As you grow older, you tend to forget things.

Memory loss not only can bring inconvenience to your daily life, but also a sign of brain diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

A good lifestyle can help you keep memory sharp. This includes a healthy diet, regular exercise, good sleep and active social activities. These things also promote your physical health and wellbeing.

Here are five things you can do every day to protect your memory:

Reduce Your Stress

Daily stress like heavy work duty and arguments with closed ones can distract you and affect your ability to focus and recall.

But the bigger problem from stress is an ongoing sense of extreme anxiety, which can lead to memory impairment.

There are several things you can try to reduce your stress: 15-20 minutes of meditation every day, a walk after lunch or dinner, soft music during work or a favorite book before sleep.

Remember that a “mindful” approach to living can help you concentrate and hence protect your memory.

Sleep Well at Night

A good night’s sleep is the key for high work productivity during the day. If you don’t sleep well at night, you will be more forgetful than people who sleep soundly.

This good night’s sleep is essential for consolidating memories.

Several things can lead to poor sleep. One is insomnia, in which people cannot fall asleep or stay asleep.

You may choose medicines to cure the disease, but the medicines may also hurt memory and general brain function.

To avoid the problem, you can try set a good sleep routine. Dim the light in the house at night, take a bath before go to bed, and read several pages before sleep.

Don’t use your electronic devices before you sleep. And don’t binge watch TV. These things can make it hard to fall asleep.

Quit Smoking If You Can

Many people try to quit smoking, but it is easier said than done.

Recent studies show that people who smoke more than two packs of cigarettes a day at midlife have more than double the risk of developing dementia in old age compared with nonsmokers.

However, those who stop smoking by midlife and those who smoke less than half a pack a day have a similar a risk of dementia as people who have never smoked.

There are many ways to quit smoking, and the most important thing is your strong will. You should remind yourself the big health benefits of quitting smoking, and having a sharp memory is one of them.

Control your alcohol drinking

Drinking too much alcohol can hurt your brain. It may increase the risk for memory loss and dementia.

People with alcoholism cannot perform short-term memory tasks well. For example, they cannot remember lists.

Another memory loss linked to alcohol drinking is called Korsakoff’s syndrome.

In this condition, long-term vitamin B1 deficiency combined with the toxic effects of alcohol on the brain can trigger sudden and dramatic amnesia.

Sometimes this memory loss is permanent, but if detected early, it can be reversed to some degree.

Protect yourself from traumatic brain injury

Recent research shows that head trauma is a major cause of memory loss and increases the risk of developing dementia.

To protect yourself from this, always use the appropriate gear during high-speed activities and contact sports.

In addition, you should wear seat belts whenever you’re riding in a motor vehicle. Car accidents are by far the most common cause of brain injury and wearing seat belts can great reduces the chances of severe head injury.

Wear a helmet when you ride a bike, ride on a motorcycle, do in-line skating and ski.

This article was originally published on iHealth Living.