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09 February, 2009

How To-96: "How to Improve Mental Clarity"

How to Improve Mental Clarity

from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit

Your mind is a powerful tool. However, with aging, lack of sleep, and busy schedules, many minds are not performing at their best. These easy steps will help you maximize your mental clarity in many situations.


  1. Get To Sleep. Mental alertness begins with attaining good quality and quantity of sleep. The National Sleep Foundation recommends 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night for optimal health and performance, but most people fall short of this due to a hectic schedule or an inability to fall asleep. Sleep is very important for your brain because this is the time when memories and information are actually processed and organized in your brain.
  2. Remember That Exercise Is Important For Your Brain. Regular physical exercise is not just essential for your body, it’s essential for your brain as well. When you exercise, your body increases circulation of blood, and consequently oxygen and glucose (the sugar your brain uses as a fuel) to the brain. To increase mental clarity, try light aerobic exercise during the day, such as brisk walking, swimming, or casual cycling.
  3. Try Brain-ercise. As physical exercise strengthens your body, exercising your mind strengthens your brain. Activities such as Sudoku, puzzles, drawing, and math quizzes all stimulate your brain, helping you create and maintain important neuronal connections critical to cognitive abilities. One simple exercise you can practice very simply is to write with the opposite of your dominant hand. It may be difficult initially, but with a little practice and some neuronal connections, you will get the hang of it.
  4. Maintain Healthy Blood Sugar Levels. Just like gasoline fuels a car, blood sugar fuels your brain. The human body has incredible abilities to regulate blood sugar, but even these complex physiological functions have their limitations. You can help your body maintain healthy blood glucose levels by consuming well-balanced, low-sugar, and portion-controlled meals every four to five hours throughout the day. Additionally, consuming small carbohydrate snacks between meals, such as sliced fruits and vegetables, will help fuel your brain.
  5. Provide Your Brain the Right Nutrients. When it comes to your brain, not all food is created equal. Your brain requires special nutrition to perform optimally. Because your brain is mostly composed of fat, it is important to include healthy fats, such as polyunsaturated and omega-3 fats in your diet. Avoid saturated, trans, and hydrogenated fats that may actually have a negative impact on your mental clarity. There are micronutrients present in small amounts in the diet that can positively affect mental clarity and cognitive abilities. Many vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin C, vitamin E, the B vitamins, magnesium, and zinc, are essential for humans. These vitamins and minerals play an integral role in brain and nervous system functions, energy production, immune system function, organ health, and cell protection. Certain amino acids function as or are converted to important neurotransmitters, which may be present in less-than-optimal concentrations in the body due to conditions of stress, fatigue, sleep deprivation, exhaustion, or sub-optimal diet, such as taurine and tyrosine. Plant and herbal extracts, such as bacopa monniera, rhodiola rosea, ginkgo biloba and huperzia serrata, can help to stimulate the nervous system, making you feel more alert while helping to optimize neurotransmitter levels and protecting against neurodegenerative processes.

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