After a well-deserved vacation, it can be difficult to get back into the bath of work or studies for the youngest among us. In order to put all the chances on her side for a serene and successful return to school, Hélène Amieva, University Professor in Psychogerontology and member of the Scientific Council of the B2V Observatory of Memories, gives us her advice to preserve and stimulate her memory at approaching the start of the school year.
Tip #1: Maintain social connections
We must conceive of social ties as a source of intellectual stimulation in their own right. Volunteering in an association, planning a meal at home, checking in regularly with friends, are all activities that will strongly require planning skills, language skills and different types of memory (short-term, long-term term, or prospective) without forgetting the most important, the fact that they are sources of relaxation and pleasure.
Tip #2: Practice regular physical activity
It is now well established that regular physical activity is associated with better cognitive and memory performance. The benefits would be all the greater for sedentary people who begin to practice physical activity. Also, it’s never too late to start doing some sport, at your own pace and according to your abilities.
Tip #3: Get good quality sleep
The quality of sleep also has an impact on the level of cognitive performance. A good quality of sleep is defined by the alternation between phases of deep sleep and phases of light sleep. Deep sleep has this extraordinary ability to evacuate the toxic proteins accumulated during the day in our brain. Thus, sleeping well allows for good attentional and memory functioning during the day, and in the long term, protects our brain from the harmful accumulation of certain proteins.
Tip #4: Pay attention to what you put on your plate
There is a close link between diet, brain function and memory. Several studies have shown in particular that people who had a “Mediterranean” diet, that is to say a diet rich in olive oil, fish, fruits and vegetables, and low in meat and dairy products, presented with ageing. lower decline in memory functions compared to people not following this type of diet. The recommendation is simple but nevertheless essential, you must have a balanced and varied diet to stay healthy.
The intox revealed : we regularly hear that turmeric and/or red fruits help improve memory encoding (information input). No scientific study has proven the truth of this belief, even though these two foods are rich in antioxidants.
Good in your body, good in your head!
Tip n°5: Have intellectual and leisure activities
Leisure activities that stimulate our cognitive functions contribute to good mental health, provided that they are carried out without stress and that they constitute a source of relaxation and pleasure. We should not force ourselves to do sudokus or crosswords if this activity bores us. No activity in particular is to be recommended more than another, the important thing is to have various and varied leisure activities which will have the effect of stimulating various facets of our cognition. Studies show that the long-term practice of many activities is associated with a lesser decline in cognitive functions over time.
Gourmet advice: eat (a little) chocolate!
Chocolate like coffee and tea are rich in methylxanthines beneficial for cognitive functions. The cocoa bean, for its part, contains flavanols which would have, through their actions on peroxidases, insulin and cerebral blood circulation, a positive effect on memory, learning capacities and also the immune system. However, it is not a question of rushing on a chocolate bar, a small square from time to time is enough to take advantage of its virtues, and preferably dark chocolate (with at least 70% cocoa). It is the flavanols that are beneficial for memory and not sugar and cocoa which bring us pleasure and good humor.