post written by: Marc Chernoff

A Bedtime Memory Building Exercise


Bedtime Memory Building Mind Hack

If knowledge is power and your mind is the container of this knowledge, then the more you improve your mind’s memory capacity, the more knowledge your mind will retain and the more power you will have at your disposal.  At least that’s what I keep telling myself.  ;-)

Anyway, over the last six months I have been practicing a particular bedtime memory building exercise every night before I fall asleep.  And it’s really been working wonders for me.  In this short time, I’ve noticed that I’m now able to remember smaller moments in my days, and instantly recollect details from these moments that I used to completely forget.

In a nutshell, here’s the memory building exercise:

Every night, as you’re lying in bed ready to fall asleep, review what you did during the day from start to finish in as much detail as you can possibly remember.  Start with the exact moment you woke up and got out of bed and finish with the moment that just passed as you laid back down in your bed.  Visualize every single detail in your mind, each and every step you took in sequential order from beginning to end as if you were watching a video recap of your day.

The first few times you do this, you may be surprised with how few details you can remember.  You’ll likely jump quickly through your recollection of the day from one major event or block of time to the next without recalling any of the meticulous details from the smaller moments contained within those larger time blocks.

But after just a few short weeks of practicing this exercise, you’ll notice an obvious improvement in your memory and you’ll gradually get better and better recalling even the minutest details from your day.  Your goal should be to grow your memory to the point where you can visualize the particulars present in every scene of every waking moment over the course of the day – the conversations you had, the people who were present at the time, the song that was playing on the radio, the billboards and people you saw when you were walking or driving home, etc.

And although I usually fall asleep long before I completely recap my day (this is totally normal), after six months of routinely practicing this memory building exercise, I have noticed the following benefits:

  • My memory has improved, especially my ability to recollect the minute details present in various situations over the course of a day, week, month, or longer period of time.
  • I’m living more in the moment.  I’m now more observant and aware of how I’m spending my time when I’m actually doing things throughout the day.  I assume this is because I’m subconsciously trying to remember the events that I will eventually recap later on before bedtime.
  • I’m more keenly focused on the task at hand.  I now absorb myself more in everything I do so I can extract the details and fully recollect the moment.  This has helped me narrow my focus and concentrate when I’m tackling difficult tasks.
  • Outside of recapping my day every night, I have improved my ability visualize other aspects of my life as well.  Future goals, past milestones, to-do’s, tasks at hand, etc.
  • I also seem to fall asleep more easily.  Often in the middle of recapping my day, I peacefully doze off into a deep slumber.  I assume this is because recapping the details of the day is kind of like counting sheep as they jump over the moon.

So give this bedtime memory building exercise a try.  It’s simple, relaxing, mentally stimulating, and seriously thought-provoking.

Photo by: Jah

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27 Comments

  • I’ve also been using this technique for a number of years now and have found very similar benefits when it comes to memory.

    I often also add another element to this exercise.

    Once I go through my day once (as it was), I go back to the beginning and run through it once again, however this time I adjust the things I didn’t like and go to work recreating my ideal day. This includes changing the decisions I made, the actions I took, the things I said, the things I failed to say, etc.

    The whole process is an incredible learning experience, and it gives me another chance to do things over again — to make things right. In fact it helps me discover things about myself and about my own abilities that I didn’t realize before. Moreover, it allows me the opportunity to realize that I always have the power to change and transform my own reality. And it starts by making better choices.

    Such a simple exercise that has a profound effect on the choices and decisions I make the very next day :)

  • This sounds like an awesome thing to do -
    I am so starting this right….. now (It’s 12:40 AM).
    zzzzzzz

  • wow i always have trouble remembering stuff with such detail. i’m gonna give this a try.
    thanks

  • you know Marc,
    that sounds great because at many times i try to remember something that happened to me during the day and i fail, i think that exercise can help

  • Hi Marc,

    This is a very interesting memory exercise and it’s one that I’m going to do tonight. It seems as if they older I get, the more I forget. It can be frustrating to forget what you were going to say next or the correct word for something. I hate these mental lapses!

    Karen

  • Hi Marc,

    Nice exercise, I will try it. Thanks for sharing :)

  • Hey…sounds good…

    Hope it will also help reduce my occasional insomnia…

  • Hi Marc,
    I absolutely love your site. It’s inspirational & fun & informative. If you’re interested, I would like to link your site with mine. My website is a non-profit site dedicated to inspiring & motivating others. It’s 2147Miles.com. Please let me know what you think & again, thank you so much for your site. :)

    Amy Croson

  • I love this exercise Marc; based on your experience it seems like a great way to improve memory while growing more mindful of our everyday habits and routines. I’ll be giving it a try starting tonight.

  • Hi Marc,
    I was getting to the stage where the thing I missed most was my mind. Signs of a busy brain with too little RAM available to remember the finer details.
    The mind is a fascinating tool which the more you use the sharper it becomes.
    Thanks for the memory making, thought provoking post.

  • This is very unique Marc. But would this stress our memory much? :-)

  • Sounds very interesting.. Started trying from last night !! :)

  • I have lots of trouble with memory, short-term in particular. Excited to begin this exercise tonight. Thank you very much!

  • Excellent exercise. Thanks for sharing it. I’l give it a try shortly. I think you might enjoy reading some health & fitness content on the community: http://www.lifespace.com/LifeSpace.aspx?ID=3. Thanks!

  • I am really going to try this. It really makes a lot on sense. And I can see where it would help in living in the moment and enjoying it.
    thank many bunches for the tip in increasing the memory.
    Debbie

  • This sounds like a great idea. I can’t wait for bedtime!

  • Nice one, Marc! It should help me – and hundreds of others, if not thousands – get the mind to be more attentive. Such mental exercise won’t be too difficult for anyone. Presenting it with such simplicity makes it real for everyone who’s read it. I bet those who’ve come across this have tried the exercise, and are experiencing stages of satisfaction about the results. Keep it up, Marc. You truly relate well to your readers!

  • I’m so trying this tonight!

  • That’s a great tip. I just had a quick practice and really struggled to work out if what I was remembering was something I did today or yesterday. Grrrh.

  • Great exercise, I’ve been doing this to calm myself down to sleep and resolve any issues of the day before fsleeping. it helps fall deeper asleep

  • Liked the idea. Going to try it.

  • Ive heard of this, I need to remember to try it. Lol.

  • Constantinos Vilaetis
    November 26th, 2010 at 10:29 am

    Hi, Marc!

    Many thanks for the great topic!

    As Pythagoras would put it :

    “Do not let sleep close your tired eyes until you have three times gone over the events of the day. ‘What did I do wrong? What did I accomplish?
    What did I fail to do that I should have done?’ Starting from the beginning, go through to the end. Then, reproach yourself for the things you did wrong, and take pleasure in the good things you did.”

    * As quoted in Divine Harmony : The Life and Teachings of Pythagoras by John Strohmeier and Peter Westbrook. (1999)

    (http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Pythagoras)

    I have tried this technique personally, with surprisingly good and definitely unexpected results:

    - my rather weak memory got stronger,
    - my ability for recollection of my dreams, after waking up, got stronger, too
    - an inner sense of calmness started to build up day-by-day, which accompanied me through an ever-increasing part of the day
    - my response to strongly stressful situations (an every-day part of my job) got much better.

    Only down side, though: right from the first night it took me half an hour to go though the whole of the day three times.

    Soon the time I needed to complete this nightly examination reached an hour in duration on account of the amount of detail I was able to recall in conjuction with a certain difficulty I faced in keeping my mind from straying during the procedure.

  • I wonder if it will improve my ability to remember people’s names…..

  • I think this is a very straight forward and practically applicable exercise. No doubt any one doing will achieve the benefit. Thanks.

  • I’ve used this technique myself but didn’t know anyone else did! I usually start at the end of the day and work backwards.
    I’ve heard that making someone repeat events backwards makes it more likely to be the unembellished truth and is used with witnesses in Australia, Britain, New Zealand, Norway, Spain and Sweden.

  • Thank you for sharing! I really enjoyed reading the post.

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