5 Easy Ways To Improve Your Memory and Attention

Are you studying for upcoming exams or trying to learn a big presentation and would love to know how to improve your memory and concentration?

Illustration of two people laying on the ice

If you’ve been struggling to recall information and focus on one task for an extended period, know that you’re not alone.

8 seconds.

That’s the average attention span these days, down from 12 seconds in 2000.

Constant stimulations driven by digital communications, and stressful lifestyles explain this trend.

The good news is that whether you’re studying for your exams, trying to learn an upcoming presentation, or just want to be more productive during your day at work, there are techniques to improve your memory.

And these don’t involve purchasing expensive pills with no scientific evidence to back them up.

So, if you’re curious to know how to improve your memory and concentration naturally, here are 5 science-backed ways to help you recall information, improve your focus and boost your productivity.

Exercise

What if we told you that 10 minutes of light intensity exercise can instantly boost your memory and concentration? That’s what a recent study has revealed!

Indeed, the report shows that mild exercise can boost the connectivity between two brain areas involved in the information retention and storage process: the dentate gyrus and hippocampus.

What’s more, research has shown that aerobic activities can help protect your brain and strengthen cognitive functions such as memory. That’s because aerobic activity promotes your brain’s natural ability to create new neural connections and adjust over time. And one of the key places this phenomenon takes place is in the hippocampus, which also happens to be a key area of the brain for memory and concentration.

This means that a quick yoga session, a few laps in a pool, or a power walk around the block could help you learn more efficiently, improve your memory and focus and, ultimately, be more productive.

Sleep

We usually think of sleep as a period where we’re resting our bodies and brains. And it’s true, to an extent. For instance, muscles are resting while we sleep. However, there’s a lot happening with other parts of our bodies including our brains, immune system, and organs. Now, research has shown that sleep is an important factor contributing to enhanced memory.

Ever noticed how reading a book before going to bed helps you better remember the information in the morning?

That’s because when you sleep, your brain replays and processes the information collected during the day making your neural connections stronger. And strong neural connections help you remember what you’ve learned and done during the day. In other words, sleep allows for memory consolidation. On the other hand, overworked neural connections due to sleep deprivation will impact your brain’s ability to process information and remember things.

So, don’t feel bad the next time you need a nap. You’ll actually improve your memory, productivity and set yourself up for success ;)

Eat Food High in Flavonoids

Flavonoids are a compound found in plants and foods such as colored fruit, wine, cocoa, and tea with powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. Flavonoids have been touted with many health benefits including preventing cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, dementia, Alzheimer’s, and improving cognitive functions.

Some foods are particularly recommended. For instance, one of the foods that contain the highest amount of flavonoids is dark chocolate. And a study has shown that eating a portion of dark chocolate every day can improve episodic memory and contribute to a healthy brain.

Episodic memory is a type of long-term memory that helps us consciously recollect past memories and experiences. Therefore, regularly eating dark chocolate might be the key to improving your recall abilities, and making learning and retaining information easier.

Meditate

Wondering how to improve your memory with meditation?

Meditation is well-known for improving physical and mental health. But it has also been proven to enhance cognitive skills. For instance, a few studies have shown that meditation can help increase your attention span, and improve your ability to focus while completing certain tasks. And you don’t need to meditate for hours every day. Just 13 minutes a day can help significantly boost your memory and improve your attention! In fact, it’s one of the best ways to increase both long and short-term memory.

Here are a few reasons explaining why meditation is so helpful in improving memory and attention:

It increases blood flow to the brain, strengthening the blood vessel networks and memory capacity.

The practice of meditation involves focusing the mind on a particular thought, task, or object for a long period of time to train awareness and attention. Memory issues often come from the fact that we’re not focused. Training your brain to focus allows you to exercise your mental muscles, ultimately strengthening your long-term and short-term memory, and reaching a higher level of concentration.

Breathing, which is central to meditation, has been shown to improve attention and brain health.

To get a bit more into this topic just check out our article on how to start practicing meditation, it may help you a lot to take the first steps.

Read Out Loud

Do you usually read quietly in your mind?

If that’s the case you might be missing out on the critical benefits of reading out loud.

Indeed, research has shown that reading out loud can significantly improve your memory of the material you’re reading. It has also been shown to increase long-term recall and improve understanding of complex texts. That’s because when you’re reading out loud, your brain is more active and engaged. Speaking and hearing yourself speak helps make the words more distinct in the long-term memory, therefore improving recall.

That’s also why, according to scientists, teaching others the concepts you’ve learned is one of the best ways to recall information and improve memory.

However, if you’re struggling to read out loud and prefer silent reading, try sharing your learnings with others instead.

Time To Get Started!

We hope this article has shed some light on how to improve your short-term and long-term memory and enhance your focus. Implement these techniques and you’ll be on your way to nailing your exams, your next presentation, or anything else that requires focus and memory! And if you do, please don’t hesitate to share your experience in the comment section below. We’d love to read you.