Improve Your Memory, Get More Sleep

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July 25, 2006 | 16,687 views

There is new evidence indicating sleep improves your ability to recall information.

There has been an ongoing debate about whether sleep aids a type of memory called declarative memory, which allows you to recall learned facts and events.

A study examined 60 people who were required to memorize 20 paired words, and then tested on them 12 hours later. Some were also taught an additional 20 paired words as a distraction.

Both those in the "distracted" group and the "non-distracted" group did better if they were allowed to sleep between learning and testing. This could mean that sleep is not an inactive state, but an important period for the consolidation of memories and other brain functions.

Burning the midnight oil to prepare for your next presentation or test could be the worst thing you can do. Ensuring you get enough sleep is critical, both for the declarative, fact-based memories mentioned in this article and other forms of memory as well (such as "how-to" memory).

Sleep is definitely not a passive process; it is critical both for your optimum brain function and for your general health. Most people aren't getting nearly enough of the sleep they should be. This is a problem as sleep is critical to maintaining optimal health and for that reason alone should be at the top of your priority list.

Unfortunately, our careers and jobs often force us to work and worry 24-7, and some people believe the more effort you make, the more dedicated, smarter and productive you'll be. This is not the case, for you may actually be trading your health for a fatter paycheck!

If you've been having problems sleeping, spend a few minutes reviewing my free Guide to a Good Night's Sleep -- you'll find suggestions there that don't involve potentially dangerous drugs.

Memory impairment is a challenge for many of my patients, especially those older than 40. It is a near-universal problem for those who are not following an optimized eating program and following through with a regular exercise program.

It is very important to eat a diet as free of sugar as possible. Sugar is one of the main culprits linked to memory loss. And you should also consider optimizing your source of omega-3 fats; a lack of omega-3 is often associated with memory problems in my clinical experience. One good way to get your omega-3s is routine consumption of krill oil.

Another natural way to improve your memory is to eat raw eggs. If you are not used to eating fresh raw egg, start by eating just a tiny bit of it on a daily basis, and then gradually increase the portions.

Fresh raw egg yolk tastes like vanilla and is best combined with vegetable pulp or avocado. Only stir it gently with a fork, because egg protein is easily damaged on a molecular level, even by mixing or blending.

There are also a number of conventional tricks and menmonic techniques you can use to improve your memory. 

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