The brain must store memory, which is the act of recalling an event or fact. Memory and cognition are two concepts that have become very important, both to science and the general public. Memory is defined as our ability to retain and recall information that we’ve heard before. Cognition is our ability to reason, solve problems, and form our judgments. The preservation of memory is critical to our humanity since our ability to remember past events gives us the ability to plan for the future. Healthy brain function depends on good circulation, so among the best ways to protect memory and cognition is to maintain cardiovascular health.
Memory can be tricky: Sometimes it’s crystal clear, and other times it’s filled with fuzzy recollections. Losing your car keys, for example, is a memory that can easily slip your mind, but being able to recognize what’s in it—a keychain, a key fob, or a set of keys—is usually retained. (Well, some memories are harder to keep, like what happened at that party last night.) Understand how memory works and what keeps it in check and working well.
Your memory is critical to many aspects of life. You probably remember important events in your life, such as where you went on vacation last year and where your children were born. It’s also useful to recall the names of people you have met recently and to retain the information you read. But memory is more than simply “remembering” things—it’s the ability to recall and retrieve information. For healthy memory function, you need to become aware of things and remember those experiences.
Get enough rest
How much sleep is enough? It’s different for every person, but there are general guidelines that prove how much sleep a man or woman needs to stay mentally sharp and to function at their best. The National Sleep Foundation’s recommended sleep time for adults is seven to nine hours a night. The average American is asleep for roughly 6.5 hours, below recommended levels.
Sleep is just as important to brain function as food, and not getting enough can result in permanent, potentially irreversible damage to cognitive function. Sleep deprivation also affects memory, attention, problem-solving, and mood. If you ignore sleep, your brain could take a serious hit, leading to memory loss, fatigue, mood issues, and even depression. But how much sleep is enough? The National Sleep Foundation recommends adults get between seven and nine hours of sleep every night, while 9 to 11-year-olds should get eight to 10 hours, and 12 to 17-year-olds should get nine to 10 hours.
Eat and start being healthy
Are you worried that too much sitting may be bad for you? There are compelling pieces of scientific evidence suggesting that a sedentary lifestyle may be a contributing factor to cognitive aging and dementia. There is also strong evidence that being overweight is a problem. These studies suggest that eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly may slow down or reverse these negative effects.
People older than 50 have decreasing memory and cognitive skills, and this decrease may have some relation with age. Recent studies have shown that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and healthy in fat can delay memory loss and cognitive decline. Many people start to gain weight around 40 years old, and this weight gain can cause many health problems.
Keep your brain active
Whether you’re a woman or a man, there are certain things you can do to keep your brain healthy as you age. One key to staying mentally sharp as you age is engaging in mentally stimulating activities, like reading books, playing games, and learning new things.
A common misconception associated with aging is that the brain stops working and loses its ability to process information. Nothing could be further from the truth. The human brain is the organ of reason, and with aging, it often becomes less active, leading to a decline in the level of mental agility. However, the brain has ways to compensate for this by forming new neural connections over time. In other words, our brains are capable of growing younger and healthier with each passing day.