You’re going through normal aging
Of course you can’t memorize a list as well as you could in your twenties. Frustrating sometimes? Yes. Normal? Yes. It’s okay if someone tells you something but you can’t remember the details. Or if you lost your keys last week (but then found them). What is cause for concern is if it interferes with your ability to function, Dr. Caserta points out. For example, you may forget what your boss told you and can’t get your responsibilities done. Or maybe it’s taking longer to accomplish things. Or you’re constantly losing your cell phone and are late to appointments because of it. These commonsense strategies to improve memory can help. If you’re concerned about your memory problems and your partner, friends, or coworkers are noticing it, it’s worth going to the doctor for neurological testing, advises Dr. Caserta.
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.