You don’t need me to tell you memory is important. And when you’re studying (or cramming) for exams, you need your memory more than ever.

Thanks to decades of research, there are numerous strategies you can use to protect and enhance your memory, whether it’s ahead of a big test, or to help you remember so-and-so’s birthday next month. Here are five you might want to try to keep your memory healthy.

 

1. Good sleep

This is an important part of how we consolidate our memories. Skimp on sleep and your memory will suffer.

 

2. Good food

A healthy diet gives your brain the resources it needs to work well. The opposite is true for junk food.

 

3. Practice

Use it or lose it. Practice building your memory palace during idle moments, whether at school or at home. The bad news? This means less screen time.

 

4. Competition

Preparing for an exam? Test yourself against friends or family. When you’re competing, all your senses are alert. The more senses you use in learning, the more your brain will be involved in retaining the memory.

 

5. Keep learning for as long as you can

Sick of studying? Too bad! According to the Harvard Medical School, a higher level of education is directly linked with better mental functioning in old age. Experts believe advanced education can help keep memory strong by forcing you into the habit of being mentally active.