While it goes without saying that adequate rest, regular exercise and a healthy diet go a long way towards ensuring that our brains are functioning at their best, when it comes to boosting our brainpower and memory, there is more that we can do. Particularly for adult learners and those who are juggling multiple roles – parent, employee and student – sometimes sleep is just a little bit harder to come by, yet it’s absolutely crucial that our brains are still performing effectively as we get through our day (and night). With all that is already on your plate, you might think the last thing you need is yet another list of dos and don’ts, but these five lifestyle habits will help to boost your brainpower and memory, so perhaps they’re worth your time and effort? We certainly think so.
- Take that nanna nap
Besides the recommended 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night, which goes a long way towards improving our memory, taking a nap during the day, especially after learning something new, is surprisingly effective too. That’s because when we sleep, the brain firms up memories of recently acquired information.
- Write everything down
Writing down things that you want to remember helps – but not just in the way you think. As it turns out, writing something down creates oxygenated blood flow to areas of your brain that is responsible for your memories and exercises those parts. Writing improves your capacity to remember and memorise information.
- An egg a day…
Eggs make the perfect breakfast food because it’s packed with B vitamins that help nerve cells to burn glucose, antioxidants that protect neurons against damage, and omega-3 fatty acids that keep nerve cells firing at optimal speed. In other words, it’s great brain food, so eat up!
- Do mini workouts
You don’t have to hit the gym seven days a week to reap the brain benefits of regular exercise. Experts recommend just two and a half hours of moderate intensity exercise per week, and feel free to break them up into manageable 10-minute chunks. Brisk walking to the shops, general gardening, jumping rope while watching television and walking over to a friend’s instead of driving are all easy ways to get the exercise your brain needs.
- Listen to music
Did you know? Information that is learned while you were listening to a particular song can often be recalled just by thinking of the song and playing it in your head. Music is a very powerful tool when it comes to recalling memories, but more than that, it has also been shown to enhance cognitive skills. The good news is it’s not just playing music that helps you to become smarter, listening to music also helps to improve your brainpower.
If you would like to undertake further training or learning near where you live, the Learn Local network can help. Learn Local organisations offer adult learning courses in local communities across Victoria.