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How to Develop Better Reading Habits

How to Develop Better Reading Habits

In a world where people often turn to video games, the Internet, and television for entertainment, developing good reading habits has grown even more important. A recent study found that reading fiction improves brain function, while another study shows that it can help in the brain development of children. If you are trying to get your kids more excited about books or even if you just want to read more often yourself, making literacy a regular part of your life can lead to an increase in reading enthusiasm for all ages.

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    Make a Date to Read

    Set up a schedule for reading and stick to it. Scheduling a time to read is crucial for creating positive reading habits, especially for children. The Alliance After School reports show that reading as little as 10 minutes a day can increase the literacy skills of children. Regardless of age, however, establishing a literary routine can help you learn to expect and be prepared by knowing what you are reading and plan ahead for your next book. To reinforce the habit, make sure you read at a specific time each day. For example, you could try cracking open a book after dinner every night or read during your lunch break. As long as you are able to to open your books at least once a day, you can choose whatever time of day you like.

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    Join a Reading Program

    Often practiced during the summer holidays, library reading programs encourage children to pursue coherent literacy habits, log their reading time, and receive rewards for their efforts. Children who participate in these programs from the age of 4 often continue to read for pleasure in adulthood. For adults, joining a book club can create a similar responsibility by offering an informal interactive book under discussion. Joining a book club will not only help to create a literary community, but can also help you practice critical thinking related to reading.

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    Try to Read the Type of Book You Like

    If you really want to develop the habit of reading, the first thing to do is to find books that you would find pleasure in reading. So I suggest you start trying out different types of books. Don’t go blindly by internet suggestions or just stick to critically acclaimed books initially. Many critically acclaimed books are for heavy readers and require a lot of  discipline and patience to complete. To acquire that kind of discipline, go for easy-reading, mass market novels first and then explore the horizon in other genres. Once you get over those kind of books, you can graduate to more complex ones thereafter.

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    Limit TV Time

    You or your children pulling away from the TV, smart phones, video games, and computers can remove a major obstacle and help you or your children to find time to read. Try taking away technology privileges until required reading time has been completed for the day. While the reward for reading will feel like television or the other form of technology you withheld until the reading was completed, over time you will learn to enjoy reading as well. The benefits of reading and the books will become the reward. If you want your children to read more, a positive example is by reading for pleasure yourself and keeping books around the house to remind you to read every day. Also, try to explain to your children why it is important to read for a brighter future, thereby making the future world better.

    Talking Books

    Talking and writing about what you read can help you with books and creative ideas. This is especially true for children who are still new to reading comprehensions. If your children are beginner readers, try to engage them in conversations about what books they are reading and help them reflect on the stories to generate excitement about their reading time. To help you deal with your thoughts about the books you read for yourself, try writing reviews for online bookstores, or join a social network like Goodreads, which allows users to share what books they read and discuss their reactions with others.

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    Last Updated on July 11, 2019

    10 Best Brain Power Supplements That Will Supercharge Your Mind

    10 Best Brain Power Supplements That Will Supercharge Your Mind

    If you have watched movies like Limitless[1] (both the movie and television series) and Lucy,[2] then you have likely come across smart drugs or nootropics. In the movie Limitless, you are introduced to NZT-48 (known as MDT-48 in the book The Dark Fields), which grants heightened intellectual abilities allowing one to pattern-match at lighting speed.

    In the movie Lucy, you are introduced to the drug CPH4, which is actually based on a molecule that a pregnant woman produces after six weeks of pregnancy. The director of Lucy, Luc Besson, remarked,[3]

    “But it’s totally real, and it’s true that the power of this product for a baby is the power of an atomic bomb. It’s real. It’s totally real. So its not a drug in fact, it’s a natural molecule that pregnant women produce.”

    NZT-48 is fictional and CPH4 is a fictional drug based on a real substance. So, are there any real life smart drugs or brain boosters similar to either fictional drug? The answer is no. But powerful cognitive enhancing drugs do exist. And they are Nootropics.

    Nootropics

    Nootropics was coined by Romanian psychologist Corneliu E. Giurgea in 1972. The etymology of the word is nous or mind and trepein or to bend.[4] According to Smart Drug Smarts, nootropics is an umbrella term for a class of chemicals, some naturally-occurring and some man-made, that give cognitive benefits to the human brain. To be a nootropic, Giurgea found that the substance must meet five specific criteria:[5]

    1. Enhance memory and ability to learn.
    2. Help the brain function under disruptive conditions.
    3. Protect the brain from chemical and physical assaults.
    4. Increase the efficacy of neuronal firing control mechanisms.
    5. Possess few or no side effects and be virtually non-toxic.

    Let’s now examine the 10 best brain power supplements that will supercharge your mind and 4 bonus tips (in no particular order – meaning #1 is not better than #2 nor #10). Very few of the brain boosters listed can be purchased in a local brick and mortar store.

    For most, you will have to place an order online. However, be extremely cautious and diligently research each prior to ordering.

    For a more detailed breakdown of each brain booster in the form of a wiki, I recommend visiting the website BrainTropic[6]. I will provide a summary for each smart drug below. Summaries will be from BrainTropic unless otherwise stated. In addition, visit my website (you can find the link in my bio) as I regularly write and provide advice on nootropics.

    *Some of the supplements listed require a prescription and could be harmful. Consult with your doctor before consumption.

    1. Qualia Mind

    Qualia Mind is an extremely powerful smart drug created by Neurohacker packed with a variety of nootropics. It is a multi-nootropic leading to potential neurochemical and physiological enhancements.

    Qualia Mind is specifically designed to lift brain fog, amplify willpower, upgrade energy, heighten creativity, and promote mental clarity. No prescription is required.

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    Side effects: headaches, sleep disturbance, muscle tightness, and upset stomach.

    Summary
    • Type: Multi-Nootropic (crucial ingredients include: Acetyl-L-Carnitine, DL-Phenylalanine, N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine, Taurine, L-Theanine, Alpha GPC, Citicoline, Anhydrous Caffeine, Huperzine A, and more)
    • Good for: Energy, Focus, Learning, Memory, Motivation, and Physical Performance
    • Typical Dose: 7 capsules per day (maximum of 12)
    • Half-life: 4-6 hours

    You can learn more about Qualia Mind in Neurohacker.

    2. Modafinil

    Modafinil is a stimulant to treat narcolepsy and has been shown to enhance our cognitive functions. Sold under the names Vigil, Nuvigil or Provigil, has became one of the most popular cognitive enhancing drugs on the market.

    Bio-hacker and founder of Bulletproof Coffee, Dave Asprey, is just one of many advocating the drug. Some think Modafinil inspired the movie Limitless. For more on this discussion, read I Spent a Week on Nuvigil, the Drug From ‘Limitless’ and Modafinil: My Experience with the Real Life Limitless Pill by Joen Rude Falsner. Falsner remarked about Modafinil, it’s “Sort of like a real life pop-up blocker…”

    In the US, Modafinil is classified as Schedule IV Controlled Substance and a prescription is required for it. Potential side effects: headache, dizziness, nausea, diarrhea, nervousness, and trouble sleeping.

    Bonus Tip: Top Modafinil researchers have found that Modafinil combined with coffee can create a powerful combination.[7]

    Summary
    • Type: Stimulant
    • Good for: Energy, Focus, Learning, Memory, Motivation, and Physical Performance
    • Typical Dose: 50-200mg
    • Half-life: 15 hours

    3. Adrafinil

    Adrafinil is a stimulant that can increase energy and prevent fatigue. It is metabolized and converted into Modafinil. In fact, the effects are similar to Modafinil; however, it is not as strong. No prescription is required for Adrafinil in the US, Canada, or the UK.

    Potential side effects: headache, dizziness, nausea, diarrhea, nervousness, and trouble sleeping.

    Summary
    • Type: Stimulant
    • Good for: Energy, Focus, Learning, Memory, Motivation, and Physical Performance
    • Typical Dose: 150-600mg
    • Half-life: 1 hour

    4. Noopept

    According to braintropic.com, Noopept is a powerful synthetic nootropic with cognitive enhancement and neuroprotective properties. It was developed in Russia in the mid-1990s and is used as a prescription treatment for cognitive impairments. Researchers found that, in animal studies, Noopept has been shown to stimulate the expression of two chemicals: Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF).[8]

    Potential side effects: headaches, restlessness, dizziness, and irritability.

    Summary
    • Type: Peptide
    • Good for: Anxiety, Energy, Focus, Learning and Memory
    • Typical Dose: 10-20 mg
    • Half-life: 30-60 minutes

    5. Adderall

    Adderall is a stimulant used to treat those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Adderall primarily increases the release to two specific neurotransmitters involved with ADHD: dopamine and norepinephrine.

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    For an interesting read on what Adderall does to the brain – to include a good discussion of the benefits and side effects of the drug – read What adderall does to your brain by Daniela Hernandez. Similar to Modafinil, some think the movie Limitless was inspired by Adderall.

    For more on this discussion, read Limitless: The Brain-Doping Movie We All Know Was Inspired by Adderall and The Drug From Limitless Is Available for Purchase on Your College Campus.

    Adderall is considered a Schedule II Controlled Substance and a prescription is required for it. This means anyone caught in possession of it without a prescription could face criminal charges. Potential side effects: irregular heartbeat, paranoia, headaches, restlessness, dizziness, lack of appetite, high risk of dependency, and irritability.

    Summary[9]
    • Type: Stimulant
    • Good for: Energy, Focus, Learning, Memory, Motivation, and Physical Performance
    • Typical Dose: 5-40 mg (Adderall XR is 5-60 mg)
    • Half-life: 4-6 hours (Adderall XR is 6-8 hours)

    6. Oxiracetam

    Oxiracetam was developed in the 1970s and is a synthetic derivative of the original nootropic – Piracetam. However, according to braintropic.com, Oxiracetam is more potent than Piracetam. Oxiracetam has been studied for treatment with those suffering from Alzheimer’s or memory.[10] No prescription is required for Oxiracetam.

    Potential side effects: no serious side effects – the most commonly reported side effect is headache.

    Summary
    • Type: Ampakine and Racetam
    • Good for: Energy, Focus, Learning and Memory
    • Typical Dose: 400-2400 mg
    • Half-life: 8 hours

    7. Bulletproof Coffee

    Dave Asprey (also an advocate for Modafinil) is the creator of Bulletproof Coffee. Asprey contends that Bulletproof Coffee is clean and tested for toxins.

    However, when you first read about Bulletproof Coffee, you hear about the combination of Butter – Oil – Coffee. That can’t be a good combination, right?

    Wrong. It is.

    Bulletproof Coffee has been found to help with weight loss, boost cognitive functioning, maintain mental clarity, and decrease brain fog. For more on Bulletproof Coffee, read What It’s Like To Drink Bulletproof Coffee Every Morning For Two Weeks by Chris Gayomali. Potential side effects: restlessness, anxiety, insomnia, and rapid heart rate.

    Summary[11]
    • Type: Stimulant
    • Good for: Mental Clarity, Decrease Brain Fog, and Weight Loss
    • Typical Dose: Varies by type of coffee (e.g. Coffee Pods or Brew)
    • Half-life: Varies

    8. Cellucor C4 Ultimate

    Cellucor C4 Ultimate is a powerful pre workout supplement. It provides an instant cognitive boost so that you can not only get the most out of your exercise training sessions, but also maximize your ability to learn (even during exercise).

    C4 Ultimate should be consumed 20-30 minutes prior to training. No prescription is required for C4 Ultimate.

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    Potential side effects: insomnia, diarrhea, dehydration, headaches, high blood pressure, and tingly or prickly sensations. To counter these side effects, read Pre-Workout Supplements: 6 Side Effects and How To Avoid Them by Matt Weik.

    Summary[12]
    • Type: Pre Workout (crucial ingredients include: Vitamin C, Vitamins B6 and B12, Niacin, Citrulline Malate, Caffeine Anhydrous, Taurine, Beta-Alanine, Creatine Nitrate, and N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine)
    • Good for: Energy, Pumps, Endurance, and Physical Performance
    • Typical Dose: 1 scoop with water
    • Half-life: Varies

    You can get Cellucor C4 Ultimate at Cellucor.

    9. Piracetam

    Piracetam is the first synthetic smart drug developed and is the compound that inspired the term nootropic. It was invented by the same individual who coined the term nootropic – Dr. Giurgea.

    According to Brain Tropic, Piracetam works by improving blood flow in the brain, boosts the production of crucial brain chemicals, and increases synaptic plasticity.[13] It requires a prescription in the UK and Australia and cannot be legally marketed in the US as a dietary supplement.

    Potential side effects: no serious side effects – the most commonly reported side effect is headache.

    Summary
    • Type: Ampakine and Racetam
    • Good for: Learning and Memory
    • Typical Dose: 1600-4800 mg
    • Half-life: 4-5 hours

    10. Qualia Focus

    Qualia Focus is another product offered by Neurohacker. It too is a multi-nootropic with powerful cognitive enhancements. While it is not as strong as Qualia Mind, it still upgrades your energy, heightens creativity, and promotes mental clarity at a lower cost than Qualia Mind. No prescription is required.

    Side effects: headaches, sleep disturbance, muscle tightness, and upset stomach.

    Summary
    • Type: Multi-Nootropic (crucial ingredients include: Acetyl-L-Carnitine, DL-Phenylalanine, N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine, Taurine, L-Theanine, Alpha GPC, Citicoline, Coffeeberry Energy, Ginko Biloba Leaf Extract, Huperzine A, and more)
    • Good for: Focus and Concentration, Memory, and Energy
    • Typical Dose: 5 capsules per day (maximum of 9)
    • Half-life: 4-6 hours

    You can learn more about Qualia Focus in Neurohacker.

    While the brain boosters listed above are not the smart drugs in Limitless or Lucy, they still provide you phenomenal results. To find out which of the 10 are the best for you, I suggest you do the following:

    1. Research each one diligently
    2. Test them out for yourself
    3. Try the following Bonus Tips along with your brain booster. In doing so, you will discover a pop-up blocker for your brain!

    Bonus Tips

    1. Take antacids to increase potency

    To increase the potency of a brain booster, ingest alkaline substances like antacids such as Tums or Alka-Seltzer. Read A Brief Guide to Non-medical Psychostimulant Use for more information.

    You should consult with your doctor as there could be serious side effects.

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    2. Take on an empty stomach

    You should take your brain booster on an empty stomach as this will further potentiate both the duration and effect of the drug. The exceptions are Qualia Mind and Focus. I recommend taking both with food as this will cause an upset stomach.

    However, you should consult with your doctor prior to taking any of the brain boosters listed and to identify the proper way to take each.

    3. Adderall alarm clock

    There is an interesting definition in the crowd-sourced online dictionary Urban Dictionary:[14]

    The Adderall Alarm Clock is defined as setting an alarm for an hour before you have to get up; upon waking, roll over and take your prescription stimulant of choice and go back to sleep. In about an hour, you wake up naturally with a smile on your face and a spring in your step.

    This actually works. Choose one of your brain boosters and try this out.

    However, you should consult with your doctor prior to attempting this as there could be serious side effects.

    4. Exercise sparks neurogenesis

    Exercise alone will provide similar benefits and could be substituted for any of the brain boosters listed. Exercise plus brain boosters provide even more cognitive enhancing benefits.

    One of the most powerful benefits exercise provides is that it sparks the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) which brings about neurogenesis. Neurogenesis is the process by which new neurons are formed in the brain.[15]

    Dr. John Ratey discusses both neurogenesis and BDNF at length in his book Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain. Ratey dubbed BDNF the master molecule and refers to it as “Miracle-Gro for the brain”. Linda Gabriel writes about BDNF in BDNF – Miracle-Gro for the Brain, “BDNF binds to receptors in the synapses between neurons, increasing voltage (yes your brain is electric!), and improving signal strength.”

    Featured photo credit: Josh Riemer via unsplash.com

    Reference

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