How to improve concentration

by Sven

I was wondering about the supplement Synaptol. I am no where near ADD and so on. I have been researching about this question on the net, but i can't find a proper answer.

I have concentration problems, have not always had them (depression lazyness etc has forced me into this and i cant get back on track). I study medicine at a local institute and am wondering if this could help me concentrate more on my studies? On exams? Presentations? late study nights?

What is your opinion? Do you know if it could somehow be harmful for someone like me who doesn't really have "concentration problems"?

I really appreciate all the effort you have put in to this site. It is really amazing (loving the free brain games! =)).

Doug's Reply: I have not used Synaptol. My review of Synaptol is primarily based on what other people have said.

Honestly, I am a bit skeptical. I think Synaptol may be like many other "herbal" remedies that have a noticeable effect but are not going to change your life unless you actually have ADD. If you have extra money laying around, try it. Otherwise not.

The two things that help me the most when I need to concentrate are:

1) Aerobic exercise, such as 20 minutes on a stationary bike or 5 minutes jumping rope

2) Lumosity brain games - I mention Lumosity on my site; some of the free brain games on my site can give you nearly the same result (e.g., Grid16)

I also recommend avoiding heavy carbohydrate foods like pasta. Salads, fish and other lean protein, fruits & vegetables, and lots of water will help your concentration more than any pill.

Eat several small meals throughout the day instead of three big meals to keep your metabolism even.

I would add some fish oil to your diet; either by eating more salmon or taking the capsules or liquid fish oil like Carlson's brand.

Stay away from carbonated sodas like Coca-Cola. Even the diet versions (Diet Coke, etc.) can hurt your concentration.

Drink only water, tea, coffee. I drink a lot of green tea. Do not drink fruit juice (too sugary), sports drinks or anything like that. No candy bars, cookies, or other sweets that cause your blood sugar to spike - because your energy level will crash a little while later.

Of course, sufficient restful sleep is a must. I know that's hard when you are busy.

But make sure your room is dark and quiet. Do not watch TV before bed; instead, listen to quiet music or read a book. Clear your mind and concentrate on your breathing as you fall asleep.

Something you may not have tried is mindfulness meditation. Especially read the Time Magazine article linked on that page. Meditation is a powerful brain enhancer that most Westerners are simply not using.

Finally, if I am having trouble concentrating in the middle of the day, I find that a shot or two of espresso works wonders.

Best regards,

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Apr 14, 2010
the meditation works great for sleep
by: Sven

Thank you for taking your time, your letter did make me a little more wiser. I agree on every point of your letter, and I am going to try to take in some of your advice to my daily life.

Some feedback!
I tried the clear-your-mind-and-concentrate-on-your-breathing sleeping tip
and wow...

I never knew sleeping could feel so relaxing and easing. Its a whole new quality of sleep hehe, just to not fall asleep in the middle of the thoughts or in the middle of anything.

In the beginning I had to tell myself and my thoughts quite a lot of times to just "shut it". Now I can control my thoughts and focus them to not think of anything but emptyness when I'm going to bed and I really look forward to every nights sleep. You really need to empty your brain sometimes, and have some time for yourself.

Think I'm going to bed now for some relaxing sleep meditation ;p.

Thank you for your words.

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