Breathing’s role in memory and ageing

Aug 16, 2023

Breathing not only sustains life but also significantly impacts memory. Controlled breathing during memory formation can sharpen cognitive functions, suggesting a potential strategy for enhancing memory performance and contributing to healthier ageing.

July 2023 – Nature Communications


Key takeaways


  • Enhanced memory encoding: Controlled breathing techniques, when applied during the process of learning, have been shown to improve the encoding of memories
  • Healthier brain ageing: Using proper respiration methods while engaging in learning activities may support the maintenance of cognitive functions. This is particularly relevant for ageing individuals seeking to preserve their mental acuity and reduce the risk of cognitive decline
  • Impact on hippocampal function: Breathing patterns are linked to the activity in the hippocampus, a brain region integral to forming new memories. By modulating our breathing, we might be able to influence hippocampal dynamics, thereby enhancing its function for better memory formation


The research points to non-pharmacological, lifestyle-oriented approaches to support memory. Integrating specific breathing exercises into daily life could serve as an accessible and cost-effective method to aid cognitive longevity, offering a proactive measure you can take well before signs of cognitive decline appear.


Read the paper at: Nakamura, N.H., Furue, H., Kobayashi, K. et al. Hippocampal ensemble dynamics and memory performance are modulated by respiration during encoding. Nat Commun 14, 4391 (2023).