Are you constantly forgetting things? Don’t remember where you parked your car at the mall? Have you drawn a blank when you were punching in your debit card password?

If so, it turns out you’re certainly not alone.

A growing number of baby boomers – as well as Jersey residents in their 30′s and 40′s – are reporting memory problems to their doctors.

Psychologist Dr. Steven Tobias says “memory loss does tend to occur with age – it’s normal – but it shouldn’t be confused with the effects of multi-tasking – that stretches our ability to remember what we’re doing from day to day…there’s really a limit to the amount of information that people can process at one time.”

He says “you need to think of it like the ram in a computer – as computers have gotten more sophisticated and with bigger memory and bigger ram, yeah we can load more programs at once, but the brain is fixed in terms of the amount of ram that it has- and just cause there’s more things out there to do simultaneously, it doesn’t mean that the development of our brains has kept up…and so really then what happens is that just the old computer used to crash when you loaded too many programs, well, you know that’s what happens to our brains- we lose some of the programs -the programs freeze – and they’re really not able to function when we try to do too many things at once.”

Dr. Tobias points out if you’re really focused on something you’re going to learn it a lot better -but if you’re constantly distracted, “if your mind is wandering on other things, then you’re not going to really have the time necessary to process the information-it does take time to process information – you can’t just do it in a fleeting way…you know society and technology especially is based on instantaneous things, and the brain just doesn’t work that way, it doesn’t process information instantaneously – you know we need time to think about it – to make associations to it – to fully understand it and that’s when we’re going to remember it and recall it later.”

He adds “stress makes it harder to focus to attend, and then to remember or to recall things, and sleep is another important issue…because one of the side effects of sleep deprivation is inattention -the more trouble you have paying attention, focusing, obviously the less information you’re taking in, the harder it is to learn and remember things.”