Q & A Library

Print this page | Sign up for free e-bulletins
 | Bookmark This Page

Forget Something?

I’m too young for “senior moments” (I’m only 32), but I have a terrible memory. Sometimes, I lose my train of thought in the middle of a sentence. What could be causing these memory lapses at my age?

Answer (Published 9/6/2006)

At your age, the cause of memory problems is probably stress or anxiety, either of which can cause senior - or junior - moments. A major life change, such as the loss of a job, relationship, or family member, can certainly do it. Consider whether stress could be responsible. If so, learning to manage stress should help. Try breathing exercises, meditation, relaxation training, or yoga.

Related Weil Products
Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor for Your Whole Body - Foods, herbs and drugs can all interact, sometimes in unexpected ways. Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor takes known interactions into account when developing nutritional supplement recommendations, to help safeguard against adverse effects. Learn more, and get your free, personalized Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor recommendation today.

Another possibility is lack of sleep. You need at least six hours a night for memory to perform optimally. Getting enough sleep has been linked to the consolidation of recently learned information in your memory bank. A study at Harvard Medical School’s Center for Sleep and Cognition found that people who slept before being tested on the recall of a list of word-pairs they had learned did better than those who didn’t get to sleep on the new knowledge. The study was published in the July 11, 2006, issue of Current Biology.

If neither lack of sleep nor stress can be linked to your memory problems, your thyroid could be to blame. You might consider having your thyroid function tested. Problems can occur at any age, and treatment should improve your memory.

Certain drugs can also affect memory. Those most likely to cause problems are sleeping pills, anti-anxiety drugs, painkillers, antihistamines and antidepressants. If this is the problem, your memory should return to normal once you stop taking the medications. Remember recreational drugs and excess alcohol can also affect sleep, mood and your memory.

Here’s something else to consider: your memory may be only as good (or bad) as you expect it to be. A study published in the June, 2006, issue of Social Cognition found that middle-aged men and women (ages 48-62) did worse on memory tests when they believed they were being compared to people in their seventies and performed better when they thought they would be compared to younger adults. The ones who scored worst were those who revealed concern about aging on psychological tests.

Andrew Weil, M.D.

Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved Creative Commons Copyright Notice
A portion of the original material created by Weil Lifestyle on (specifically, all question and answer-type articles in the Dr. Weil Q&A Library) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

The Weil Vitamin Advisor
Get your FREE personalized vitamin recommendation & supplement plan today!

Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging
Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Start eating for your health - begin your free trial now.

Dr. Weil's Spontaneous Happiness
Achieve emotional well-being in just eight weeks! Start your 10-day free trial now!

Vitamin Library
Supplement your knowledge with Dr. Weil's essential vitamin facts. Learn why they are necessary and more.

Dr. Weil's Optimum Health Plan
Your 8-week plan to wellness.
Begin your journey today!

Dr. Weil's Head-to-Toe Wellness Guide
Your guide to natural health.
Use the Wellness Guide today!

Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Food Pyramid

Our interactive tool can help improve overall health through diet.

Condition Care Guide
Learn about health conditions from acne to vertigo, and Dr. Weil's view of the best treatment options for each.

Healthy Recipes
Discover a treasure trove of healthy, healing foods and creative, delicious ways to prepare them.

Q&A Library
Over 2,000 questions from you and their corresponding answers from Dr. Weil.

Copyright © 2015 Weil Lifestyle
Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

Ad Choice
Advertising Notice

This Site and third parties who place advertisements on this Site may collect and use information about your visits to this Site and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like to obtain more information about these advertising practices and to make choices about online behavioral advertising, please click here