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Simple Tips to Improve Your Memory

Updated on March 25, 2022
angela_michelle profile image

Having loved many people who have mental illnesses, Angela has researched as much as she can about the brain and mental illness.


If you are like me, you probably have walked into a room and couldn't remember why you were there in the first place or set down your car keys with no recollection of where they are. Fortunately, my memory has significantly improved over the past years. It has been through these tips that I have increased my mind. Following these tips, I can't guarantee you'll never forget where those darn keys are, but you will find that you do think more clearly.

Brain Exercises

One person, who I will forever be in awe of, is my 92-year-old grandma. She is 92 and still as alert as, well me! I could say she has good genes, and I'm sure that is a big part of it, but she also did crosswords her entire life. She loved puzzles!

Then on the other side, after my grandfather had his stroke, he lost a lot of his memory. It has slowly come back, but I was not surprised when I discovered what the doctors told him to do to boost his memory: crossword puzzles and any other type of puzzles!

It'd be best if you do various types of puzzles, as each kind exercises a different part of your brain. Crossword puzzles use your capability of thinking of a word; this will help you when you are trying to express yourself. Word searches help you be more alert and pay closer attention, which will help your memory retain what it has seen.

Some great suggestions:

  • Crossword puzzles
  • Word search
  • Sudoku
  • Mensa activity books
  • Even online games
  • Write on Hubpages or journal
  • Printable brain teasers found here

How Much Sleep Should I Get?

The average person needs 7-9 hours of sleep a night. Everyone's body is different, and some people need more than others, while others need less. Especially if you are pregnant, sick, suffer from a chronic illness, etc.
The average person needs 7-9 hours of sleep a night. Everyone's body is different, and some people need more than others, while others need less. Especially if you are pregnant, sick, suffer from a chronic illness, etc. | Source

Can Exercise Improve Your Memory?

I don't think it's a surprise to anyone that the better shape your body is in, the better shape your mind is in. The more fit your body is, the better the circulation you have. The better circulation you have, the better your brain is fed with a steady supply of oxygen. So not only will it benefit your memory in the here and now, but the more fit your mind will be as you get older.

The daily recommendation of exercise is thirty minutes a day, three days a week. Along with exercising well, it is important to eat right as well. I recommend trying the couch to 5K program at I did that, and I am doing something I never thought I could do, due to my asthma, arthritis, and flat feet - running! Being in better shape helps my mood, my sleep, and ultimately, you guessed it, my memory.

Sleep and Health

Getting plenty of sleep is an essential part of short-term memory. The more rest you get, the better your short-term memory will be. Some people believe that dreaming is to help us remember the day's events. Even if this is not true, recent studies at Harvard University have proven that the amount of sleep a person gets in a night significantly impairs or promotes their ability to recall specific data.

There is also evidence that our mind continues to develop when we sleep. We often think of sleep as a very passive activity, but proper sleeping is very active. It is restoring our damaged tissues and replenishing our bodies. We need a good amount of sleep to fully function at our full capacity.

Although they say most people need 8 hours of sleep, it is not unusual for someone to require as much as ten hours. Another person may only require seven hours of sleep. Everybody is different, and you need to be aware of your own needs regardless of statistical evidence.

You only have one brain, and its one of the few organs that cannot be donated from someone else, so take care of it and exercise it!
You only have one brain, and its one of the few organs that cannot be donated from someone else, so take care of it and exercise it! | Source

Memory Retention Tips: Increase Recall

There are also many other ways you can retain information that may not fall into overall memory. Retention exercises work well when learning birth dates, appointments, names, data for a class, etc.


One example of what someone might do is repeat it repeatedly, which seems a little lame, but it works. Make sure you also allow enough time to learn it. If you become distracted too soon after hearing data, you will forget it much more quickly.

It's important to exercise this habit, which will make it easier to remember things with fewer repetitions. For example, if you're a Christian, practice memorizing verses. If not, you could practice memorizing the first fifty numbers to pi, or the names of Presidents in a row, the states in alphabetical order, the countries in Africa. Find something that interests you, and set your mind to memorize it. It will be an excellent exercise for your brain and help you recall those facts when you don't have a pen. This type of training also will exercise your mind, which will improve your capacity to learn.

Take Care Of Your Brain


Make Associations

I know when trying to memorize a phone number, I don't only repeat it several times, but I also create associations. For instance, I did not have a pen; therefore, I remembered or associated the first three digits with a similar phone number. I also noticed that the last four were almost in a pattern: 1324 - up 2, down 1, up 2. I often think of things in mathematical ways like this. For those non-math lovers, any association you can make as well. For instance, my husband's phone number in high school was a square if you dialed it.

With names or other things, you use different associations. For instance, while trying to remember your friend's husband's name, Paul, you might associate his name with a rhyming word like tall. Hey, look, it's tall-Paul. Or if he's round. Paul is round like a ball. The more unusual, the more likely you'll remember.

There are so many ways to improve your memory. But the truth of the matter is, if you want to have better memory as you age, you need to start now. The more you practice, the better sleep you get, and the more you challenge your brain, the better your memory will be as you get into your senior years. If you want to be one of those quick with wit at ninety, you need to decide what you need to work on it now. Although genes have a lot to do with memory, there's a lot we can do that has nothing to do with our DNA makeup.

Try This Word Association Quiz

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© 2010 Angela Michelle Schultz


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