Forgetfulness can be frustrating. Sometimes, it can even cost you opportunities and relationships. In school, for example, being forgetful can affect your exam results, limiting your options for higher education. In your social life, your forgetfulness can cause unnecessary strains in your friendships and other entanglements. Forgetting to attend an important event is just inexcusable, no matter how busy your life is.
Many of us see forgetfulness as nothing but a common trait. But it could be more than that. Certain health conditions and lifestyle factors can impact our memory. Without treatment, we’d make our forgetfulness worse and our overall health decline.
If you’re sick of forgetting your crucial appointments and personal commitments, consider if you’re possibly suffering from these conditions:
A Lack of Sleep
During sleep, your brain is processing information from the day and forming memories. Hence, if you often lack sleep, then your brain misses the opportunity to process information. On top of that, it increases your risk for serious diseases, including hypertension, obesity, and diabetes.
You’d notice the effects of sleep deprivation on your memory after pulling an all-nighter. Reading your notes all night may seem helpful, but it’s the opposite. Instead of processing the information, your brain becomes foggy. Your mood declines too.
Lack of sleep also reduces your ability to absorb and recall information. You may find yourself often forgetting birth dates, street names, or parts of your schedule. If you’re studying, your brain would often feel too exhausted to store new information.
If those are your main problems, start a healthier nighttime routine to catch up on sleep. Manage your time better to avoid cramming and pulling an all-nighter.
Stress is more serious than many people realize. Without de-stressing, your mental health could decline, followed by your physical health. The effects can start with a foggy memory.
When you’re stressed, you have a more difficult time creating short-term memories. You’ll also struggle to turn those short-term memories into long-term memories. Even the type of memories you form may be different from what you saw or experienced.
The details you remember may be inaccurate if you’re stressed during an event. That’s why during court proceedings, an eye witness is crucial. That’s how stress badly muddles your memory; it can make your accounts of an event completely unreliable.
If stress gets the better of you again, take a pause and perform breathing exercises. Shifting your focus to your breathing is enough to reduce your stress. Practice mindfulness; it can also make you sleep better, allowing your brain to de-stress more effectively.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
A study confirmed that people with chronic fatigue syndrome have more difficulties with memory. Compared to healthy people, their memory skills lacked by 5% to 20%.
Memory loss from chronic fatigue is caused by the fatigue itself. It’s harder to process and recall information when you’re tired. But if you have chronic fatigue syndrome, sleep and de-stressing aren’t enough to refresh your memories. You need to seek high-quality chronic fatigue treatment.
You can also try non-drug strategies for your memory problems. Consider making a to-do list each day, avoiding multi-tasking, and putting everything where it belongs (house keys, car keys, phone, etc.). Make a few lifestyle changes, such as eating cleaner, sleeping better, and getting more exercise. All the while, consult your doctor to confirm if you’re on the right track.
Depression affects many aspects of your life. Your memory especially suffers from the condition. A 2013 study has found that depressed people couldn’t identify objects on a screen that were identical or similar to an object they previously saw. A 2015 study had similar findings, confirming that depression might cause short-term memory loss.
If you’re dealing with depression, seek therapy or counseling, as it would also improve your memory. Try to lead an active lifestyle or get more involved in your community as well. Mood-elevating activities can keep your symptoms at bay, allowing your memory to function better. Memory aids, like planners, post-it notes, or digital reminders, will also help.
Hypothyroidism decreases your thyroid hormones, which regulate your brain function. As a result, your memory and attention span falter. For many people, though, brain fog due to hypothyroidism is a fleeting symptom. But without early treatment, that brain fog could last longer and turn into cognitive problems. Luckily, that’s an extreme case and is therefore uncommon.
If you have hypothyroidism, get checked regularly and follow your treatment plan. And, of course, adopt a healthy lifestyle to resolve your immunity issues.
Forgetfulness can change your life negatively, so don’t ignore and downplay it. If it’s been affecting your professional and personal life, find out the cause now and get treated.