As we get older, there’s no surprise that our memory isn’t as sharp as it used to be…but that doesn’t mean we’re doomed to forget everything! There are a number of tips and tricks you can use to remember small details in the moment and improve your memory in the long run.

Whether you’re studying for a test or just want to learn someone’s name, here are five ways to help you remember things better.

Exercise Your Brain
Doing activities that use your brain can help preserve and strengthen your memory. This includes playing brain games, doing puzzles like Sudoku or crosswords, or even playing video games. These types of hobbies help to build new connections in your brain.

Visualize It
Memory is predominantly visual, so picturing as much you can with an image can help strengthen your memory. One technique you can use is the method of loci. Think of a place you know well, like your house. Visualize a series of locations in a logical order, such as walking through your front door, through the living room, and into the kitchen. Place each item you need to remember in these locations. When you need to recall the said items, walk yourself through your house, picturing each item in its place.

Make Associations
If there’s something common or mundane you have to remember, like a name or a phone number, associate it with something that has more meaning to you. When someone introduces themselves to you as Joe, make note that their curly hair reminds you of a sloppy joe. If you have a long number to learn, break it up and look for familiar or important dates like birthdays or anniversaries.

Write It Down
Writing important information down will not only give you something to reference later, but writing by hand can help you retain and understand concepts. Using a pen and paper can strengthen the process by which important things are stored in our memory.

Sleep More
As if you needed more excuses to sleep in on the weekends: Studies show that when you get into a deep sleep, your brain reactivates and reorganizes recently learned material, which helps improve your memory and boost performance. Bonus: Naps also help, too. Research shows that a quick nap can help boost learning, memory, and creative problem solving.

xx, The FabFitFun Team