You’re skimping on sleep
Getting adequate zzz’s is huge for keeping your memory sharp. “I just had a patient complaining about her memory, and I realized she was waking up every couple of hours at night,” says Maria Caserta, MD, PhD, professor of clinical psychiatry and the co-director of Memory and Aging Clinic at the University of Illinois at Chicago. And insomnia-induced forgetfulness could rear its ugly head when you need it most. One small 2015 study in the journal SLEEP found that when men were kept to just four hours of sleep, they were more likely to have impaired memory when under stress compared to when they got a full eight hours. These sleep secrets from doctors can help you get a better night’s rest.
You’re a chronic worrier
When thoughts are coursing through your mind at a mile a minute, nothing you want to remember is going to stick. “If you’re always worried about this or that and trying to learn something new, your worries will interfere,” says Dr. Caserta. That’s why you might not remember something a coworker just told you. “Your mind is on a different track,” she explains. “Significant anxiety needs to be treated. Then you’ll be able to listen, focus, and remember.” To cope with stress right away, start with these mini meditations; then learn smart long-term strategies for keeping anxiety in check.
You’re sitting all day
Getting the recommended 150 minutes of exercise per week is key to helping you sleep better, studies show. “We have sedentary jobs. If you’re not active during the day, you’re not going to sleep well at night and it will affect your cognition,” says Dr. Caserta. Here are 22 easy ways to move more.