Optimal Cognitive Performance

I used to think working 15-16 hours a day was the way to achieve optimal performance at work. I used to think that I was a night person — that I did my best work between 11pm and 2am. I used to think that *unless* my calendar was packed from 8am until 7pm, I was being unproductive. I used to think…well you get the picture. What happened?

First, I discovered sleep:

“…when you sleep your brain removes toxic proteins from its neurons that are by-products of neural activity when you’re awake. Unfortunately, your brain can remove them adequately only while you’re asleep. So when you don’t get enough sleep, the toxic proteins remain in your brain cells, wreaking havoc by impairing your ability to think—something no amount of caffeine can fix.”

Then, I discovered exercise and the importance of doing it regularly.

Part of the reason exercise enhances cognition has to do with blood flow. Research shows that when we exercise, blood pressure and blood flow increase everywhere in the body, including the brain. More blood means more energy and oxygen, which makes our brain perform better.

After that, I discovered fueling up properly.

[The] brain is a hungry little organ. Weighing in at only 3 pounds, it uses 20% of your daily calorie intake.

And then, finally, I had an epiphany: my brain is like a machine. It requires careful and proper management for optimal cognitive performance. And it has become my obsession. (Yes, for you excel geeks the Circular Reference Warning is probably flashing right about now.)

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2 thoughts on “Optimal Cognitive Performance

  1. Optimal Cognitive Performance also has a lot to do with emotional intelligence and your ability to make decisions with a fresh and alive brain which is not tired and trying to be present in the moment. With exercise you feel a sense of accomplishment which with the new energy your brain can have the freedom to really express itself or decide not to act and not be forced either way because of being tired.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think another way to promote optimal cognitive performance includes social engagement – lots of research surrounding this (and how old(er) men tend to decline due to limited opportunities for socializing) and its relevance to maintaing plasticity of brain. Something you should look into (wink, wink). Another possible contributor? Trying new things – new hobbies or new skills – firing up new neurons and pushing the brain to continue functioning smoothly. Maybe you could pick up that guitar you bought a few years ago and actually learn to play it? Boost your optimal cognitive performance AND lean to do a duet with me on the piano? Priceless.

    Liked by 1 person

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