How to boost your memory

Brain like a sieve? Try these clever tips to ensure you never forget again. By Sarah Neish


How to boost your memory
  1. Take a mental journey ‘Mentally walk through your home and identify things you see regularly, such as a door knocker, vase of flowers, and the cat’s bed,’ says Karen Dolby, author of  Mrs Dolby’s Memory Magic. ‘Practise visualising these features carefully. Now, if your shopping list consists of bread, milk and butter, link each item to one of these features. For example, “bread in the letterbox, milk in the vase, and butter in the cat’s bed”. The next time you visualise walking through your home you’ll recall each item.’
  2. Double your shut-eye Getting a good night’s sleep before an important event may not be enough. Research shows we actually need two good nights’ sleep for our memory to be at its best. A study run by Harvard Medical School showed memory loss occurs if we have disturbed sleep on either of the two nights following a study session. So make sure you catch 80 winks, not 40.
  3. Be a teacher According to a study led by cognitive psychologist Helga Noice at Indiana State University, those who imagine explaining and conveying material to others as they learn retain more information. Have to learn a presentation by heart? Imagine explaining the concept in detail to a friend.
  4. Allocate celebrity name doubles ‘We remember faces well, and often where we first met someone,’ says Dolby. ‘It’s usually just their name that tends to elude us.’ She suggests linking new people we meet to celebrities with the same name. As we recall faces more easily than names, the face of their famous double should pop into your mind when you meet the person again, and serve as a prompt.