Mirror | November 17th 2020 at 09:45:33 GMT +0300 This guide will help you concentrate all day (Photo: Shutterstock) A step-by-step guide on how to banish brain fog throughout the day starting from the moment you wake up until you go to bed.
7am – Chill in the shower
Start the day by letting your mind roam in the shower, advises mindset coach Ruth Kudzi (ruthcudzi.com).
“When we relax we can access the area of our brain that does our ‘slower order’ thinking which means we are more creative and can problem-solve better. This is why we often get our best ideas in the shower.”
Finish off with a blast of cold water . This improves alertness and focus throughout the day. New research says swimming in cold water could guard the brain against degenerative diseases like dementia.
It seems the shock of cold water increases levels of a protective protein in the blood, so give your head a cool blast under the spray.
7:30am – Don’t skip breakfast READ MORE
Eat the right foods in the morning (Photo: Shutterstock) Growing research suggests eating the right foods – especially in the morning – can help to increase the number of neural connections in the brain.
So scramble a few eggs to have with your toast. Harvard University scientists found people who ate only carbohydrates in the morning were less mentally alert and scored 50 per cent lower on mental tasks than those who also ate protein.
7:45am – Switch off autopilot
This could be as simple as washing up your breakfast dishes while concentrating on the bubbles or watering your plants and noticing the texture of the leaves. Science has proven that being more mindful improves concentration, memory and focus.
8:30am – Go for a walk Try to get some morning exercise (Photo: Shutterstock) Whether you’re getting children to school, working from home or using public transport, try to get some morning exercise. It changes the brain in ways that protect memory and thinking skills.
A University of British Columbia study found regular aerobic exercise, that gets your heart pumping, appears to boost the size of the hippocampus, the brain area involved in verbal memory and learning.
In an ideal world, you’d go somewhere new when you go out. Neuroscientist Dr Lynda Shaw explains: “A normal routine drains our brains. It’s important we change things about.”
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10am – Pop a colourful plant in your work space
Studies suggest that having a plant or flowers in your eyeline can increase productivity, innovative thinking and help to create a more positive environment to be in.
10.30am – Test your hearing
According to a recent report in The Lancet, hearing loss is the biggest modifiable risk factor of dementia. It reduces cognitive brain function, and increases social isolation and depression.
11am – Enjoy a cuppa and a puzzle Cryptic clue solving makes you think both logically and creatively (Photo: Shutterstock) Caffeine is classed as a nootropic – a substance that can improve functions such as memory, creativity or motivation.
Research has also shown drinking caffeinated coffee is associated with a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease, while Chinese researchers found drinking green tea regularly could improve your memory and delay the onset of Alzheimer’s thanks to a key antioxidant called EGCG (epigallocatechin-3 gallate).
While you drink, try some cryptic clue solving, which makes you think both logically and creatively, according to experts. Word games, playing cards and board games all count.
In fact, completing a daily Sudoku could delay brain ageing by eight to 10 years, suggests a recent British study of nearly 20,000 people.
Noon – Go Mediterranean for lunch
Research has found a traditional Mediterranean diet – high in colourful, seasonal whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables and salads – may help improve our brain power.
Knock up a simple Greek salad (feta, olives, cucumber, lettuce and red onion) and add tinned tuna and/or cooked pasta. Cooked tomato, a good source of lycopene, helps protect against free radical damage to brain cells.Consider an omega-3 supplement, particularly if you’re not a fan of oily fish. A new study published in the British Journal of Nutrition suggests taking omega-3 fatty acid fish oil containing 1000mg of DHA produces similar improvements in brain function to exercise in older women – notably verbal memory and executive function (the way your brain manages the information it receives). 1pm – Chat to someone in your lunch break Having a social life slows cognitive decline (Photo: Shutterstock) People who live socially engaged lives, whether that’s in person or by phone, experience slower cognitive decline and are less likely to get Alzheimer’s.If that’s not on, recite the alphabet backward. Simply recalling information by rote, like your ABC or times tables, doesn’t challenge your brain – but mixing it up, such as narrating it backwards, targets new areas, say experts. 2pm – Drink a big glass of water Mild dehydration can impair cognitive performance, particularly when completing tasks involving attention, executive function and motor coordination. Keep a reusable bottle with you and refill it regularly. 3pm – Sneak in a siesta A NASA study found pilots had 54 per cent improvement in alertness after a 26-minute nap. Just make sure you set an alarm to avoid feeling groggy. 3.30pm – Bake a cake Do something different in your free time (Photo: Shutterstock) “Challenge and novelty cause your brain to release noradrenaline, which helps form new brain connections and promotes your brain’s plasticity,” says Sabina.She suggests doing something different in your free time – listen to a new genre of music, cook or bake a complicated recipe, walk a new route without a map and stay curious about the world around you.If you’ve no time for that, treat yourself to a few squares of chocolate. The flavonols in dark chocolate (minimum 70 per cent cacao) can improve blood vessel function, which in turn improves cognitive function and memory.If you’re trying to be healthy, snack on iron-rich dried apricots […]