How to Improve Your Mental Acuity
If you feel mentally slow and sluggish, have problems remembering things, and have trouble coming to reasonable decisions, then you might have issues with your mental acuity. For anyone who doesn't know what mental acuity is, no worries, because this will all be explained further below.
In essence, your mental acuity determines how easily you can get through each day.
Unfortunately, many factors can negatively impact your mental acuity and cognitive ability. That said, there are also many good ways to improve your mental acuity, which is exactly what we're here to discuss today.
Let's get to it and help you improve your brain power.
- Mental acuity is how well your brain is able to function in a variety of circumstances.
- Several factors, with sleep being one of them, can impact your mental acuity.
- There are several different ways to improve mental acuity, including sleeping right, eating better, reducing stress, and taking the right supplements.
What Does Acuity Mean in Mental Health?
In mental health, the term acuity is sometimes also referred to as sharpness. Mental acuity is the summary of all of your different cognitive functions, which come together to determine just how well your brain can perform in a variety of circumstances.
For instance, when cognitive scientists examine mental acuity, they usually pay attention to several main vectors.
These include long-term and short-term memory, working memory, divided attention, selective attention, information processing, decision-making, and problem-solving.
Whether a task is complex or simple, you need to have a high level of mental acuity in order to complete it as required.
In summary, mental acuity is how well your brain functions when it is tasked with some kind of problem or requirement, whether that be remembering a piece of information from a year ago or solving a puzzle.
Factors That Affect Mental Acuity
Many different factors affect your overall mental acuity. Let’s take a look at the most common ones:
Stress appears to be a big contributing factor to a lack of mental acuity. Extreme high levels of stress are shown to increase cognitive impairment and lower mental acuity.
According to research, when a person experiences stress, it releases a hormone known as cortisol, which is proven to hinder brain function and overall performance, particularly when it accumulates in the brain for prolonged periods of time.
What is interesting to note is that acute stress, which means that you've been exposed to a single stressful event, may inhibit overall cognitive and poor performance and mental acuity over the short run.
However, research is now also showing that chronic stress, which means that you're always exposed to stressful events, can also affect your mental acuity over the long run and may even increase your risk of rapid cognitive decline and mental illness.
A lack of sleep is one of the biggest contributing factors to impaired cognitive acuity. In fact, sleep is one of the most important factors of all when it comes to your physical and mental health. Research proves that both the quality and duration of your sleep significantly impact your mental acuity.
Research also shows that getting a good night's sleep, which means at least seven hours per night, can dramatically reduce the rate of depression while simultaneously increasing the variety of mental functions such as memory, attention, and information processing.
The unfortunate reality, however, is that the vast majority of people just don't get enough sleep, particularly in the USA, with many people reporting that they sleep less than six hours per night. Most people just aren't getting enough sleep to maximize their mental acuity.
Many pieces of research suggest that mental acuity and overall cognitive function tend to decrease as we age. Selective and divided attention, information processing, and working memory all seem to consistently decrease with age.
Although age itself may very well be a contributing factor here, it is also hypothesized that other factors, such as exercise, diet, and general lifestyle choices, combined with old age, affect just how much your mental acuity decreases as you age.
There are some pieces of evidence that show that older people are generally more likely to have a variety of nutritional deficiencies and may also be more sedentary than younger people, both of which may lead to increased chances of greater cognitive impairments in old age.
Seeing as your brain needs a variety of minerals and vitamins to function properly, you can rightfully assume that nutrition also plays a role in cognitive function and mental acuity. For example, many of the B vitamins play extremely important roles in cognitive and brain health, as well as omega-3 fatty acids.
How to Improve Mental Acuity
Here are nine ways you can improve your mental acuity:
Eat Nutritious Food
It's no secret that diet and nutrition are huge issues, particularly in the Western world. The simple reality is that most of us don't eat foods that provide us with the nutrition we need to be healthy, let alone for fantastic mental acuity.
Most foods we eat are full of processed ingredients, simple and refined carbohydrates, sugars, tons of fat, and so much more, none of which do us any favors.
Although these things might taste good, they don't help our mental acuity, or on any other fronts for that matter. Your brain needs a variety of vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, and other substances to function at full capacity.
There are plenty of pieces of research out there that suggest that vitamins, such as vitamins E, D, C, B, A, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids all play a critical role in the function of the brain. If your brain isn't getting all these nutrients, you can expect it to function well below its optimal capacity.
Simultaneously, you want to give up simple carbohydrates and sugars, at least may both have negative impacts on your cognitive function and overall health, which is also true for saturated fats.
Interesting to note is that the Mediterranean diet, which consists of many whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean meats, poultry, and eggs, together contain all the amino acids, fats, minerals, and vitamins that your brain needs to function properly.
In fact, adhering to the Mediterranean diet is often associated with drastic improvements in cognitive function and mental health.
Practice Good Sleep Hygiene
If the research above shows that getting less than 7 hours of sleep per night often results in a decline in cognitive function and mental acuity, then the obvious solution here is to get a good night's sleep.
For most people, getting between 7 and 9 hours of sleep is recommended to help maximize the recovery of various bodily functions during sleep, as well as to maintain maximum possible mental acuity.
If you're suffering from issues such as sleep procrastination, where you refuse to go to sleep even though you know that you need to wake up at a certain time the next day, you might want to consider taking certain measures to help you get a better night's sleep.
Eating better, exercising, going to bed early, and getting rid of stressful factors in your life can all contribute to getting a better night’s sleep.
As discussed above, stress is also one of the biggest contributing factors to reduced mental acuity and cognitive function. The simple reality is that cortisol is one heck of a hormone, and it can cause absolute havoc in our brains.
Luckily for you, there are some good ways to manage and decrease your stress levels, although exactly how you do so depends on you.
For instance, some people find that exercising reduces stress the best, likely due to the release of various feel-good hormones, such as dopamine and serotonin. There are also other ways to help decrease stress, such as sleeping more, doing relaxing things that you enjoy, and simply removing stressful factors in your life.
Stress is also linked to various other health issues, such as weight gain and cardiovascular issues. It's more than just about your mental health because your physical health may depend greatly on your stress levels.
Red Light Therapy
One of the most modern and interesting ways to increase your mental acuity and cognitive health is by utilizing what is known as red light therapy. Red light therapy is designed to stimulate your hypothalamus, which can help you feel relaxed and calmer.
For those of you who don't know, the hypothalamus is a part of your brain that is responsible for controlling the circadian rhythm, which in turn controls when and how well you sleep.
Red light therapy may also help to improve blood flow to the cerebral area of your brain, which can help to ensure the faster healing of neurons, which should help improve overall brain function.
It may also be the case that red light therapy could help to decrease a variety of neurodegenerative disorders and cognitive decline related to old age.
Something else that may help increase your mental acuity is socializing with others. This may be because mixing with other people causes your brain to work harder than it otherwise would.
You have to remember certain events, faces, and names when you talk to people, and you have to come to decisions and solve problems when you're communicating with people, and much more.
Socializing with other people causes your brain to work, and whenever you work your brain, you help to maintain it. This is no different than working out your physical muscles. The more you work your muscles, the more you maintain their health, which is also true of your brain.
Furthermore, for many people, socializing may also release a variety of feel-good hormones and chemicals in the brain, with serotonin and dopamine being two. These feel-good chemicals may help you feel less stressed and happier and even help you get a better night's sleep.
Being hydrated is yet another very important factor in terms of your cognitive abilities and mental acuity. Did you know that more than 60% of the human body is water, with over 73% of your brain and heart being composed of water?
As you can tell, if you are severely hydrated, your brain can't function as well as it otherwise would. Depending on the person in question, it is recommended that you drink anywhere between 9 and 13 cups of water every day.
The next way to help improve your overall mental acuity is to exercise. It is proven that exercise has great mental and physical health benefits for people of all ages. Here is a meta-analysis of 79 different studies, which all concluded that cognitive performance benefited greatly from bouts of intense exercise.
Here's another interesting study that demonstrated that people showed a 20% improvement in the ability to complete cognitive tasks following just one session of steady-state aerobic exercise.
Yet another piece of research shows that adhering to an exercise routine regularly can help drastically improve executive control, mainly inhibitory control and working memory.
When you exercise, more blood flows to your brain, therefore delivering more nutrients. Exercise also helps release various hormones and chemicals, with serotonin and dopamine at the forefront.
Simultaneously, exercise also has the ability to reduce cortisol and stress levels. Thanks to all of these factors, exercising might just be the number one best way to increase your mental acuity.
Reduce Alcohol and Sugary Beverages
If you expect your brain to perform at maximum capacity, you should cut out all sugary and alcoholic beverages. In one way or another, they usually interfere with the healthy function of our brains.
Alcohol directly impairs our brains and often results in prolonged impairment even after the initial effects have worn off. Increased levels of sugar in our body, mainly from sugary drinks, may also result in decreased cognitive function.
If all else fails, you could always try some brain-boosting supplements. There are plenty of nootropics, which are special kinds of substances shown to enhance cognitive abilities and mental acuity.
There are many nootropics, as well as adaptogenic substances, that may be able to help improve your processing, memory, recall, problem-solving, and more.
A variety of mushrooms, such as reishi, lion’s mane, and chaga, as well as ashwagandha extract, bacopa monnieri, and ginkgo biloba, along with L-tyrosine and alpha GPC, may all have beneficial impacts on the function of your brain.
Best Supplements for Mental Acuity
As we were just talking about the best supplements to improve your mental acuity, it would be a shame not to mention TUNE IN. This is a fantastic nootropic and adaptogenic supplement made with various brain-boosting ingredients like lion’s mane and reishi.
It also contains alpha GPC, ashwagandha extract, and a variety of B vitamins. Each of these substances has the ability to provide you with increased levels of energy throughout the day, focus, concentration, and overall improved mental acuity and cognitive health.
This comes in the form of a simple powder that you just have to mix in with your water, and there are two delicious fruit-flavored options to choose from.
The bottom line is that if you exercise, eat right, sleep well, reduce stress, and take some appropriate supplements, such as TUNE IN, you should be able to increase your mental acuity and cognitive function.
How to Improve Your Mental Acuity: FAQs
How Do You Stimulate Mental Acuity?
Stimulating mental acuity can be done by engaging in exercises and tasks that require you to use your brain, with exercise being another option.
How Can I Improve My Mental Acumen?
Eating right, sleeping better, supplementing, and reducing stress are all good ways to improve your mental acumen.
What Reduces Mental Acuity?
Drugs, sugars, a lack of sleep, improper nutrition, and high levels of stress may all reduce mental activity.
What Affects Mental Acuity?
Your general lifestyle, including your diet, sleep hygiene, and stress levels, are the main contributing factors to mental acuity.
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- Epinephrine to increase alertness
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