Since 2015 the market for “cognitive-enhancers” has well surpassed the $1 billion mark, proving that boosting memory, focus and overall cognition is something most people are looking for in their lives.
Like any market that proves itself to be profitable it often becomes flooded with suppliers touting new products that promise to deliver even better results than before. The nootropic market is no exception to this rule, since the inception of the original nootropic “piracetam” around the mid 1960’s this class of substances remained relatively obscure, confined to perhaps only some small sub-cultures of silicon valley programmer and other tech gurus.
Within the past decade “nootropics” have almost become a household name, this surge in popularity can no doubt be at least somewhat attributed to their conceptual use in Hollywood movies such as “Limitless” and “Lucy”, podcasters such as Tim Ferris, Joe Rogan and Aubrey Marcus have also helped bring these products into the mainstream arena.
The burning question many people who have yet to dip their toes into the water are asking is no doubt… do they actually work? The simple yet ambiguous answer to that question is “maybe”.
From personal experience and usage their are a handful of very common “nootropics” that provide a tangible boost to alertness and focus. These include the obvious likes of caffeine, nicotine and adderal (amphetamine salts). All these substances have a noticeable effect on energy levels, however none provide a state of cognitive performance that isn’t achievable naturally for someone willing to get some proper sleep and work on their fluid intelligence through training exercises such as the N-Back Test (strongly recommend this).
If you’re looking to enter a superhuman state of omniscient intelligence then I’m sorry to say you’re mostly out of luck, nootropics may give you a slight edge (this could be placebo) however like most substances out there the adage of “what goes up, must come down” does certainly apply and when the drugs wear off you may feel just a little bit worse off than you did before taking them in the first place.
What I’m going to put forward is purely anecdotal accounts of strategies that I’ve implemented into my daily routine that I can personally testify to having improved cognition on a day to day basis (when I do them).
2. Adequate Sleep (Quality AND Quantity)
You’re rolling your eyes because it’s so bleedingly obvious, a good night sleep is going to do for your focus and mental capacity what no drug can. It’ll give you a clean sense of clarity and energy that lasts all day, plus there’s no crash from getting an awesome nights sleep.
What might not be so obvious is ways you can drastically improve not only the quantity but more importantly the quality of sleep you’re getting.
Reduce blue light exposure at least 2–3hrs prior to your bedtime.