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Easy memory boosters to the rescue

Published On: Oct 17 2011 09:29:52 AM CDT
Updated On: Jul 26 2013 02:54:58 PM CDT
Senior citizen using laptop

iStock / luna4

From Pure Matters

Memory (or the lack of it) got you feeling old? There's no sense in prematurely joining the ranks of the 73 percent of older adults who worry about their memory. Try these easy tricks and tools to help improve your recall right away.

Doodle. British researchers found that people who doodled in a notebook during a monotonous phone call recalled 29 percent more information than those who just took notes. The researchers believe that doodling may actually keep you more focused by preventing full-on zoning out.

Alliterate. Meet with Matt then mail your rent? Repeat that a few times in your head, then just try to forget what you have to do today—odds are it won’t happen. Research shows that creating simple alliterative phrases (using several words starting with the same letter) like the example above makes remembering important things much easier. Keep the phrases short, and for best results, use repeating consonant sounds rather than vowels.

Shmooze. Researchers at the University of Michigan found that people who had 10-minute conversations before taking a cognitive test did just as well as those who prepped by performing reading exercises -- and much better than those who watched a TV clip to prepare. Keep your mind engaged by chatting it up before an event that will put your memory to the test.

Snooze. Got a big presentation coming up? Make sure you get enough sleep the night before. Doing so gives your ability to recall facts a huge boost. Researchers believe that newly formed memories get organized in your brain while you sleep, resulting in a more accurate memory the next day. (This could also explain why babies need so many hours, since they’re learning so much.)And don’t be shy about napping during the day, either. Researchers in Germany studied groups of people who napped for 6 minutes, 30 to 45 minutes, and not at all, then gave them a word-recall test. The sleepers outperformed the non-sleepers, and surprisingly, those who took quick naps were equal with those who slept longer.

Pop quiz: What were those four memory tricks again?

Source: Pure Matters