During the workday, we want to keep our minds as sharp as possible. Mentally, we obviously want to be at our best. It’s not always easy to do. We might be sharp when we first get to work in the morning after a good night’s rest, but after a while, that tends to wear off. After lunch is when fatigue seems to be the worst, and getting work done the hardest.
But neuroscience researchers have found that there are things you can do to keep your mind sharp during the day. But the researchers caution that we also need to realize that we are not machines, that the mind cannot sustain peak performance indefinitely. In fact, researchers say, we can get to peak performance mentally for only about two hours a day.
Here are few tips to perk up your mental alertness.
1. Eat more but smaller meals.
You should also avoid eating a lot of carbohydrates. They will give you a surge in blood sugar levels, but then it dissipates quickly, leaving you feeling sluggish and fatigued.
2. Drink lots of water.
Being dehydrated affects your mood and your cognitive abilities. If it has been more than two hours since you took a drink, you should get some water.
3. Get a little fat in your diet
Fat helps to maintain blood sugar at a more constant level, giving you fuel on a more consistent basis. It also prolongs the effect of caffeine, so putting a little cream in your coffee could really help you with that pick-me-up.
But, researchers say, if you are feeling more sluggish than usual, drinking more coffee won’t help. It won’t improve your mental alertness, just make you more jittery.
4. Get rid of noise.
It turns out that noise can really affect your mental focus. Any kind of noise can have a detrimental effect, but talking is the worst thing for concentration. So, if you have important work to do, you want silence. Close the door, or move somewhere you can be alone.
5. Clean up your desk.
There are several reasons for doing this. First, looking at a messy desk does have an effect on your mood and mental state. Studies have shown that people with neat desks are more productive than those with messy desks.
Also, all of the things on a messy desk conjure up reminders of things that you need to do. This pulls your mind away from the task at hand that you need to focus on.
6. Doze for 10 minutes.
You will wake up feeling more refreshed and energetic. Even if you don’t fall asleep, closing your eyes for 10 minutes will help.
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