Optimizing Cognitive Performance (Research-Backed Guide)

Optimize your cognitive performance with our research-backed guide, in which we looked at the definition of cognitive performance, the benefits of cognitive performance, and the methods for optimizing cognitive performance long-term.

Is it possible to improve cognitive performance?

Cognitive performance plays an important role in our everyday lives. It is not just how well our brains function and execute mentally demanding tasks, but how we think and feel on a daily basis.

By learning how to optimize cognitive performance, we can improve our lives in more than a few ways!

In our guide, we researched the various methods for optimizing cognitive performance, including the individual cognitive functions of the brain that govern how efficient, productive, and happy we are.

It is possible to improve cognitive performance. Discover the ways to optimize cognitive performance - naturally and effectively - with the methods we have listed below.

What is Cognitive Performance?

Optimizing Cognitive Performance (Research-Backed Guide)

First off, what is cognitive performance, exactly?

Cognitive performance can be defined as how efficiently we are performing mentally.

This can be evaluated whenever we have to put our minds to a mental task - such as studying for a long period - or even on a daily basis, taking into account our productivity and general mental wellbeing.

To give examples, good cognitive performance can equate to high levels of motivation, increased focus, and a productive work output. Poor cognitive performance would be the opposite: an inability to concentrate, with reduced motivation and low productivity.

Put another way, cognition is defined as the brain’s power to process and make sense of information, solve problems, manage thoughts and emotions, remember information quickly, and so on.

Cognitive performance would, therefore, determine how well, or how proficiently, your brain is executing these functions at any given moment.

What are Cognitive Skills?

Cognitive skills, also called cognitive functions, are the various mental processes that the brain has to juggle. Put together, the efficiency and capabilities of our cognitive skills are what determine overall cognitive performance.

These processes can range from processing sensory information to our ability to concentrate for long periods, remember information, and manage emotions.

Cognitive skills include:

  • The ability to absorb and understand information quickly
  • The ability to retain and retrieve information (memory retention)
  • The ability to remain focused for long periods
  • The ability to self-manage thoughts and emotions, such as stress
  • The ability to solve problems and think quickly (quick thinking)Creative capacity
  • Capacity for logic, reasoning, and empathy

While cognitive skills can contribute to one’s IQ, IQ is not necessarily a representation of one’s cognitive performance.

Benefits and Importance

What is the importance of cognitive performance?

As cognitive performance determines our ability to learn, solve problems, retain information, and concentrate, the importance of cognitive performance is that it contributes to our general productivity, chances of success, and happiness on the whole.

Optimizing cognitive performance would be to make sure that our mental faculties are operating at peak performance as much as possible. This, as a result, increases our chances of being productive, successful, and happy.

Specific benefits of this can therefore include reduced stress, higher energy levels, increased motivation, greater sense of contentment, a more optimistic outlook on life, and boosted confidence.

Through optimized cognitive performance, you might pass an exam with flying colors, ace a job interview, or receive a promotion from your job due to prolonged hard work.

What Improves Cognitive Performance?

It is possible to improve cognitive performance through various ways. Ultimately, this comes down to improving general health, brain training, and supporting the various cognitive functions through healthy eating and supplementation.

To do this, take a look at the various methods for optimizing cognitive performance, which we have listed below.

The Cognitive Benefits of Sleep

sleeping woman in bed

It might come as no surprise that our brains need sleep to function optimally.

The cognitive benefits of sleep go beyond providing us with mental energy to last the day. By getting at least eight hours of sleep each night, research tells us that we can significantly improve cognitive ability in the long term.

This includes memory retention, concentration, quick-thinking, and increased levels of motivation.

It is important to maintain a regular sleep schedule to achieve optimal cognitive performance. To do this, make sure to wind down before bedtime, and continue to sleep and wake up at the same time even on weekends.

Does Food Affect Cognition?

Optimizing Cognitive Performance (Research-Backed Guide) 1

Food fuels the brain and its cognitive functions, which makes it all the more important to watch what we eat if we want to support cognition, and general brain health, on the whole.

Numerous studies show that what we eat plays an important part in how our brains operate - and this includes both the ability to concentrate and overall mood.

If you have ever felt sluggish, or struggled to concentrate, after eating a takeaway, there is scientific reasoning behind it!

To support brain health, we need to maintain a well-balanced diet that provides the nutrition our brains need to operate. At the same time, it is best to avoid junk food, high-sugar snacks, processed food, refined carbohydrates, saturated fats, and so on.

Does Hydration Improve Cognition Function?

couple drinking water

To put it another way: does dehydration reduce cognition function?

Studies show that it does. Unanimous results over the years conclude that dehydration can significantly harm our ability to concentrate. In severe cases, dehydration can cause headaches, nausea, and hallucinations.

Even a mere headache can ruin all ability to concentrate, which means it is important to stay hydrated constantly to optimize cognitive performance.

This does not mean drinking anything, however. For best brain performance, it is recommended to avoid sodas, energy drinks, and high-sugar juices, and opt for plain old water.

If you struggle to remember to drink water, set an alarm for drink breaks, or create a visual reminder to place on your wall. As a general rule, aim to drink at least three to four liters of water per day.

The Benefits of Exercise

Optimizing Cognitive Performance (Research-Backed Guide) 2

Does exercise benefit cognitive performance?

Exercise does not just benefit us physically.

In fact, research shows that exercise is one of the best ways to improve general health and mental wellbeing overall, including the ability to concentrate, retain memories, solve problems, and be creative.

The science behind exercise and its cognitive benefits is that it increases both blood circulation and oxygen. Both of these processes help the brain to function properly, and can even reduce stress levels and prevent brain fog - the inability to think or focus.

Not only that, but exercise has been proven to boost serotonin and dopamine - two of the most important neurotransmitters - which can contribute to improved confidence, heightened motivation, and even feelings of euphoria.

The phrase “runner’s high” is not just a phrase!

How Does Stress Affect Your Cognition?

When you are stressed, anxious, or worried, do you find it harder to concentrate and focus?

Psychology experts are unanimous in the negative effects that stress can pose to cognitive ability.

Stress does not just distract the mind, negatively affecting productivity and cognitive performance, but can harm overall brain health long-term - especially if the cause of stress is prolonged.

Stress can cause chemical imbalances in the brain, accelerate aging, and, if unaddressed, lead to insomnia and depression.

To achieve and maintain optimized cognitive performance, it is vital to learn to manage stress. We can do this through exercise, meditation, and identifying (and avoiding) personal stress triggers.

Taking Mental Breaks

Taking mental breaks is another method proven to improve cognitive performance.

In fact, studying or working for long periods can work against us. This can lead to brain fog, or mental fatigue, both detrimental to our ability to remain focused and productive.

A mental break serves as a rest for the brain, which, just like our muscles after an intense workout, allows them to refresh, recover, and return stronger than before.

Experts recommend short breaks after every thirty minutes. Mental breaks do not have to be long, and can simply involve standing up and stretching, going for a walk, eating a snack, hydrating, or engaging in a casual conversation with a friend or colleague.

If you tend to get lost in work or concentration, set an alarm at regular intervals to ensure that you take mental breaks throughout the day to enhance cognitive performance.

Cognitive Enhancers

Cognitive enhancers - are they real and do they work?

Cognitive enhancers, sometimes referred to as wonder drugs, have become increasingly popular for their power to enhance cognitive performance.

These are also called smart drugs, or nootropics, now used by a wide audience (manual workers, office workers, and even students) as a quick way to boost energy levels, increase concentration, and improve general mood.

But do nootropics really work?

If we break down what nootropics are, they are essentially “super” drugs that combine various natural ingredients or supplements that have been proven (through clinical trials) to support cognitive functions, including the body’s hormones and neurotransmitters.

This, as a result, can influence several processes and functions of the brain, including one’s overall mood via natural chemical releases, such as the production and release of dopamine and serotonin.

Users of nootropics and smart drugs claim to experience heightened levels of concentration for longer periods, increased awareness (and decreased sleepiness), improved memory, and general feelings of increased motivation, optimism, contentment, and confidence.

Mind Lab Pro

Mind Lab Pro, developed by Opti Nutra, is one of few nootropics that has been approved by the FDA. As a cognitive enhancer that contains several brain-boosting supplements, all of which are natural, it has become one of the most popular smart drugs on the market.

The ingredients in Mind Lab Pro exclusively include lion’s mane mushroom, citicoline, l-tyrosine, bacopa monnieri, phosphatidylserine, l-theanine, maritime pine bark extract, rhodiola rosea, and vitamins B6, B9, and B12.

The product itself is vegan, gluten-free, and without any added preservatives or additives. It is also GMP certified.

Why do we mention this?

If you are interested in trying nootropic smart drugs to improve cognitive performance, Mind Lab Pro has been clinically proven to be safe and effective, with little to no side effects. As mentioned, it is one of few smart drugs that is FDA-approved.

In addition to improving cognitive functions, Mind Lab Pro claims to optimize brain chemistry, brain energy, brain regeneration, brain circulation, brain protection, and brain waves.

It is available to purchase online from Opti Nutra website.

Conclusion

Cognitive performance affects our day-to-day lives in numerous ways. It contributes to general productivity, concentration, and memory retention, as well as our overall mood. This includes how content, confident, motivated, optimistic, and happy we are.

It is possible to optimize cognitive through various natural methods, such as getting enough sleep, good nutrition, hydration, exercise, managing stress (and other distractions), and supplementation.

In addition, nootropics, also known as cognitive enhancers, have become increasingly popular as one of the fastest, and most effective, ways to improve cognitive performance, proven through numerous clinical studies.

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