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Tools for improving focus and concentration

Tools for improving focus and concentration are discussed in this episode of the Huberman lab podcast. These tools include behavioural, nutrition-based, supplement-based, and brain machine interface-based tools, most of which are zero cost and can be applied in daily life. A brief 13-minute daily meditation for eight weeks has been shown to significantly increase focus and concentration abilities, and even shorter alternatives are available for those with limited time. It is important to note that focused meditation should not be performed within four hours prior to bedtime, as it can lead to difficulties in falling and staying asleep. Visualize an arrow with epinephrine representing the shaft, as this neurochemical system is responsible for increasing energy and improving focus and concentration.

The Science Behind Achieving Long-Term Focus

In order to achieve focus with precision and for an extended period of time, three neurochemicals play a crucial role: epinephrine, acetylcholine, and dopamine. While epinephrine creates alertness and is necessary for focus to occur, acetylcholine directs the focus to a specific location like a spotlight, and dopamine keeps the focus moving forward for an optimal duration. Optimizing sleep behavior is also crucial for maintaining focus, as it impacts cognitive performance, physical performance, hormone output and immune system function. Understanding the concepts of modulation and mediation helps in choosing tools to modify your biology, physiology, and cognitive function.

Sound-based tools for improving focus and concentration

Sleep is crucial for modulating focus and attention, and no tool can consistently overcome chronic sleep deprivation. However, sound-based tools, such as 40 Hertz Boral beats, have been shown to increase focus and concentration and can be accessed through various free apps. When used for a short period before or during cognitive work or workouts, these beats can improve focus and concentration. Additionally, white and pink noise have been shown to help individuals transition into concentrated states, although they may not directly improve concentration. Nevertheless, consistent and sufficient sleep is essential for overall brain and body functioning.

Using Sound for Focus and Mental Fitness

White noise, pink noise, and brown noise can support the release of neurochemicals, amplify neuron activity, and decrease the transition time into focus. Mental work, focus, and concentration require a warm-up, just like physical exercise, to increase neurochemicals like epinephrine, adrenaline, acetylcholine, and dopamine. Focusing is dynamic and improves with repeated engagement of neural circuits responsible for focus through neuroplasticity. Sleep optimization is key for better focus, and 90-minute ultradian cycles should be considered when attempting to focus. To release pressure from feeling focused all the time, understand that focus is gradual and oscillates, and patience is important. Auditory sound-based tools like 40 Hertz binaural beats and white, pink, or brown noise are available at zero cost and can be used alternatively or together.

Increase Focus and Productivity with 90-Minute Work Intervals and Deliberate Defocus Periods

To optimize focus and productivity, work in 90-minute intervals, recognizing the natural cycles of our sleep and wake states. Allow for a 10-30 minute deliberate defocus period after each work session to replenish metabolic energy and rest the brain. Use this time for automatic or reflexive tasks that don't require focus, and avoid looking at phones or screens. Highly trained focus requires more defocus time, so limit deep work to two or three 90-minute sessions per day. The ultimate form of restoration and idle time is sleep, which should be prioritized for optimal mental functioning.

Maximizing productivity through focused work and nutrition.

Focusing intently for short periods of time, like 90 minutes, on mentally or physically taxing work can lead to deeper concentration and better performance. It's important to take breaks between bouts of deep work to avoid burning out. Additionally, nutrition plays a role in our ability to think clearly and focus. Having sufficient glucose in the brain can improve our ability to perceive and think about things more clearly, but we should also be mindful of not overloading on sugars and highly processed foods. Approaches like intermittent fasting can also enhance cognitive abilities. Overall, finding the right balance of nutrition and focused work can improve productivity and cognitive performance.

Optimizing Cognitive Function: Balancing Intermittent Fasting and Glucose Intake

Intermittent fasting can enhance focus and concentration by keeping the nervous system in a state of alertness due to the absence of parasympathetic activation. However, consuming food with sufficient glucose levels can also improve cognitive function. Therefore, one needs to pick their preferred condition for bouts of focus and concentration. It is advisable to avoid stuffing oneself with food during lunch to prevent a dip in energy in the afternoon. Delaying caffeine intake by 90-120 minutes after waking up can also help with maintaining energy levels throughout the day. Overall, being fasted for focused work in the morning and being fed with moderate glucose levels in the afternoon can optimize cognitive function.

Balancing Fast and Fed States for Improved Focus and Concentration

To optimize concentration and focus, it's important to balance fasted states and fed states while ensuring not to overeat. Ketosis and caffeine can improve brain function and focus. Tyrosine-rich foods like meats, certain nuts, and some fruits and vegetables can increase concentration. However, it's essential to be cautious with caffeine intake, especially if you're not caffeine adapted or suffer from panic attacks. The right dosage of caffeine can improve focus up to 400 milligrams, but it depends on individual tolerance. Ingesting simple sugars and highly processed foods like ice cream, candy, and chips may worsen symptoms of ADHD and decrease focus. Hence reducing their intake and consuming enough calories to perform the desired activities is essential.

The Benefits and Limitations of Caffeine and Loose Leaf Tea for YBA Consumption.

Consuming loose leaf tea is a cost-effective and healthier way to consume YBA compared to smoked versions that contain carcinogenic compounds. Caffeine found in tea, coffee and other sources can increase the number and efficacy of dopamine receptors, which enhances motivation and drive. However, it's important to limit caffeine consumption to the earlier part of the day to ensure a good night's sleep. Stress can actually improve concentration performance as it narrows our focus and narrows our visual field, increasing our ability to concentrate on a specific task. Too much caffeine can cause jitters, dilated pupils, and disrupt the architecture and depth of our sleep, making it important to shut off caffeine intake at least eight hours before bedtime.

Cold Water Exposure for Improved Focus and Cognitive Performance

Increase in stress hormones and reported psychological stress levels enhance focus and concentration. Cold water exposure is an efficient way to increase epinephrine levels, which in turn improves concentration, focus, and cognitive performance. It is a zero or negative cost way to improve focus and can be achieved by taking a cold shower or getting into a cold body of water. The epinephrine released during cold water exposure places your vision into tunnel mode, allowing you to focus on cognitive or physical work in a more specific way. The cold water should be uncomfortably cold but safe to stay in for one to five minutes. This is a powerful tool for improving attention to visual stimuli and cognitive work.

Simple Practices for Improved Focus and Productivity

Cold exposure for three minutes can help improve focus and alertness. Additionally, a 13-minute meditation practice done consistently can significantly improve focus and concentration ability, as well as mood and stress levels. The key to a successful meditation practice is not to expect perfect concentration, but to continually refocus on your breath and a location about an inch behind your forehead. This trains the neural circuit responsible for mental focus and concentration, including the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus. Consistent practice of these simple, low-cost tools can lead to significant improvements in cognitive performance for a more productive workday.

The Benefits of Short Meditation Practices and NSDR for Improved Focus and Sleep

Short meditation practices of about 13 minutes, where you constantly refocus your concentration, have been shown to be effective in improving focus and concentration. These practices have other benefits such as improvements in sleep and memory. However, it is recommended to avoid meditating within four hours of bedtime because it disrupts sleep. If you are sleep deprived, doing Nons Sleep Deep Rest (NSDR) or Yoga Nera for 10-60 minutes can improve focus compared to not doing it. The practice involves lying down, listening to a script, body scanning, doing long exhale breathing, and progressively relaxing. NSDR is restorative and can replenish dopamine levels. Doing NSDR every day even for 10-30 minutes can help you fall and stay asleep at night.

Using Tools to Enhance Focus and Concentration

Tools like N SDR, yoga Nedra, and hypnosis can enhance focus and concentration by directly tapping into the neural circuits of the brain. While N SDR and Yoga Nera aim at inducing deep relaxation, hypnosis combines high levels of focus and deep relaxation. Apps like the RRY app provide specific hypnosis protocols that are highly accessible and free of cost. Meditation, N SDR, and hypnosis are zero-cost tools supported by rigorous science that can significantly improve focus and concentration over time. The frequency of using these tools varies from person to person. These tools are highly recommended for people who want to improve their ability to focus and concentrate under uncontrolled sleep conditions.

Visual Focus and Cognitive Focus

Visual focus drives cognitive focus. Practicing visual focus on one location for a specific period of time helps to develop better cognitive focus, as it teaches the brain to refocus the mind each time it drifts. This is because much of our cognitive focus is directed by our visual system. Overt focus, where we focus on one thing with our eyes, helps to analyze details and limit distraction. Covert focus, where the eyes are fixed on one location but the focus is directed elsewhere, helps to evaluate the scene and gather information. These visual-based tools are being employed in various schools in China and can be incorporated at any time of day to enhance focus.

Tips for Improved Focus and Concentration

To improve focus and concentration, set a low bar at first, focus on one visual location for 30 seconds, and gradually increase it by 5 seconds every day. Use visual focus as a way to ramp up and increase overall ability to focus and concentrate, and then apply it to whatever it is that needs to be learned or performed. Omega-3 essential fatty acids of 1-3 grams per day can improve mood and cognitive function, which can improve focus and concentration indirectly by modulating the neural circuits and brain function that support it. Supplements are the easiest way to ingest EPA essential fatty acids, which are good for focus and concentration, but other sources like fish oil, Cod liver oil, or vegan options are also available.

Supplements for Boosting Brain Function and Focus

Taking omega three fatty acids and creatine monohydrate can support brain function, concentration, and focus. Omega three fatty acids can be taken through supplements or food sources such as fatty fish and algae. Creatine monohydrate, which is commonly used for muscle growth and strength, can improve cognitive performance when taken in a dose of five grams per day. Acetylcholine is another compound that can improve focus and concentration, and can be increased through foods or supplements such as alpha GPC. However, it's important to be cautious about potential side effects and risks associated with chronic alpha GPC use, and consider offsetting it with garlic or other measures if needed.

Using Supplements and Prescription Drugs to Improve Concentration and Focus

Supplements like alpha GPC, L tyrosine, and caffeine can increase dopamine transmission in the brain and improve concentration and focus when used in combination. However, it is important to use these tools efficiently and avoid using all of them together in a single workout or session. Supplements can be a useful tool to teach the brain circuits to engage better, reducing the reliance on them over time. It is not necessary to use supplements, but they are helpful in achieving the desired states efficiently. Moreover, prescription pharmacology can increase epinephrine and dopamine transmission in the brain, helping people with ADHD concentrate and focus better while teaching the brain circuits to engage. However, proper oversight and careful evaluation of a psychiatrist is crucial while using these compounds.

Treating ADHD without prescription drugs

When it comes to treating ADHD, prescription drugs can be effective, but they should be a last resort after trying behavioral tools, nutrition, and supplementation. While these drugs may increase focus and concentration, they can also increase dependency and have dangerous side effects. Behavioral tools and nutrition should come first, with supplementation only added if necessary. For those with severe psychiatric disorders like bipolar disorder or depression, prescription drugs may be necessary for safety reasons. However, for the typical person, focusing on teaching neural circuits to focus and concentrate through behavioral tools and supplements, like L-tyrosine, alpha GPC, and phenylethylamine, can be effective without the risks associated with prescription drugs.

How to Improve Focus and Concentration with Behavioral Tools and Supplements

To achieve states of attention and focus, one can use behavioral tools like meditation, hypnosis and visual focus. Supplements like alpha GPC, phenylethylamine, and L tyrosine can directly modulate neural circuits for concentration focus. Creatine and Omega threes are also important, but optimizing sleep is key to mental and physical functioning. Examine.com is a great source to learn about different compounds and supplements for specific goals like focus, concentration, sleep, and hormones. However, it's rare to combine all these compounds in a single day, and it's recommended to take them only under intense conditions of mental or physical work. Using these protocols in combinations and finding out what works best for oneself may improve focus and concentration.


  • Sleep is most important
  • 40Hz Binroial Beats or white/pink/brown noise to get started with focus
  • Cycle of focus: 90min. of focus then 10-30min. resting of focus
  • Phones are eating our resting times and therefore out focus
  • focus needs warm-up (for warmups use white noise to transition into focused state)
  • flickering focus is normal, accept it
  • Tyrosin improve adrenaline for focus (seeds and nuts)
  • Keto (high fat, low carbs diet) might add focus
  • High Glucose with better focus but might be sleepy (not to much sleep)
  • Low Glucose fasting state high focus
  • coffein can be usefull for focus ~100ml to 200ml of caffein after 90min. after sleep yerba mate (NOT smoked)
  • stress helps focusing
  • cold exposure induces stress, adrenaline and focus
  • Meditation set timer for >13min. sit or lay down and focus on breathing an inch inside your forehead, refocus back on your breath: improve focus in 8 weeks
  • Terrible Sleep? NSDR Non Sleep Deep Rest - Yoga Nidra laying down for 10-60min listening to a audio script up to 2 times a day. It might also help to sleep better.
  • Hypnosis for neuroplasticity (focus and relaxation) recommendation of the Riveri App
  • Timings: Mediation shouldnt be done in 4 hour window before sleep, NSDR/Yiga Nidra might help with falling back asleep after waking up at night, Hypnosis can be done any time of the day Visual Based tools:
  • cognitive focus follows visual focus -> wearing hoodie might increase focus
  • Visually Focus on one location up to 30sec. to 15min. with blinking: trains focus and refocusing
  • Covert focus, eyes are focused on somewhat we are not directly gazing at it
  • 30sec. to 3min. Visually or Covert focus as warm-up for mental or physical work use this also to refocus while learning/working/etc Foods and Supplement
  • Omega-3s, 1-3g EPA to improve brain function (fish, avocado, algae, supplements)
  • Creatine can increase focus as well
  • acetycholine increases learning abillity
  • Foods with Choline or Alpha-GPC 300mg to 600mg if you need a lot of focus (not every day), take it with garlic (600mg)
  • Aminoacid L-tyrosine foods or supplement with apha-gpc to focus
  • ADHD Drugs increases focus but its dangerous
  • L-Tyrosin sometimes change against Phenylethylamine
  • focusing trains focus
  • the better you are at focusing the more exhausting it gets so less time can be spend doing it
  • Be dynamic, you can switch them around and use different tools depending of necessity

What I'm gonna do: -Take creatine 5g, Spirulina for Omega-3s

  • Soy, Nuts for L-tyrosine and choline
  • Do Mediation every day
  • Brain Beats and starring at the wall or cold shower as focus starting ritual