‘Concentration’ can be defined as the amount of mental energy that we are able to give to a task in the present moment. Maintaining great concentration levels are one of the keys to productivity and to getting ahead at work. But many of us are suffering from a lack of concentration. Why? There are a number of possible explanations, and in this article we will touch on some of the most common. We will also offer solutions to help you boost your brain health, improve your concentration, enhance your focus and productivity, and ultimately to enable you to reach your full potential.
A lack of concentration can be the result of a bad night’s sleep (or, indeed, sustained sleep deprivation), poor nutritional choices, supplementing incorrectly or not getting enough exercise. Anxiety and poor mental health can also impact your ability to concentrate. If you find yourself unable to concentrate, it can lead to frustration and irritability which inevitably feed back into exacerbated focus and concentration problems. It can be a self-fulfilling prophecy.
If you find it difficult to focus for long periods of time, brain supplements might be a good option for you. For many, smart drugs and nootropics are one of the best ways to give your brain a boost without the risk of side-effects or dependency.
Some of the most common causes of waning concentration and focus are:
- Not enough sleep or poor sleep quality
- Stress, anxiety and depression
- Nutrient poor and carbs rich diet
- Timing of meals and snacking
Below each cause you’ll find suggested solutions to help you redirect your mental energy and get your concentration levels back on track.
1. Not getting enough sleep affects concentration levels.
Sleep is vital for all aspects of brain health. This includes - but is in no way limited to - attention, concentration, productivity and performance. If you miss out on even one night of good quality sleep, your concentration levels could dwindle the next day, leaving you feeling at a loss and frustrated with yourself for not being able to remain present.
One study found that inferior sleep can negatively impact your brain in a way not dissimilar to alcohol. We all know what it feels like to try working on a hangover (challenging, to say the least), and sleeping for fewer than seven to nine hours per night - or experiencing reduced quality of sleep - can have a similar effect.
If sleep is something you struggle with, you should aim to upgrade your bedtime routine right away. You would also be advised to focus on eating sleep-promoting foods in the evening, and can further support your sleep cycle by taking the right supplements.
LYMA contains sleep-promoting adaptogen KSM-66® Ashwagandha. The natural root extract is derived from raw and natural sources and is backed by clinical evidence to support that it promotes healthy sleep. Research has shown that 600mg per day, as is present in the LYMA formula, is helpful for boosting sleep quality, as well as reducing sleep onset in those suffering from insomnia.
Enhanced sleep quality has also been linked to reduced anxiety levels, which could further improve your baseline concentration level.
2. How does anxiety impact brain health and how to treat it?
Anxiety can manifest differently from one person to the next, but common symptoms include restlessness, feeling on-edge, worrying incessantly, irrational irritability, insomnia and trouble concentrating.
The causes and symptoms of anxiety are complex and often intertwined, and there is frequently a symbiotic relationship between the two. Anxiety can be caused by stress in relationships or at work, by genetics, by brain chemistry or other physiological or hormonal imbalances or as a side-effect of certain medications.
affron® is the latest addition to LYMA’s patented formula. The revolutionary, unique and highly concentrated standardised saffron extract has been clinically proven to reduce anxiety in otherwise healthy adults. Peer-reviewed evidence supports affron® as being effective in alleviating low mood and enhancing resilience to stress and anxiety. affron® contains a number of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant plant compounds that can protect your mind and body from the detrimental impact of stress and anxiety, and is most effective when taken at a daily dose equivalent to that found in LYMA. Furthemore, people who took affron® alongside prescription antidepressants saw a marked reduction in side effects associated with the latter.
KSM-66® Ashwagandha also supports lowered anxiety by inhibiting the production of stress hormone cortisol. A clinical dose of 600mg - the same amount that you’ll find in LYMA - has been associated with a reduction in cortisol levels by up to 35% in just six weeks.
3. Your diet could affect your brain chemistry.
Some foods have negative effects on the brain, impacting your ability to concentrate for long periods of time. Timing of meals is also important and unstable blood sugar can upset your brain chemistry, negatively affecting memory and mood and increasing your risk of dementia.
Sugar and sugary drinks, excessive caffeine, refined carbohydrates, processed foods, artificial sweeteners, fried food and alcohol are some of the worst foods for promoting concentration and should be avoided in order to promote improved brain health and greater focus and productivity.
There are however some foods that directly benefit the areas of the brain responsible for concentration. These include fatty fish, moderate amounts of caffeine, berries (particularly antioxidant-rich blueberries), leafy green vegetables, broccoli, pumpkin seeds (these nutritional powerhouses are rammed full of magnesium, zinc, copper and iron, all which are important for optimal brain health), dark chocolate, nuts, citrus fruits and green tea. There is scientific evidence to support eating all of the above foods for improved memory, concentration and focus.
Furthermore, constantly snacking on sugary snacks throughout the day can upset your blood sugar, in turn affecting your ability to concentrate. Try to eat three balanced meals and two small snacks that are high in protein and healthy fats and lower in carbohydrates if you want to keep your blood sugar in check. For some people, intermittent fasting might be a useful tool to help stabilise blood sugar, mood and concentration levels.
4. What supplements help with focus and concentration?
Smart drugs - or nootropics - are a class of natural substances designed to enhance the brain health in healthy adults. Nootropics are increasingly being used by people looking for a safe way to boost their brain power, enhance their productivity, and upgrade their memory, attention span and concentration.
LYMA contains Cognizin®: the world’s top quality nootropic. To sustain your focus and concentration, your brain requires an adequate ongoing supply of energy and healthy communication between neurons. Cognizin® is a patented and extremely powerful form of citicoline, a brain-health boosting smart drug that works to improve brain oxygen levels and neural communication. Not only does Cognizin® support healthy brain metabolism, but it also protects your neural structures against free radical damage and provides phospholipids essential to healthy brain function. It is estimated that 90% of adults don’t consume sufficient citicoline, making supplementation essential.
Cognizin® has been extensively trialled and peer-reviewed studies have confirmed that daily supplementation with the nootropic can result in significantly improved concentration, as well as heightened memory, improved mood, increased attention span, and decreased reaction speed in healthy adults when taken every day. Cognizin® is formulated at a clinically-backed dose of 250mg in LYMA.
Being unable to concentrate can seriously hold you back from fulfilling your potential and getting the most from life. If an inability to concentrate is impacting your daily life, it’s time to take action. Making some small, manageable changes to your routine and lifestyle can help. Supplementing with LYMA, prioritising sleep, eating a balanced diet rich rich in whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and taking measures to combat anxiety are all great places to start.
Originally published Oct 27, 2020.