Consume caffeine: Isn’t this convenient? According to Fast Company, one of the important brain activities involved in memory is consolidation. “Our brain sends signals in a particular pattern associated with the event we’re experiencing and creates connections between our neurons, called synapses,” FC explained. “If we didn’t do anything further, that memory would fall right out of our heads again. Consolidation is the process of committing it to long-term memory so we can recall it later.” There’s no current research that proves caffeine helps form memories, but a 2014 study published in Nature Neuroscience concluded “caffeine enhanced consolidation of long-term memories in humans.”
Eat berries: You can’t get more specific than memory information drawn from a study of nurses. According to Harvard researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, who used nurses as their study subjects, a diet with lots of flavonoid-rich berries can stave off memory decline by 2.5 years. “Women who consumed two or more servings of strawberries and blueberries each week ,we saw a modest reduction in memory decline. This effect appears to be attainable with relatively simple dietary modifications,” Harvard researcher Elizabeth Devore told the Harvard Gazette.
Try 30 minutes of “acute” exercise: This may seem unfair, but the best memory boost occurs with “acute” exercise, not just the everyday activity nurses experience at work. According to a 2018 study published in the Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, “acute exercise was associated with significantly greater semantic memory activation in the middle frontal, inferior temporal, middle temporal, and fusiform gyri... Greater brain activation following a single session of exercise suggests that exercise may increase neural processes underlying semantic memory activation in healthy older adults.”
To these scientific findings, Milsap would add one other memory enhancer based on personal experience. Instead of trying to remember every single step when the pace gets stressful, make it a point to remember to use your facility’s checklist. “Hospitals have really made an effort to put those checklists in place,” she said. “If you can make it a habit to go through the list, you can prompt your memory even at the most distracting times.”
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