I'm kind of in a memory training slump right now, and by slump I mean I'm seeing scores that are a second or a few, slower. For someone who trains their memory everyday and is constantly trying to memorize more in quicker times, that is actually a big difference. What always fascinates me is what I believe to be the reasons for say, a bad day of training. Today is one of those days. My memorization of cards were between 3-5 seconds slower than usual and my memorization of numbers was the same, but with more mistakes. I like to think that certain things enhance the function of the brain. Those things being omega-3 fatty acids, anti-oxidants, exercise, sleep, no stress, sunny days, etc. But sometimes I'm not so sure. I maintain a healthy diet filled with anti-oxidants and omega-3 fatty acids, and I exercise everyday. Obviously, at the level I train at, losing a few seconds here and there isn't that big of a deal - I mean, my memory is still performing incredibly well. It just boggles me when I'm doing everything right and my memory seems a slightly bit off.
Being so in tune with my memory's performance, I am able to notice days where my mind isn't as sharp as it can be. I can tell because my mind doesn't create images as fast as usual and because of that, I tend to be a bit hesitant to carry a fast pace whilst memorizing. It's not that I'm not trying hard to focus and memorize quickly, its just that I physically can't. It's such an odd feeling. A feeling that definitely shows that something I did the day before or a few days before has affected the speed at which my neurons are firing.
What's interesting is that I always tend to see a slight dip in performance on Monday's and Tuesday's. As the week progresses, my high scores come back. Almost as if my activities over the weekend catch up to my brain in the early days of the week. Now some of you maybe thinking that I party too much on the weekends, but in fact I don't. Ever since I started memory training I have cut down on alcohol consumption drastically. 3 months before competition I even cut it out of my diet completely! After having had a few beers on Saturday night though, I wonder if that has a delayed effect on my brain. I wonder if it has to do with airplane travel. Being in a plane with the decrease in air pressure, does it have a lingering effect? I didn't get much sleep Sunday or Monday either (6 hours as opposed to the usual 7 or 8), could that be it? One of these days I need to keep a journal of everything I eat and do on each day and compare it to my memory training scores.
Not really suggesting any solutions to preventing these losses of mental sharpness, just trying to point a few things of interest that I have noticed as a memory athlete. I do strongly believe that blueberries and fish oil pills are the way to go to maintain your overall mental sharpness....that's just a tip from me to you ;)