According to the results of a study by Kate Morgan and her colleagues at Cardiff University, chewing gum really can help to improve your concentration and enhance your recall capabilities. Even though potential improvement is limited to a maximum of three words, this can be sufficient to trigger the brain into remembering facts, names, and places.
The simple physiological action of chewing increases your heart rate and blood pressure and increases the flow of blood to the brain. This then gives the brain an energy boost and thus concentration levels improve along with memory recall.
Chewing gum can also help to reduce stress levels during studying and acts like a “coffee boost” to increase alertness and productivity.
If chewing gum isn’t exactly your cup of tea there are a number of other practical steps you can take to help improve your memory. These include both physical activity and drinking water. Certain aerobic exercises can help to improve blood flow to the brain which over the longer term can aid attention and recall while drinking sufficient water helps to ensure that your body, and therefore your brain, is sufficiently hydrated.
It is well known that our cognitive abilities tend to decline with age and this can be attributed to the fact that many older people deliberately restrict the amount of fluid they take in order to stop themselves from having to visit the toilet too often. What many people don’t realise is that this is not just an age-related condition. Allowing your body to become dehydrated (perhaps after having one too many beers!) is a bad thing to do because it will also lead to dehydration of the brain. It may seem hard to believe but our brains are made up of 85% water! Just a 1% reduction in the necessary bodily fluids can result in a 5% loss of cognitive function while a 2% reduction can lead to confusion and difficulty in performing relatively simple mathematical computations.
Finally, if a cup of coffee after an aerobic workout whilst chewing gum still doesn’t work for you, then perhaps it’s time to go to bed and get a good night’s sleep. Sleeping for seven to nine hours a night for two weeks before a big exam can give your brain the necessary rest it needs for study and concentration.