9 Simple Reasons Your Short-Term Memory Is Getting Worse According to Doctors

Has your short-term memory declined? Let’s find out why!

Do you ever need to remember where you left your keys or struggle to recall what you just read? If so, you’re not alone. Short-term memory is like a mental sticky note, vital for remembering everyday tasks and information.

Yet, for many of us, it slips away more quickly than we’d like. But fear not! Behind this frustrating phenomenon lie some simple reasons that doctors have uncovered.

Today, Indulging Health is diving into the fascinating world of the mind and discovering the explanations for why your short-term memory might be taking a hit.

From lifestyle habits to underlying health issues, understanding these factors can shed an important light on why we sometimes feel a bit forgetful. So, get comfortable, and let’s explore the mysteries of our short-term memory together!

…But first, what EXACTLY is short-term memory?

Short-Term Memory
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Short-term memory and how it works

You need Short-term memory to accomplish your nearest goals, explains an expert in the Department of Neurology at Cedars-Sinai. That might mean completing tasks throughout the day, remembering someone’s name or phone number, or recalling where you ditched your keys when you got home.

Short-term memory is about more than quickly identifying new info. There are actually three phases. You have to register the information, store it, and retrieve it. Registering means that you’re paying attention to begin with.

Storing the information means you’ve filed it away in your brain. Retrieval is the power to reaccess the memory. Any of these steps can break down.


Before you panic, there IS some good news: Most healthy people won’t have a degenerative neurological condition causing short-term memory loss, according to doctors. But Alzheimer’s or dementia is a possibility in some groups of individuals.

If you’re over 60 years old and have risk factors like high blood pressure, diabetes, or obesity, then you could be more prone to issues and need to be evaluated.


Blood flow is good for your brain because it keeps it young. Exercising will boost blood flow to the brain. If you remain active, you’ll have a better memory, says the author of “Memory Rescue.”

Medics suggest daily exercise; it doesn’t have to be intense, either. A half-mile or mile run each day is better than a 10-mile run one day a week.

Lyme disease

Lyme disease is generally transmitted through a tick bite and causes early symptoms like fever, headache, chills, and fatigue, according to the CDC.

Later on, some individuals may notice short-term memory issues without treatment. Doctors point out that this may include focus, attention, and organization trouble.

Mental health conditions

Most people tend to miss the fact that they might be depressed. But if you’re suffering from anxiety, depression, or chronic stress, you should get help, or your memory can also pay the price.

These conditions may all hurt your brain. Getting relief will improve your life and outlook and save your brain.

An unhealthy diet

Inflammation is harmful to your body AND your brain. According to experts, the higher the inflammation levels in your body are, the worse your memory will be.

Eating an anti-inflammatory diet, like the Mediterranean version, and avoiding foods that raise it, like highly processed foods and loads of sugar, is vital. They also recommend taking probiotics and fish oil.

Substance abuse

With the legalization of recreational marijuana in the US, many individuals assume that the drug isn’t damaging. But, certain doctors call this a toxin that harms memory.

Marijuana decreases every area of the brain and ages it. On average, smokers have brains three years older than those who have never touched the stuff. Alcohol abuse can also hurt your memory.

Short-Term Memory
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If you lead a healthy lifestyle, which includes exercise, eating right, and consuming alcohol in moderation and other substances that can harm memory but still feel like your memory is failing, talk to your physician about your medications.

This goes for prescription AND over-the-counter meds, advise experts. Cholesterol drugs, high blood pressure pills, painkillers, and sleeping pills are among the medications that can trigger memory problems.

Lack of sleep

Poor quality of sleep is a significant cause of short-term memory loss. If you don’t get seven hours of sleep a night or more, you might be in trouble. Your brain essentially cleans itself at night. When you don’t get enough, it’s like the cleaning crew didn’t come to clean up.


When you have an underactive thyroid, everything in your body operates slower. Your digestion will slow down, and you can also suffer from constipation. Your cell growth slows, leading to hair loss, and your metabolism becomes sluggish, triggering weight gain.

You may even be plagued by muddied thinking or forgetfulness. Oftentimes, medication to restore thyroid hormones can help alleviate symptoms and help you feel better.

You can help maintain your short-term memory…Here’s how:

Keep your brain sharp

The connections in your brain that form short-term memory can be strengthened if you keep mentally active. Doing crossword puzzles, playing a musical instrument, or learning new routes for your errands can help with brain activity.

Try a crossword once a day, either in the morning or evening. If you don’t already know a musical instrument, consider taking lessons. If you already play (or sing), set aside a half hour or so a day to practice.

Get focused

If you notice that you have a difficult time remembering what you read, try to limit the number of distractions around you. Pick a quiet space to work in.

Turn your notifications off, or put your phone on silent. The less distracted you are when you do something, the more likely you are to improve your short-term memory.

Socialize more

As we’ve mentioned, stress and depression can both contribute to short-term memory loss. By spending more time with your family and friends, you can ward off depression and stress and, therefore, improve your short-term memory.

Something as straightforward as a regular phone call or meeting for lunch can help with short-term memory loss.


Learning to meditate means understanding how to ignore everyday distractions. Those who meditate frequently find that even when they’re not meditating, they can focus better.

Give yourself 10 minutes daily to sit in a quiet room and meditate. You can learn to do it in a lot of different ways. There are even smartphone apps that lead you through the process. There are also lots of YouTube videos that do the same.

And to help you get comfortable, we recommend grabbing one of these mediation pillows from Amazon!

Short-Term Memory
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When should you seek help?

If you can’t pass the “attention test” despite repeating the information, your next step is determining if your issue is storing or retrieving new memories.

If you’re having trouble remembering a new acquaintance’s name, ask them if they can give you three choices, for instance, Shana, Carrie, or Beth. If your problem is storing new memories, you won’t be able to remember them.

But if it’s retrieval, you’ll remember that her name is Beth once you hear the correct name. Having trouble retrieving short-term memory isn’t as severe as being unable to store them. The storage problem is a serious concern, and you should see a neurologist as soon as possible.

We hope you found this information useful. Be sure to share your thoughts with us on the matter in the comments section below. And if you enjoyed this article, Indulging Health has many more we think you’d like. For instance, check out: 8 Shocking Reasons Why Men Die Earlier Than Women…It’s Not What You Think!

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