Contents
1 What is concentration and why is it so important?
This probably sounds familiar to you... Is attention and concentration the same thing? Distractions triple your error rate
2 What factors influence concentration?
3 Nutrition for better concentration
Omega-3 Caffeine magnesium copper Iron Vitamin C, vitamin E and vitamin B12 folic acid choline Zinc You shouldn't forget breakfast either
4 Further tips for increasing concentration
15 minutes of mental exercise a day improves concentration (tip 2) Video games improve attention (tip 3) Exercise regularly (tip 4) Decorate your surroundings with houseplants (tip 5) Try meditation (tip 6) Music increases alertness (tip 7)
5 Conclusion

Our brain strives for variety and new stimuli. We constantly want to hear, see, feel and learn new things. Thousands of distractions are just a click away. Here are 7 tips on how to increase your concentration.

What is concentration and why is it so important?

I'm sure this sounds familiar...

A singing bird or a vibrating cell phone. It's often the little things that affect your concentration the most. If you can't concentrate, you usually don't notice it straight away. After a while, your own mind or someone around you will point it out to you. "Come on, now concentrate again!" This is usually easier said than done, as seductive stimuli are constantly in your field of vision or can be heard in the background. Sometimes a quick glance out of the window is enough to be labeled a "daydreamer".

Are attention and concentration the same thing?

Attention is a tool that we humans use to consciously perceive our inner and outer sensations. Good attention is a basic requirement for the ability to concentrate. However, attention alone does not help you. When you concentrate, you focus your attention on a specific activity.1

Minimal but frequent stimuli (e.g. a vibrating cell phone, the ringing of a church bell) disrupt concentration considerably. Even if we are only distracted for a short time, the effect of these small interruptions is considerable. These small interruptions lead to a doubling of the error rate! 

Anyone who believes that these minimal stimuli do not disturb concentration is very much mistaken. We do notice these mini interruptions and are briefly distracted. However, the consequences are much more far-reaching: according to researchers, the error rate for the tasks being worked on increased.2 Interruptions that lasted an average of 4.4 seconds tripled the error rate. Interruptions lasting 2.8 seconds doubled the rate of sequence errors.

In other words: in order to perform as error-free and well as possible, a high level of concentration over as long a period as possible is required. Unfortunately, this rarely works, although concentration is an essential factor for the quality of work and therefore for professional success.

What factors influence concentration?

Both attention span and the ability to concentrate depend on many factors. Some people find it harder to switch off distractions. Age and lack of sleep can have a strong influence on concentration, but probably in a different way than you might think: attention span, and therefore the ability to concentrate, increases with age. 40-year-olds are best able to concentrate, after which it drops again.3

Interestingly, older people are more affected by a lack of sleep. While cognitive abilities generally decline with a lack of sleep, the difference is particularly marked in older people.4 This is because, due to age, the foremost area of your brain that controls your cognitive abilities (the prefrontal cortex) shrinks by around 0.5% per year.5 

Mental illness or head injuries, such as a concussion, can also have a negative impact on the ability to concentrate.6 Impaired concentration after a concussion occurs most frequently in children. This is because the prefrontal cortex is the slowest growing and therefore reacts much more sensitively to concussions during the growth phase.7

Your own frustration and stress over poor concentration can further reduce your ability to concentrate.8 Worry, frustration and stress compete for limited resources in our brain. This severely impairs productivity because parts of the brain that are needed to perform certain cognitive tasks are now largely occupied. Frustration and stress should therefore be eliminated quickly. However, there are other ways to increase concentration. 

There is a strong correlation between concentration and general cognitive performance. Good concentration is an important prerequisite for other cognitive abilities, such as reaction rate, memory and working speed. Foods and nutrients that promote a healthy brain, including the prefrontal cortex, influence the ability to concentrate. Even though the different brain regions all perform individual tasks, they need the same nutrients.

The drinking meals of Saturo are designed to provide your body with these essential nutrients to support cognitive performance. They contain a balanced blend of vitamins, minerals and proteins specifically designed to support brain function and concentration.

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Omega-3

The brain only needs a few hundred milligrams of omega-3, but a deficiency can have a negative impact on concentration. For children with ADHD and low omega-3 levels, taking omega-3 is just as effective as the medication prescribed for ADHD.9 Regular intake of EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid, a type of omega-3) ensures that the brain "doesn't have to work as hard" and performs better cognitively10

The German Nutrition Society recommends an intake of 250 mg EPA per day. EPA can be found in fish oil, algae or breast milk. However, your body can also produce EPA itself with the help of ALA (linoleic acid - another type of omega-3). With a tablespoon of chia, linseed or hemp seeds a day, you can ensure that you meet your daily omega-3 requirements. These seeds are also extremely high in fiber.11

Caffeine

Caffeine increases brain entropy. This means that the brain can process more information and the person's attention increases.12 Test subjects who consumed 200 mg of caffeine (about three shots of espresso) showed the best results in concentration tests. People who consumed over 400 mg of caffeine (approx. six shots of espresso) performed worse in the tests than the sober placebo group.13

Magnesium

Magnesium increases our ability to learn and improves our long-term and short-term memory.14 A magnesium deficiency can lead to various neurological and cognitive disorders. 15 You can get particularly high levels of magnesium from linseed, almonds, cashews, peanut butter and pulses (e.g. kidney beans, chickpeas and lentils)

Copper

Copper is very important for cognitive health and copper prevents neurodegenerative diseases (e.g. Alzheimer's and dementia).14 You get most of your copper from dark chocolate, seeds, nuts and green vegetables (broccoli, spinach, cabbage, etc.).

Iron

An iron deficiency can impair neuronal functions. 17 Broccoli, beans, pumpkin seeds and spinach are particularly reliable sources of iron.

Vitamin C, vitamin E and vitamin B12

18 One orange covers your daily requirement of vitamin C.

Vitamin E is generally healthy for the brain and can effectively prevent cognitive decline and neurological conditions such as Alzheimer's.19 Almonds, sunflower seeds, spinach and avocados are particularly high in 20

folic acid

If you consume too little folic acid, this can impair your brain function 21 A slight deficiency can increase the risk of mental impairment22

Choline

Choline is primarily required for the synthesis of DNA. Among other things, this process is extremely important for the function and development of our brain.23 Eggs, fish, nuts, cauliflower and broccoli are particularly rich in choline.

Zinc

A zinc deficiency has already been linked to various neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's or dementia.24 Fortunately, you can find zinc almost everywhere: in dairy products, seeds, nuts, meat, cereals, vegetables and chocolate.

You shouldn't forget breakfast either

Fasting has many benefits, but a hearty breakfast is extremely important, especially for students. A regular breakfast has a positive effect on concentration, memory and academic performance.25

Further tips for increasing concentration

15 minutes of mental exercise per day improves concentration (tip 2)

Brain training for just 15 minutes, five times a week, can significantly improve concentration. In addition to concentration, brain games also improve memory, which is closely linked to concentration. Brain games include, among others: Jigsaw puzzles, Sudoku, memory, chess and crosswords.26

Video games improve attention (tip 3)

Playing video games for an hour improves attention.27 Playing video games leads to several changes in the brain, including increased attention and focus.28

Exercise regularly (tip 4)

Regular exercise is essential for its health benefits. After just four weeks of daily exercise, concentration and alertness increase.29 Just 10 minutes of coordination exercises, such as ball games or gymnastics, significantly improved attention.30

Decorate your surroundings with houseplants (tip 5)

Plants in the environment help to increase concentration and productivity as well as workplace satisfaction and air quality by converting CO2 into oxygen.31

Try meditation (tip 6)

Mind training with a focus on attention increases alertness and focus. Regular meditation improves memory and other cognitive abilities.32

Music increases attention (tip 7)

Experts generally recommend that as many distractions as possible should be avoided, but music seems to be an exception. One study suggests that listening to music while working improves performance.33

Conclusion

There are a variety of activities and healthy habits that you can use to effectively increase your concentration. All of the measures mentioned are not only good for your concentration, but also offer many other health benefits.

If you want to reach your full potential in terms of concentration, you should try the following:

  • Take enough omega-3 daily as well as magnesium, copper, iron, folic acid, choline, zinc and the vitamins B12, C and E
  • Don't drink more than three cups of coffee and have breakfast at the same time every day
  • Do a quarter of an hour (or more) of mental exercise five times a week
  • Play video games from time to time and exercise regularly
  • Decorate your surroundings with several houseplants
  • Increase your concentration through meditation and calming, "easy listening" music

Sbalitelný obsah

Sources

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