Doctors recommend easy ways to improve your memory
Doctors have shared their tips for conquering brain fog – from spending more time outdoors to learning a musical instrument.
Dr Amir Khan and Dr Anisha Patel discussed the symptoms of brain fog on Lorraine this morning, which can include slower thought processes, difficulty concentrating and forgetfulness.
According to Dr Anisha, a GP and women’s health expert, many over-60-year-olds will suffer from brain fog as a result of dementia or heart problems.
Younger people also seek help for the symptom which can arise from Covid, cancer treatments, mental health problems, stress, lack of sleep and nutrient deficiencies.
Appearing on Lorraine this morning, Dr Amir Khan and Dr Anisha Patel shared the common causes of brain fog including menopause and stress (stock image)
She added that while older sufferers of brain fog are equally distributed between men and women, younger sufferers are more often women who are experiencing perimenopause and menopause.
Here are Dr Amir and Dr Anisha’s tips for improving your memory and overcoming brain fog…
1. Keeping your body healthy
According to Dr Amir, behaviours that can improve blood flow to the brain are key to keeping the organ healthy.
‘Stop smoking, that will help blood flow to the brain,’ he said.
‘Reduce your alcohol intake, get to a healthy weight and just overall health is really important to blood flow to the brain.’
The pair recommended spending time outdoors or learning a new skill to improve memory (pictured)
2. Learning a new skill
Having a skill can improve your confidence as well as keeping the brain working.
What is the menopause?
Menopause is when a woman stops having periods, and is no longer able to get pregnant naturally.
It usually happens between the ages of 45 and 55.
It is a normal part of ageing and caused by levels of the sex hormone oestrogen dropping.
Some women go through this time with few, if any, symptoms.
Others suffer from hot flushes, sleeping difficulties, mood swings and brain fog, which can last for months or years and might change over time.
HRT replaces the hormones and is the main treatment used to treat symptoms — which can be severe and disrupt day-to-day life.
Menopause happens when your ovaries stop producing as much of the hormone oestrogen and no longer release an egg each month.
Dr Anisha said: ‘Learning new things, especially when we’re all feeling a bit overwhelmed, choosing a hobby, sewing, go and dance, learn tai chi, learn a new skill, go and do that 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle.
‘It’s all going to help keep our brain active, improve that concentration and boost memory.’
She also recommended learning how to play a musical instrument, describing it as ‘like having a full body workout for the brain’ because it can stimulate all of the brain.
3. Get plenty of sleep
Making sure we get enough sleep every night can not only stop us feeling tired but can improve brain health and help us learn new things more effectively.
‘Your brain is an organ. It needs to eat and breathe like any of your organs and it gets food and oxygen through fluid that comes through tubes called the glymphatic system,’ Dr Amir explained.
‘As it eats and breathes it also produces waste, so the brain needs to be cleaned and the waste needs to be removed so new fluid full of food and oxygen can come in.
‘That happens while we sleep so while you’re sleeping your brain is having a clean which is really good for it.’
He added: ‘As well as that, sleep helps cement memory.
‘So things you’ve learnt that day, while you sleep, they’re cemented in your brain but also a good night sleep helps you learn new things.
‘People who get a good night’s sleep are 40 per cent better at learning new things the following day.
4. Be more organised
Staying on top of daily tasks can help keep focus and stop us from forgetting our objectives for the day.
However, Dr Anisha advised to not over-challenge ourselves and recommended keeping to-do lists brief.
‘Have three or four things [on the list]. When you get that list done, congratulate yourself and have a list for the next day,’ she explained.
Dr Anisha also said it is important to give all belongings a space in the home and keeping those items we always seem to be looking for – such as keys and glasses – in the same place.
Dr Anisha recommended keeping to-do lists short and celebrating when tasks are completed (pictured)
5. Spend time outdoors
Dr Amir said there is scientific evidence to show that spending time outside in the fresh air is good for our mood.
‘You’ve got to remember that depression and anxiety will affect your ability to focus and think,’ he explained.
‘Studies have shown that spending 30 minutes, five times a week – about two hours a week on average – outdoors has been really proven to improve your mood.
‘It is cold.put your big coat on, get outside and go and spend some time in nature – it will be really good for your mood.’