Boost Memory & Cognition: Practical Tips
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 10 min read


  1. Eat a healthy diet
  2. Get enough sleep
  3. Exercise regularly
  4. Stay socially engaged
  5. Manage stress
  6. Keep learning new things
  7. Avoid smoking
  8. Limit alcohol intake
  9. Get regular check-ups
  10. Play brain-boosting games

Improving your memory and cognitive functions doesn't have to feel like climbing Mount Everest. It's about making a few simple lifestyle tweaks that have a big impact. Let's talk about the practical ways you can boost your brain's health and keep your mind sharp. And don't worry, we're not going to lecture you with science jargon. We're just going to share some straightforward, easy-to-follow tips that can make a real difference.

Eat a Healthy Diet

What you put in your body has a direct effect on your brain health. Eating a balanced diet isn't just good for your waistline—it can also help enhance your memory and cognitive functions. So, what's on the menu for a healthier brain?

  • Fruits and vegetables: They're not just for warding off the common cold. Fruits and veggies are packed with antioxidants, which help protect brain cells from damage. Spinach, blueberries, broccoli—you name it, your brain loves it.
  • Whole grains: Foods like brown rice and whole grain bread are rich in fiber and keep your brain fueled with a steady supply of energy.
  • Fish: Oily fish like salmon and mackerel are teeming with Omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to support brain health. If you're not a fan of fish, no worries—flaxseeds and walnuts are excellent plant-based sources of Omega-3s.
  • Dairy: Milk, cheese, and yogurt have a lot of Vitamin B12, which is important for maintaining healthy brain function.
  • Spices: Certain spices, like turmeric and cinnamon, have been found to have brain-boosting properties. Plus, they add a punch of flavor to your meals!

Remember, variety is the spice of life. Eating a wide range of food ensures your brain gets all the nutrients it needs. So, next time you're at the grocery store, consider adding a few brain-friendly items to your shopping cart.

Get Enough Sleep

Have you ever tried to focus on a task after a poor night's sleep? Feels like trying to run a marathon with weights tied to your ankles, doesn't it? Sleep isn't just for resting your body—it's critical for your brain health and function too.

During sleep, your brain gets busy with some pretty important tasks. It's like a night shift worker tidying up the office, sorting through the day's paperwork, and getting ready for the next day. In brain terms, this means consolidating memories, clearing out toxins, and repairing cells. All these activities are essential for improving memory and cognitive functions.

So, how much sleep do you need? While it varies from person to person, aim for about seven to nine hours of quality sleep each night. A couple of tips to help you catch those much-needed z's:

  • Stick to a schedule: Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. This helps regulate your body's internal clock and can help you fall asleep and stay asleep for the night.
  • Watch what and when you eat: Avoid large meals, caffeine, and alcohol close to bedtime as they can disrupt your sleep. Consuming a lot of liquid can also lead to bathroom breaks that disturb your peaceful slumber.
  • Create a restful environment: Keep your bedroom dark, quiet, and cool. Consider using earplugs, an eye mask, or a fan to create an environment that suits your needs.
  • Limit daytime naps: Long daytime naps can interfere with nighttime sleep. If you choose to nap, limit yourself to about 20 to 30 minutes and make it during the mid-afternoon.

Remember, sleep is not a luxury—it's a necessity. Make it a priority and your brain will thank you.

Exercise Regularly

Exercise isn't just about building muscle or losing weight; it's also about keeping your mind sharp and enhancing memory and cognitive functions. Think of it as a workout for your brain. Just like your muscles, your brain benefits from getting its heart rate up and breaking a sweat.

Regular physical activity increases blood flow to your brain. This helps deliver essential nutrients and oxygen to your brain cells, which they need to perform their tasks. Exercise also stimulates the production of chemicals that enhance the growth and survival of new brain cells—a process called neurogenesis.

So, how can you incorporate more exercise into your day? You don't need to become a marathon runner or spend hours at a gym. Even a brisk walk in the park or a few minutes of jumping jacks can do wonders. Here are a few tips to help you get moving:

  • Choose activities you enjoy: You're more likely to stick with exercises you find fun. Whether it's dancing, swimming, or playing a sport, find something that makes you look forward to your workout.
  • Set reasonable goals: Don't set yourself up for failure by aiming too high. Start with small, achievable goals and gradually increase them as your fitness improves.
  • Make it a habit: Try to incorporate physical activity into your daily routine. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, park your car further away from your destination, or do a few stretches while watching TV.

Remember, the key is consistency. Even a few minutes of exercise can make a big difference if done regularly. So, lace up those sneakers and get moving. Your brain will thank you!

Stay Socially Engaged

Let's talk about social engagement and its role in boosting your memory and cognitive functions. Do you ever notice how you feel more alert and energized after a good chat with a friend or an interesting group discussion? That's not a coincidence. Being socially active stimulates your brain, keeps it sharp, and can even help delay memory loss.

Social interaction involves a lot of brain functions - attention, memory, thinking, and emotional responses. Hence, good social relationships can act as a 'brain gym', giving your cognitive functions a great workout. It's like a two-for-one deal: you get to enjoy quality time with your loved ones and enhance your brain health at the same time!

So, how can you add more social interactions to your life? Here are some ideas:

  • Join a club or group: Whether it's a book club, a gardening group, or a cooking class, being part of a group that shares your interests can keep you engaged and mentally stimulated.
  • Volunteer: Helping out in your local community can provide social interaction while making you feel good about giving back. Plus, it can be a great way to learn new skills.
  • Stay in touch: Make an effort to regularly call or visit your friends and family. Even a quick chat can do wonders for your mood and brain health.

Remember, it's not about the quantity, but the quality of your social interactions that counts. So, make sure to surround yourself with positive, supportive people who inspire and challenge you. Your memory and cognitive functions will thank you for it!

Manage Stress

Stress is a part of life, isn't it? However, when stress becomes a constant companion, it can take a toll not only on your mood and physical health, but also on your memory and cognitive functions. Yes, high-stress levels can affect your brain's capacity to encode and recall information. So, managing stress effectively is key to boosting your cognitive performance and memory.

Think about it this way: when your brain is in stress-overload, it's like trying to drive a car with the handbrake on. It's not going to perform at its best, right? But when you manage your stress, you 'release the handbrake,' and your brain can operate smoothly again.

Here are a few techniques that can help you keep your stress levels in check:

  • Mindfulness and meditation: These practices can help you stay grounded, enabling you to handle stress better. Plus, meditation has been shown to improve various cognitive functions, including memory.
  • Physical activity: Regular exercise is a great stress-buster. It increases blood flow to your brain, enhancing its activity and memory functions.
  • Laughter is the best medicine: This isn't just a saying. Laughing releases endorphins—your body's natural stress relievers—so watch a funny movie or share a joke with a friend.

Remember, everyone has a different way of dealing with stress. So, it's all about finding what works best for you. When you manage your stress effectively, you'll be doing your memory and cognitive functions a huge favor.

Keep Learning New Things

Are you interested in a new hobby? Maybe learning a foreign language, picking up a musical instrument, or dabbling in painting? Well, now you have an additional reason to start. Engaging your brain in learning new things can significantly improve your memory and cognitive functions.

Routine can be comfortable, we know. But, sticking to the same patterns doesn't give your brain the challenge it needs to grow. It's like going to the gym and lifting the same weight every day—you're maintaining, not improving. So, how about stepping out of your comfort zone and giving your brain a workout?

  • Learn a new language: This can be a fun and useful way to boost your cognitive abilities. Plus, it opens up a whole new world of travel and culture for you to explore.
  • Pick up a musical instrument: Research shows that learning to play an instrument can enhance memory, attention, and problem-solving skills.
  • Try painting or drawing: These activities can improve your creativity, focus, and observational skills, all of which are part of your cognitive functions.

Remember, it's not about becoming a master overnight—it's about continuously learning and challenging your brain. So, pick something you enjoy and stick with it. Your memory and cognitive functions will thank you!

Avoid Smoking

Let's talk about the elephant in the room—smoking. We all know it's bad for our lungs and overall health, but did you know it can also negatively impact your memory and cognitive functions? Yes, it's true.

Smoking damages the brain by reducing its blood flow, which can lead to memory issues and a decline in cognitive functions over time. This is definitely not what you want if you're aiming to keep your brain in top shape.

Quitting smoking can be tough, but it's one of the best things you can do for your brain health. If you're a smoker, consider this:

  1. Take small steps: Quitting doesn't have to be a giant leap. You can start by reducing the number of cigarettes you smoke each day.
  2. Seek professional help: If you're struggling, don't hesitate to seek help. Professionals can provide guidance and resources to help you quit.
  3. Find healthy substitutes: If you find yourself reaching for a cigarette when you're stressed or bored, try to find a healthier substitute, like chewing gum or taking a short walk.

Remember, every cigarette not smoked is a victory for your brain health. So, why not make the decision today to boost your memory and cognitive functions by saying no to smoking?

Limit Alcohol Intake

Just as we've tackled smoking, let's address another common habit—alcohol consumption. While a glass of wine with dinner or a beer with friends can be part of a balanced lifestyle, excessive drinking can be detrimental to your memory and cognitive functions.

Alcohol can interfere with the brain's communication pathways, affecting mood, behavior, and—yes, you guessed it—our ability to think clearly and remember information.

But don't worry, you don't have to completely ditch your favorite beverage. Here are some tips to enjoy alcohol responsibly and help protect your cognitive functions:

  1. Moderation is key: Stick to the recommended limits—one drink a day for women and up to two drinks a day for men—this isn't a race, after all.
  2. Choose alcohol-free days: Give your brain a break by having a few alcohol-free days each week. You might even find that you feel more alert and energetic.
  3. Stay hydrated: Alcohol can dehydrate you, which might make you feel foggy the next day. So, always have water on hand when you're drinking.

Remember, it's all about balance. By being mindful about your alcohol intake, you can contribute to maintaining your memory and cognitive functions in top shape. Cheers to that—responsibly, of course!

Get Regular Check-ups

Ever heard the saying, "Prevention is better than cure"? It holds especially true when it comes to maintaining your memory and cognitive functions. That's where regular medical check-ups come in handy.

Regular check-ups are like a report card for your health. They give you the opportunity to catch potential issues early, before they turn into serious problems. Your doctor can spot signs of diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, or high cholesterol, which could affect your cognitive functions if left untreated.

Here are a few tips for making the most of your check-ups:

  1. Prepare for your appointment: Before you go, make a list of any symptoms or concerns you have. Don't be shy; no symptom or question is too small.
  2. Ask questions: If your doctor uses a term you don't understand, ask them to explain it. It's your health, and you have a right to understand everything about it.
  3. Follow up: If your doctor recommends a treatment or lifestyle change, make sure you understand what you need to do and why it's important.

Regular check-ups are an important part of maintaining your cognitive health. By staying on top of your health, you can help ensure your memory and cognitive functions remain strong. So, make an appointment today—you'll thank yourself later.

Play Brain-Boosting Games

Who said improving memory and cognitive functions can't be fun? Just like your muscles, your brain needs a good workout too. And what better way to work your brain muscles than by playing some brain-boosting games?

Brain-boosting games are designed to challenge your mind and improve various cognitive skills such as memory, attention, speed, and flexibility. What's more, they're fun and can be played anywhere, anytime. So, you can boost your cognitive functions while on the bus, in a waiting room, or even during your coffee break!

Here are a few types of brain-boosting games you might want to try:

  1. Puzzles: Sudoku, crosswords, and jigsaw puzzles are great for improving problem-solving skills and attention to detail.
  2. Memory games: Games like Memory or Simon Says can help enhance your short-term memory and attention.
  3. Strategy games: Games like chess or checkers demand planning, strategy, and critical thinking, giving your brain a full workout.

Remember, the key to getting the most out of these games is consistency. Just like physical exercise, the more you exercise your brain, the stronger it gets. So, why not give it a try? Who knows, you might even discover a new hobby while boosting your memory and cognitive functions!

If you're interested in further exploring the connection between memory, cognition, and creativity, check out the workshop 'Writing From Memory - Part 2' by Charlie Brogan. This workshop will provide you with practical tips on how to use your memory effectively in your writing process, helping to improve your overall cognition and creativity.