Whether it’s studying, working or listening to important details, many aspects of our lives depend on our ability to focus. Every moment of every day our brains sort through a multitude of information which can often make it difficult to focus on one task. To help you stay on point, we have created a list of 4 different ways you can improve your focus and concentration.
1. Improve Your Sleep Schedule
An imbalanced sleep schedule and lack of sleep can be a cause of poor focus. Our brain is able to power down and improve cognitive functions during a sleep phase referred to as “delta sleep”. Falling below 7 hours of sleep will cut into the delta phase, making it much harder to concentrate when you’re awake. Try to reach at least 7-9 hours of sleep every night to improve your focus and concentration. If you’re having difficulty getting the right amount of sleep, you may need to see a sleep specialist to rule out a sleep disorder.
2. Drink Water More Often
Being dehydrated even by a small amount can have a real impact on our ability to concentrate. Our brain is made of about 75% water which means we must drink plenty of water to keep it and other vitals working optimally. When your brain is fully hydrated, you will experience greater focus, quicker thinking, and better clarity. Being thirsty is not a good indicator of how dehydrated you are, so include drinking water into your routine more often.
3. Reduce Stimulant Reliance
Don’t substitute good sleep and proper nutrition for caffeine, especially when the effects of caffeine wear off you will feel much less alert than you were before. Caffeine blocks A1 adenosine receptors in your brain which hold your body’s natural stimulants like dopamine and glutamate from being released through the receptors. The effects you feel after consuming caffeine are actually your body’s natural stimulants being locked up for a short amount of time. Kicking a caffeine habit can be tough but once you do, you will experience better focus and clarity.
4. Take Effective Breaks
Even when we try to take good care of ourselves, we will experience setbacks and feel that our brain is overloaded after a lot of mental work. This is a perfect time to give your mind a break so you can come back to good concentration. When sitting for extended periods of time without exercise, oxygen naturally pools to our lower body and isn’t able to come back to the brain as quickly. A small amount of exercise can help recirculate the oxygen in our body and brain. Take some time for a relaxing walk every now and then to recuperate during a break.