Our memory is a strange and beautiful thing. On one hand, you have people who can remember every single detail of their life, right down to how many times they flipped through the TV channels on a certain day. On the other hand, you have people who forget someone’s name right after they’re introduced to one another. What’s up with that? Well, here are some life hacks that will help you get the most out of your memory.
#1. It’s true – knowing you’re going to be tested on something will help you remember it.
While we still can’t recommend cramming before a big exam, we can say that it’s been proven that you retain information better when you know you’re going to need it. Otherwise, you’ll promptly forget all about it.
#2. Napping, napping, napping – it definitely helps
Have you ever been studying for a test or exam only to start feeling tired? That may be your cue to take a power nap, despite what you might be thinking. While you may be afraid to take a nap in the middle of studying, science has proven that taking a 40 to 60 minute power nap can actually help you to retain information. It sound counter-intuitive, but it’s true. Try it next time you’re studying and you feel a yawn coming on – you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the results.
#3. No more memories, sorry
While it’s not as simple as deleting a file on your computer, “deleting” a memory you have no use for will, in fact, help you retain more information. Our brain only has so many brain cells and synapses to use, and once they’re used up, they’re used up for good. Until, that is, a new memory takes its place. Our brain is very similar to a computer, so if you delete that strange memory you have of when you’re a child, you can replace that memory with new information.
#4. Switch from pop to classical and watch your memory retention soar
While it may be tempting to listen to your favorite artist as you study to help you stay relaxed, it might actually be messing with your brain. Songs with lyrics tend to send crossfire to your brain when you’re trying to remember something. This makes sense – your brain is trying to retain the song’s lyrics as well as whatever you’re trying to learn. Putting on classical music instead will help you satisfy your musical urge while making it easier to remember things due to the lack of lyrics.
#5. You can use your senses to help remember things
Those fond memories of fresh-baked cookies at grandma’s house stand out for a reason. We remember things easier when they’re linked to smell or taste, sometimes sound and touch as well. If you can associate a smell with a memory, you’ll be able to recall it much quicker and easier.