Working/active memory (part of the short-term memory in which the stored information can be manipulated) is like your mind notebook temporarily storing new information. When you learn a person’s name or hear the address of a place you want to go to, you keep the details in your working memory until you no longer need them. You forget this information when it is no longer useful. If you go back to that information throughout time, it will be stored in your long-term memory, where reinforced for future use.
We use our working memory every day, and life is much easier when this memory is strong. While the maximum number of items that can be stored in working memory is seven for most adults, if you are not using your maximum working memory capacity, meditation can help improve it.
2. Get enough sleep
Sleep has been proven to be one of the most significant factors in having a good memory. Because most of the process of memory enhancement occurs in sleep, it makes sense that most of us would have difficulty remembering what we have learned without getting enough sleep.
Even a short nap can enhance memory retrieval. In one study, participants were asked to memorize pictures on cards. They were then divided into two groups. The first group took a nap for 40 minutes, and the other group was awake during this period. After this interval, both groups were tested for their memory. Eventually, the memory of the participants who had slept worked better, retrieving 85% of the patterns. This number was 60% for the group that stayed awake.
Research shows that when memory is first recorded in the brain (especially in the hippocampus) it is still “weak” and easily forgotten, especially if the brain wants to remember more items. Napping sends memories to the brain neocortex, which is the brain’s “permanent storehouse” and prevents them from being “rewritten.”