Forgetful? Check Your Watch

Forgetful? Check Your Watch

Your body clock can affect how well your memory works, science says.

Leaving your grocery list at home and forgetting what you put on it isn’t entirely abnormal. These simple acts of forgetfulness don’t necessarily mean you have dementia. They could, however, indicate that you tried to go shopping at your most forgetful time in the day.

Researchers are saying that if you have a hard time remembering something in one moment, try again later in the same 24-hour period. You may have better luck.

Why is this the case? Scientists from the University of Tokyo say it’s because there’s a gene that seems to influence memory recall at different times during the day. In mice, this gene causes them to be most forgetful just before they wake up.

Related: Are You Always a Bit Tired? You Could Be Setting Yourself Up for Dementia

Scientists say they aren’t sure why evolution developed mammals this way, and what advantage being more forgetful at certain times could provide. But their evidence seems solid.

“We designed a memory test that can differentiate between not learning versus knowing but not being able to remember,” said Professor Satoshi Kida from the University of Tokyo Department of Applied Biological Chemistry.

“Now we have evidence that the circadian clocks are regulating memory recall,” said Kida.

Studying hard for your next exam, or a trivia game? Match your memory-making activity to your sleep-wake cycle for maximum learning and memory formation.

Easier said than done, of course, but possibly worth a bit of tinkering.

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