Quick Tips on How To Increase Brain Power
How to Increase Alertness
Whether you stayed up too late or just feel bored by a project at work, sometimes staying alert is difficult. You can improve overall alertness by taking care of your body, eating and drinking purposefully and keeping your mind sharp.
Taking Care of Your Body
Get enough sleep at night.Good sleep is the single most important factor in increasing alertness. Although the amount each person requires varies, The National Sleep Foundation suggests 8 to 10 hours a night for teenagers and 7 to 9 hours for adults. To get better sleep, create healthy sleep habits for yourself, such as not using a mobile device within an hour of bedtime or reading for a little bit before going to sleep every night.
- If you’re struggling to get an adequate amount of sleep every night, a power nap can help you recharge during the day. Aim for a short nap of 15-20 minutes for the greatest boost to your alertness.
Exercise regularly and avoid prolonged sitting.Exercising consistently releases brain chemicals key for memory, concentration and mental alertness. Aim for 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise, such as jogging or bike riding, five times a week for heightened alertness. Exercise also promotes the generation of new brain cells and can help lower stress.
- Sitting for long periods of time slows circulation, which can zap your energy. If you have to sit for extended periods during the day, try to get up and stretch for a few minutes once an hour to engage your muscles and get your blood flowing. It will jumpstart your mind.
Meditate to release stress.Often stress and mental distractions can fracture your focus. To increase alertness, it can be useful to decrease stress and clear your mind. You don’t need a private yoga studio to engage in meditation. Simply take a moment to close your eyes, breathe out other thoughts and concentrate on the task at hand.
- Lots of people inadvertently hold their breath while concentrating. This can decrease oxygen in the bloodstream, leading to decreased alertness. If you’re having trouble remaining alert, take a few deep breaths to replenish your blood-oxygen level.
Reduce your distractions.Do what you can to eliminate any distractions. Being constantly distracted by things like emails, text messages, and social media notifications can decrease your ability to concentrate and it can also lead to mental fatigue.
Eating and Drinking to Fuel Concentration
Eat vitamins that aid brain function.Vitamins such as B12 and folic acid help your brain function more efficiently and increase mental sharpness. Green leafy vegetables and nuts are great sources of these critical vitamins.
- If you have trouble eating a well-rounded diet, you can take a supplement to ensure you don’t miss out on these important vitamins.
Get your essential fatty acids.Essential fatty acids, such as Omega-3s, reduce brain inflammation, improving mood and memory. Try incorporating more cold-water fish into your diet to give your brain the fuel it needs to be most alert.
Avoid heavy meals.Small, regular meals every 3-4 hours provide stable blood-sugar levels and are apt to keep you most alert. Avoid large or greasy meals that can be more difficult to digest. You’re also less likely to be distracted by hunger if you’re eating regularly.
Drink lots of water.You hear as much all the time, but your body is over 70% water. Your brain alone is more than 85% water.Water helps your vital systems, including your brain, optimize their functions. To increase your alertness, maintain good hydration throughout the day, shooting for at least eight eight-ounce glasses of H2O.
- If you struggle to drink enough water during the day, try carrying your own reusable water bottle.
Minimize caffeine and alcohol in your diet.While caffeine can seemingly enhance short-term alertness, its effects are short-lived, and it is very dehydrating. Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant and can make you sleepy with consistent use. To increase alertness, avoid or minimize your use of these two substances.
Snack on dark chocolate.Dark chocolate has been shown to help boost alertness as well as providing other benefits.Try having a square or two of dark chocolate when you need to boost your alertness.
Engaging Your Mind
Smell essential oils.Sniffing essential oils can stimulate your senses and kickstart cognition. If you’re feeling scattered, reach for some rosemary, sage or peppermint oil to engage your brain and improve alertness. Oils can be potent, so it’s best just to smell them rather than apply them to your skin.
- Applying large amounts of essential oils topically is not advised.
- You can also use a diffuser to disperse essential oil into the air. Simply dilute a few drops of oil with purified water first.
- Using incense can produce a similar effect.
Try crossword puzzles and other fun brainteasers.Challenging games such as crossword puzzles or Sudoku can provide mental stimulation and improve your alertness. There are also many brain-training websites where you can play matching games and other alertness-promoters digitally.
- Many games that promote mental sharpness are now available on your phone and tablet, too, for example, Brain Trainer Special and Brain Fitness Pro.
Play some music.Playing background music can help the world around you melt away and increase your alertness for the task at hand. Try soothing tunes, such as classical or jazz.
- If you’re feeling sleepy, take a time-out and put on your favorite dance tune. Get up out of your chair and jam for a few minutes for a natural energy boost. You’ll come back to your work feeling refreshed and alert.
Take a break.If you have been working on a task for a while, then taking a break from it may help to increase your alertness. Try taking a 10 minute break away from the task, such as by going for a quick walk, getting up and grabbing a snack, or just closing your eyes and allowing your mind to wander for a while.
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