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5 Ways To Improve Your Focus and Alertness During the Day

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5 ways to improve your focus

Are there days when you feel lost or don’t exactly know what to do? If your answer is yes, how often do you feel it?

It’s normal to have maybe one or two idle days in a week or a month. But if this feeling has been chronic to the point that it takes a week or a month to recover, you have a problem. Especially when you’ve reached the point where you’re constantly weaving through the day, dragging yourself to Friday with a bottomless coffee pot to energize yourself. In that case, it’s time to evaluate yourself.

Assess yourself if this fatigue has been on and on for weeks. Or if other symptoms like anxiety or depression have already accompanied it to the point that it’s so severe. If you can’t fully function, start with a visit to your doctor or do some self-help if still possible. You don’t need to accept exhaustion as usual. You can make changes that will increase your energy level and help you to stop feeling tired all of the time. 

Here are the 5 ways to improve your focus that might help.

You have to prioritize your sleep.

One way to improve your focus is to prioritize your sleep. Sleep is as vital to your health as proper eating and exercise. It’s essential to make room for it just as you would make time for other activities. Another often overlooked energy-zapper is the snooze button. How many times have you been guilty of pushing the snooze button? I know it’s so tempting to grab those extra ten minutes of shut-eye, but it’s not enough time to achieve rejuvenating sleep. You’re better off getting up immediately when the alarm rings.

prioritize sleep is one of the ways to improve your focus

It’s not good to oversleep. Writer Hilary Parker and Dr. Carol DerSarkissian of WebMD reported that oversleeping has its physical side effects too. Sleeping more than eight hours each night is associated with an increased risk for diabetes, headaches, and obesity. Maintaining regular bedtime schedules, even on the weekends, will help your energy levels throughout the day and decrease the chances of getting health problems.

Limit Caffeine and Alcohol Intake

Caffeine can impact your sleep by keeping you awake longer and it is not the best way to improve your focus, shortening your sleep, and influencing your alertness the next day. And caffeine is found not only in coffee. It is a stimulant found in several other foods like tea, soda, energy drinks, or chocolate. Do your best to watch your caffeine consumption. The FDA recommends no more than 400 milligrams or about four or five cups of coffee per day.

lessen your caffeine improve your focus

And since caffeine’s half-life can range from as little as two hours to as long as 12 hours, try to avoid consuming drinks with caffeine within six hours of bedtime. Alcohol can also interfere with good sleep. It disrupts the duration of your sleep and your ability to fall and stay asleep. 

Drinking alcohol six hours before bedtime can boost wakefulness during the second half of sleep. Too much alcohol can also lead to a hangover and a rough, sleepy start to your day. What would help is if you also drink plenty of water. It’s recommended to drink at least eight glasses of water per day to keep you hydrated and refreshed. 

Fuel Yourself With Protein

Suppose your usual breakfast is sugary treats such as muffins, doughnuts, cereals, or worse, nothing at all. In that case, you’re likely to feel the effects a few hours after you start your day. Supplying your body with a heavy dose of carbohydrates leads to a spike in blood sugar and it is not ideal to improve your focus, followed by an unexpected impact that can make you feel desperate for a nap.

Make time for cooking healthy meals for breakfast. It may be scrambled eggs, peanut butter on a whole-wheat toast, yogurt, fruits, or as simple as a protein-enriched bar or smoothie. You can also include protein in every meal or grab snacks that balance protein and carbs, as protein wards off severe blood sugar fluxes that make you more alert. 

Exercise Regularly

It may seem counterintuitive, but fatigue can be your body’s way of reaching out to you for more activity. Exercise boosts your metabolism, enhances your mood, and helps you sleep better at night. You don’t need to spend hours at the gym or even do the recommended 30 minutes at one time.

Taking a brisk 20-minute walk around the block in the morning or a quick 10-minute stair workout in the afternoon is good enough. It’s essential to get your body moving for at least ten minutes daily. 

Find a Good Music that Helps

Music helps you concentrate by blocking out distracting noise. It acts as a stimulus that engages the brain, modifying your mood and providing a rhythm that keeps you alert. Music makes the task more engaging, less dull, and easier to concentrate on.

According to a 2007 Stanford University School of Medicine study, classical music helps your brain in absorbing and interpreting information more easily.

Your brain processes the abundance of information it receives from the world around you by separating it into smaller segments. The researchers assert that music can engage your brain to train us to pay better attention to events and make predictions about what might happen. 

You can also beat the feeling of tiredness every afternoon if you follow these steps:

  1. Peri, C. (2013). “12 Tips to Avoid Daytime Sleepiness”. WebMD. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/features/daytime-sleepiness-tips
  2. Shaw, G. (2007). “Afternoon Energy Boosters”. WebMD. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/balance/features/afternoon-energy-boosters
  3. Youngstedt, SD. “Effects of exercise on sleep:. Clin Sports Med. 2005 Apr;24(2):355-65, xi. doi: 10.1016/j.csm.2004.12.003. PMID: 15892929.
  4. Sridharan, et. al (2007). “Neural Dynamics of Event Segmentation in Music: Converging Evidence for Dissociable Ventral and Dorsal Networks”. Science Direct. 55 (3). pp. 521-532. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuron.2007.07.003

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