You get in the car, and head to the grocery store. You arrive at the store and put your hand in the front pocket of your jeans, only to realize that you left your grocery list at home. You thought you put the list in your pocket. You’re old school, and still write down grocery lists on paper. You enter the store and stop in your tracks, thinking “what did I come here for?” You remember that you only needed five items, but can only recollect three of them: tortillas, butter, and coffee. You get those three items while being distracted thinking about what the heck the other two items are.
Sound familiar? Is this your brain, or the brain of someone you know?
Short term memory loss is a real thing. First, let’s define short term memory and long term memory. Short term memory is a short “list” of items in your memory that is stored there for a short period of time— around 20-30 seconds. It is a temporary storage of memory. However, the information in short term memory can then be transferred to long term memory. Long term memory has a greater capacity to store information, and more of it. Some researchers believe that there are separate stores for short and long term memories, while other researchers do not believe this.
Having short term information become long term information requires some brain work. Repetition helps move short term information into long term. The more you punch a code into a computer or phone, the more you remember that code. Chunking information together into smaller units and remembering three smaller units is easier than remembering a longer unit. Adding a song or rhyme to the information connects the information being learned to something already known.
Sometimes short term memory can be affected on a daily basis, and it is frustrating to not find a word when in conversation, or not remember someone’s name that you know… or forget the shopping list once again.
Here are some causes of short term memory loss that ARE NOT PERMANENT and if focused upon and improved, then the memory should improve.
Alcohol or drug use
Medication side effects
If you are not getting enough sleep and are stressed, that can lead to short term memory loss. This can affect how you function throughout the day, which can be stressful, which then creates a loop of stress: poor sleep: poor memory. Therefore, working on improving sleep and decreasing stress can ultimately improve memory.
Ways of decreasing stress are multi dimensional and unique for each person. Improving sleep can be done by limiting caffeine at least 6 hours before your bedtime, exercising enough so that your body is tired enough to rest, or journaling your thoughts so as to get any racing thoughts out of your mind, which will create a more peaceful mind. Doing yoga, using calming essential oils, taking a warm bath or shower, and drinking a warm beverage can all help to calm the nerves and get the body ready for sleep.
Herbs like Ashawaganda, Ginkgo, Tulsi (Holy Basil), Bacopa, and Rosemary can all help improve memory. Ingesting the herb Rosemary, as well as smelling its essential oil while learning information and working on your memory, is a great combination. Students who need to learn information can read the information while smelling Rosemary oil. Rosemary oil has been known to improve circulation and memory. Ashawaganda, Ginkgo, Tulsi, Bacopa and Rosemary can be taken in capsule form, as a liquid tincture, or in tea form. Tulsi and Rosemary can also be used as an essential oil. There are many mushroom supplements like Lion’s Mane that also improve memory.
Playing cards and games, and doing crossword puzzles or word games, will also help keep the mind sharp. Learning something new is one of the best things to do to improve memory. Laughing and reducing stress can also improve your memory.
Some people who use cannabis often can develop memory loss. Using CBD instead of THC, or in addition to it, can help with memory. Some CBD and THC-N products like gummies can help a person to sleep deeply, offering a much needed night of sleep. Good sleep will help the memory to be strong.
Alzhemier’s disease, a disease with memory loss and anxiety, may be helped by using CBD or THC. Alzheimer’s disease is one of the qualifying conditions in Arizona for people to receive their Medical Marijuana Card.
Exercise your brain, and keep your memory strong.