There are many factors, some of which may coincide to produce a more noticeable effect.
1. Fatigue – when you are tired, your memory and concentration are depleted. A classic example is the sleep deprivation experienced when looking after a baby.
2. Long-term stress can be a factor because cortisol, which is produced in increased quantities during periods of chronic stress, shrinks the hippocampus – the memory centre of the brain. Initially stress sharpens up recall, but this very quickly diminishes if the stressful factors are ongoing.
3. Oestrogen decline during menopause, which many women find affects their memory and concentration
4. Nutritional deficiencies – nutrients such as zinc, Essential Fatty Acids and B vitamins are needed for good brain function generally and memory in particular
5. Dehydration – much research has been done on the beneficial effects of increased water intake for school children, who perform much better when properly hydrated/
6. Caffeine and alcohol intake – if high, this can cause stress reactions as above
7. Recreational drugs often have a negative effect on memory
8. Poor circulation depletes the brain of oxygen, impeding its function
9. Disease processes – dementia is something that many people will fear is behind their memory problems, but other ailments such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome are linked to what is often described as ‘brain fog’.
For more information see our causes of memory loss page.