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Nootropics are enjoying their day in the sun.
Bradley Cooper’s Limitless experience in 2011 was enough to make plenty of people think twice. ScarJo’s Lucy took it to a whole new level.
But, what if you could access a much greater part of your brain, and become rich, good looking and multilingual in a handful of days? The possibilities really would be limitless. Except that Limitless and Lucy were were movies. Entertaining, certainly, and good food for thought, but fiction.
There’s no drug on Earth that will do for you what NZT-48 did for Cooper. And no blue goo is going to send you into manic intellectual overdrive like it did to Lucy.
There are, however, plenty of drugs that will help you hone an edge. The kind of edge that can indeed help you get ahead. Nootropics sharpen your existing capabilities and keep you focused on what needs to get done. They help you feel motivated, clear-headed, and able to hold more information than you might otherwise. And there are ways you can make those results even more significant. You might be surprised how simple these steps are.
How To Get More Out of Your NootropicsMany of the smartest people in the nootropics field will tell you to start with the low-hanging fruit - small, easy wins that will get you started on the road to optimizing your body and brain’s performance. Foremost among these early adjustments are getting enough sleep, eating a balanced diet, and getting outside and active enough. If you’re wondering if you’ve accidentally started reading a health blog, I won’t blame you. I will blame you though if you stop reading, and then wonder why your stack isn’t turning you genius. See, your body and brain are two parts of one system. You can’t expect to treat one part badly, and have the other function at its best. How you treat your body has a direct impact on your brain, and vice versa. That’s why treating your body like it is the most valuable thing in the world is vital for seeing top-level mental performance. So let’s break it down a bit.
Why You Need To Stop Skimping on SleepHow many times have you had a project or piece of work that needed to be done, and stayed up late to finish it, instead of getting up early? Or stayed out socializing, even though you had a full day booked tomorrow? Or gamed, read, or procrastinated until the wee hours of the morning for no reason other than you could? I’ve lost count. I bet you have too. Most of us are ok with skipping sleep if it means we get a little dopamine reward from whatever the other activity is. And this is the first problem that is diminishing your brain’s ability to perform at a consistently high level. Scientific American reports that on average, Americans sleep an hour less every night than most need. Over the course of a year, this accumulates to up to two weeks of lost sleep. No wonder we have trouble staying focused. Harvard Health recommends that most adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep a night. If you have no idea how much sleep you need to feel really rested, chances are you’ve accumulated sleep debt, and will need to ‘pay it off’ before you can really get in a good pattern. Some tips if you’re carrying a heavy sleep debt:
- Try to work out roughly how many hours of sleep you’ve lost in say, the last three months
- Add an extra hour of sleep every weeknight, and an extra three to four hours over the weekend. Follow this pattern until you’ve caught up the full amount of the debt.
- Once you’re caught up, work out roughly how much sleep you need on average. Then shape your evening and morning routines around that - if you need 8 hours, but have to be up at 6.30am, go to bed around 10pm so you can start waking up more naturally.
You Are What You EatWant your nootropics to work? Eat your vegetables! (And protein and fiber and essential fats.) Vitamins and minerals are responsible for literally thousands of chemical processes in your body. Essential fats ensure that neurons in your brain function properly. Protein allows your cells to regenerate at a sufficient pace to keep up with the demands you put on your body. Fiber helps regulate energy and boosts nutrient uptake (including the active ingredients in your nootropics). Your food intake is critical to your brain function. Like sleep, everyone’s needs vary a bit, but there are good guidelines to help you work out what works best for you. Precision Nutrition makes the following recommendations: For Men:
- 2 palm-sized serves of protein dense foods at each meal
- 2 fists of vegetables at each meal
- 2 cupped handfuls of carb dense foods at most meals
- 2 thumb-sized serves of fat dense foods at most meals.
- 1 palm-sized serve of protein dense foods at each meal;
- 1 fist of vegetables at each meal
- 1 cupped handful of carb dense foods at most meals
- 1 thumb-sized serve of fat dense foods at most meals.
Makes it simple enough, right? And if you have trouble with that much protein-based food, you can always bump your intake up with Natural Protein.
Exercise, be it intense or very gentle, has a profound impact on brain behaviour. Exercise increases brain plasticity, and in as short a period as six months, can increase the size of the hippocampus - the brain center for learning and memory. This allows your brain to function faster and more efficiently, while also improving mood and social ability. This makes it easier for you to work consistently and effectively, particularly when other people are involved and you need to be on your A-game. Exercise doesn’t need to be complicated or even exhausting. A walk is enough to get blood moving around your body and improving its oxygenation. Find the style of movement you like, and do it regularly. Be it running, weightlifting, swimming, chasing your dog around a park - whatever, just do it often. Every day or two if you can. And finally, one more thing you can do to make sure your nootropics are as effective as possible.
It’s tempting to go full throttle when you get started with nootropics and stack up everything you can get your hands on. Yeah… Don’t do that. When nootropics are used sensibly, they’re safe and yield effective results. If you take a massive dose, or mix a large number of ingredients, you run significantly more risk - and most likely reduce the efficacy of each ingredient. Do your research on which nootropics mix safely and effectively. Don’t mix lots of stimulants. Make sure you try each ingredient individually, adjusting carefully for your personal tolerance, so that you can identify which ingredients are effective for your personal biochemistry. (This will also help you to avoid mixing ingredients that cancel each other out, or whose effects undo the benefit of another.) If you start feeling nauseous, anxious or jittery, dial it way back. If you start feeling like you could land a jump between two skyscrapers, dial it way back. If you feel nothing and are as distracted as ever, try incrementally increasing your dosage or trying out new ingredients or combinations of two to three other nootropics. Start with CILTEP. Once you're used to that, you can try adding Smart Caffeine. Then build from there, one piece at a time.
Remember: Your body and brain are two parts of one system. Treat them both with respect and care, and you’ll eventually see the results you’re looking for.
Now, we’d like to hear from you...
How do you increase the effectiveness of your stacks? Share your tips for getting the most out of your nootropics in the comments below!