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The shape of our brain shapes how we think and remember. When we consider this, we often think about how changes in the brain affect our ability to problem solve and recall memories. However, we don’t often think about the ways what we do affects the structure of our brains. 

In reality, what we do on a day-to-day basis can change our brains and impact how we store and process information.

Proof that daily habits can reshape our brains  

Brains can change themselves over time. This adaptability is called neural plasticity. The pathways between neurons can grow or shift to improve memory or thinking. 

Many different studies show the link between your brain and your daily habits. For instance, cab drivers in London are trained to hold the map of the city in their head. This increases the size of the hippocampus. This effect happens on a smaller scale also. Badminton players show differences in the part of the brain that controls spatial processing and coordination. Musicians, too, have enhanced brain structures that support their advanced motor skills. 

Most notably for those interested in stopping memory loss, olfactory bulbs—the part of the brain that processes smell—tend to be larger for people with professions that rely on scent such as perfumers and sommeliers. But it’s not all about smell. A recent study followed a group of sommeliers in training as they pursued their sommelier certification. The study found significant changes in a cognitive/memory center of their brains.  

How improved smell impacts memory  

Two sommeliers smelling red wine at a table.

Sommeliers have larger brain centers that most of us.

It’s not all that surprising that sommeliers in training have a more refined sense of smell. They are continually training by giving themselves multiple olfactory experiences each day. Every day, they sniff dozens of wines, trying to pick out the berry scent of a merlot or the oaky notes of a shiraz. 

But what might be surprising is the fact that this training actually increases the size of a memory center in the brain. Why is that? It’s because there is a direct connection between the olfactory bulb and the memory centers of the brain. Sommeliers have strong memory centers in their brains because they are consistently engaged in olfactory enrichment. 

Olfactory enrichment requires you to smell a set of scents multiple times every day. Basically, it’s what sommeliers do as part of their job. Other studies show that olfactory enrichment improves your sense of smell as well as your memory. 

The importance of a daily practice

It’s only recently that people have begun to harness the strong link between memory and smell. Some people have started to do olfactory enrichment programs. Each day they spend time breathing in a series of scents. 

What’s unique about sommeliers in training is that they have consistent exposure to different smells built into their daily routine. In short, olfactory enrichment is not optional for them. They don’t have to remind themselves to do it.  

The sommeliers in training offer an important lesson on how to improve memories. Finding a way to build olfactory enrichment into your daily habits may be key to improving your brain’s ability to recall memories and solve problems. 

Introducing the Memory Air Device: Amidst these challenges, we’ve created a groundbreaking solution – the Memory Air device. This innovative device taps into the remarkable connection between smell and memory. By releasing carefully formulated scents during sleep, it triggers specific neural pathways associated with memory enhancement. Learn more at