With the heatwave that’s hitting most of Europe right now, are you struggling to focus on work? Do you find yourself forgetting things – however big or small?

Now, many of us could probably blame our short term ‘memory’ loss on the desire to be outdoors whilst the sun shines, but is that the reality?

I’d be lost without Asana – my project management tool. I literally write down everything that needs to be done that day, week, month and year. From work-related tasks to personal tasks. My life is organised online. Sad really, isn’t it!

So I began to wonder if my need to write everything down comes from being uber efficient, or something else?

What started off as a light lifestyle article for anyone else suffering from CFD (client forgetfulness disorder – my own diagnosis), turned into an interested look into memory loss. Who it affects – not just the elderly. Why it happens. And if there are ways to reverse it or minimise risk.

The result?

Well let’s just say, I shouldn’t be blaming these lovely sunny days, or those slightly more mundane tasks.

Did you know that the number of adults between the age of 19 and 39 who are suffering from poor memory in the UK is on the rise?

Which researchers say today’s lifestyle is to blame. In part.

A combination of higher everyday stresses – due to the environment, financial crisis and world issues – coupled with the need, or obligation, to be constantly connected.

And when connected, we’re not just focusing on one thing. We’re multi-tasking – switching between projects and clients frequently, as is the nature of our job.

Let’s face it, how often do you truly switch off?

Research findings at the end of 2015 showed the average age of people suffering from memory loss is 57. But, the number of people experiencing memory loss in their 30’s and 40’s has been steadily increasing year-on-year. Even teenagers and young adults are experiencing memory loss.

Predictions have already been made that by 2025, memory loss won’t be considered an older person’s problem. It will be ripe across all age groups.

So for anyone else suffering from some form of memory loss, try these proven techniques for better memory health.

1. Get more sleep.

You don’t have to tell me twice! But it’s been proven by the experts – the most effective way to combat poor memory is through sleep.

And this is no new thing. Studies dating back to 1924 link sleep with memory health. But why does sleep help improve memory?

Two reasons:

  1. Sleep protects our new memories from any interference
  2. Sleep consolidates our existing memories and ‘banks’ them in the appropriate place

How much sleep do we need?

Scientists recommend that on average adults should get between 7.5 and 9 hours sleep a night.

So starting tonight – put the gadgets away, turn off the light, and get a full night’s sleep.

Getting to sleep tip: Lie on your back with your eyes closed. Tense your toes for 10 seconds, then release for ten seconds. Repeat this movement ten times. The tensing and relaxing of the toes is a method recommended by the National Sleep Foundation that apparently helps your entire body relax. Removing the day’s stresses. Preparing you for a restful sleep.

2. Eat well.

What you consume plays a big role in how your brain performs.

Avoiding food and drink high in sugar and carbs is the best way to avoid a slump and ensures your brain stays active.

There are also foods that will stimulate brain cells …

  1. Wholegrains that release glucose into the blood reaching the brain that give us energy throughout the day.
  2. Oily fish, walnuts and seeds that provide us with essential fatty acids to help with overall wellbeing and brain health.
  3. Blueberries have been suggested to reduce or delay short-term memory loss – through evidence collected in US studies – making them the perfect snack.
  4. Broccoli is rich in Vitamin K – a vitamin known to boost cognitive function and improve brainpower.
  5. Vitamin C increases brain activity and protect against any degeneration. Citrus fruit, blackcurrants and red peppers are an ideal supply.

3. Exercise.

Not only is exercise good for your body, it’s good for you mind as well.

Get out and do some form of exercise that gets your heart pumping at least three times a week. This activity raises your heart rate which gets the blood flowing to the brain and enlarges the hippocampus – the most important part of the brain for memory.

Grab a friend, find a class, or go it alone. Just get out. Move.

You’ll feel better and function better.

4. Switch off.

Take some time to stop. Do nothing. Don’t lift up a book. Don’t think about dinner. Ignore the kids (just kidding!).

But find some quiet time at some point during the day.

This switching off, or meditation, restores the balance in your body.

When we’re stressed, or even just caught up with work for endless hours, our bodies and brain release hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. We need these. They help determine fight or flight.

But when we stay in this state for too long, they start working against the body. Changing the structure of the hippocampus and killing nerve endings which negatively impacts memory.

Meditation comes in a variety of different practices. Tasting. Listening. Feeling. Find one that suits you and take ten minutes out each day to completely switch off.

It’ll calm your mind, help improve your memory and bring greater clarity to your thinking.

5. Try something new.

We should all do something new on a regular basis.

Think back to when you were a kid. You did something new practically every day. And because of this, your mind expanded. Your world grew larger.

When we become adults, we tend to close ourselves off to new experiences.

But it needn’t be that way.

Doing something new could be as small a change as walking a different way to the local shop for your pint of milk. Or something as large as jumping out of a plane!

However large or small, make it your mission to try something new next month. At least one thing. Then again the next month and so on.

At the very least, you’ll discover a new place, or who knows, you could unearth a new passion!