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How to Drink Caffeine With Strategy to Boost Your Productivity

How to Drink Caffeine With Strategy to Boost Your Productivity

We have a love-hate relationship with caffeine. We all know consuming too much will lead to a crash, and a headache, but we also know it can be a great energy booster in a pinch. Even if you only have a small serving of caffeine, your body will metabolize it out of your system within 8-14 hours, leading you to feel sluggish and sometimes even sick.[1]

    But what if I told you strategically consuming caffeine rather than drinking it habitually could provide an energy reservoir, so to speak, that you could tap into any time you liked?

    Drink caffeine strategically

    Chris Bailey, the author of The Productivity Project, was also sick of the caffeine hangover, but didn’t want to abandon the stuff. So he decided to try something: he consumed caffeine before doing any number of important things. For instance, he would have caffeine before giving a presentation, writing an important article, or just checking off something big on his to-do list. Regardless of what the task was, he made sure it was one that was important and required plenty of focus and brain energy.

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    The aim of the experiment was simple: how can you make the most of that caffeinated high before the crash comes? Utilize the period before the caffeine crash.

      Caffeine prevents your brain from absorbing a chemical called adenosine. This chemical triggers the flags in your brain that let you know you’re tired. While caffeine blocks your brain from absorbing the chemical, it continues to build up until caffeine eventually lets your brain absorb it. So at that point, you’re going to suddenly feel as though you’ve been hit by a train and all you want to do is sleep.

      But if you drink coffee, or any caffeinated beverage strategically, you can make better use of that time when your brain isn’t receiving those signals. In fact, you could even rest intermittently before that crash hits.

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      What you can’t drink

      Before you start stocking up on sugary caffeine drinks or whip out your Starbucks mobile app to grab a caffeinated frappuccino, let’s get some ground rules out of the way. You can’t have sugary or alcoholic caffeinated drinks. These types of beverages come with their own kind of crash, so layering them on is only going to make that hit of adenosine come on harder and faster, ultimately leaving you feeling even worse.

      Instead, opt for green tea or matcha. These naturally caffeinated teas are full of antioxidants which can help slow and regulate the caffeine crash.

      When to caffeinate

      At this point, you might be brewing a cup of coffee already, but be careful not to use caffeine as a band-aid. The goal is to take advantage of the window of productivity, not to continue to consume it until you’ve gotten through your day and need to sleep. Along those same lines, it’s important to avoid caffeine as much as possible if you’re about to work on something creative; it’s been shown to hurt right-brain-related tasks.

      If it works for your daily schedule, consume caffeine between 9:30 and 11:30 a.m. This is when caffeine will have the greatest impact on your energy, because it’s usually the time of day when you naturally start to feel a little sluggish. And always remember, avoid caffeine less than 8 hours before you go to bed so it doesn’t affect your sleep.

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      Pro Tip: Because you know a caffeine crash will typically have you falling asleep about 8-12 hours after you drink it, plan to have a big cup of coffee twelve hours before an overnight flight. You’ll sleep like a baby.

      Who can caffeinate

      Obviously if you want to drink coffee or caffeinated tea, we aren’t trying to stop you. But it is helpful to note that it does affect certain people differently.

      Caffeine has been shown to make introverts perform poorer on tasks that are quantitative and done under time pressure because introverts are more stimulated by their environment; that extra bit of stimulation provided by caffeine can push an introvert over the edge.[2]

      Interestingly enough, it’s been found to have the exact opposite effect for extroverts. If you’re a very outgoing and social person, caffeine before a big task could be perfect for you.

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      For ambiverts, or those who fall somewhere in the middle, strategically consuming caffeine will be your best bet.

      What works best for you?

      Some of the strategy involves experimenting. You may find your 6am cup of java gets you to 10am only, but that’s when you typically have some kind of protein to get you through. Others may discover they should drink coffee later – perhaps 9:30am when their cortisol is naturally lower – and it changes their whole day. Regardless of what you discover works best for you, the goal is to time your crash.

      Personally, I like to go to bed around 10:30p.m. I like to make sure to have my caffeine 12 hours earlier so I can hop into bed and fall asleep. Once you figure out what schedule works best for you, you’ll be amazed at the difference a cup can make.

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      Samantha Aloysius

      Samantha is an everyday health expert with a background in International Public Health and Psychology and has experience in diabetes care counselling.

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      Last Updated on August 12, 2019

      12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

      12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

      Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

      But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

      I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

      Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory and brain power:

      1. Nuts

      The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

      Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

      Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

      Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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      2. Blueberries

      Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

      When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

      3. Tomatoes

      Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

      4. Broccoli

      While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

      Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

      Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

      5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

      Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

      The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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      Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

      6. Soy

      Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

      Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

      Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

      7. Dark Chocolate

      When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

      Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate: 15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

      8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

      Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

      B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

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      Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

      Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

      To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

      9. Foods Rich in Zinc

      Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

      Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

      Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

      10. Gingko Biloba

      This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

      It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

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      However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

      11. Green and Black Tea

      Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

      Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

      Find out more about green tea here: 11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

      12. Sage and Rosemary

      Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

      Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

      When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

      More About Boosting Brain Power

      Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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