still be relevant and valuable).