I have a brain injury. When I’m tired or stressed it seems like my memory suffers. Will this get better with time?
The brain can’t store information in its memory efficiently when it’s tired or stressed. So when you’re too tired to focus your attention, your memory is likely to suffer as well. As your brain heals, you may have more energy and be able to pay attention for longer amounts of time. This, in turn, will help your memory. But, you can also use other strategies to help you remember. Here are some ideas:
- Reduce stress and stay well rested. Take breaks when you need them.
- Know your limits. When you feel you can’t absorb any more information, take a break or have someone else write it down for you.
- Consider using a cell phone or PDA (personal digital assistant) to send yourself reminders, remember directions, or keep appointments.
- Work with a professional (such as a speech-language pathologist) to learn to organize information so it’s easier to remember.
- Carry a calendar or notebook to keep important information in one place.
Janet Brown, MA, CCC-SLP spent twenty years in practice at the Veterans Administration Medical Center and at the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Washington, DC. She is the former director of Health Care Services at the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.