5 areas you should concentrate on if you want to achieve optimal peak brain performance.
Today, I want to share with you what I’m learning about how we can optimize our brains to achieve better performance.
These strategies are designed to help you perform at your best. They apply to anyone who needs to use their brains to perform well. (Everyone?) They especially apply to entrepreneurs as well as people like me who make investment decisions and manage money for a living.
If you are performing at peak performance you are likely to:
- go farther at work,
- make better investment decisions,
- increase your income,
- be a better leader, and
- have more “left in the tank” when you get home at the end of the day.
Learning From Experts
I’m not the expert on this topic, but I recently heard Louisa Nicola talk about enhancing performance on The Business Brew podcast with Bill Brewster. Louisa is a neuroscientist at Neuro Athletics. Her firm helps athletes and hedge fund managers optimize their brain health in order to help them achieve maximum potential.
After listening to the podcast with Bill Brewster, I have been following Louisa’s work as I’ve decided to be more intentional about performance optimization in 2022.
You can follow Louisa’s weekly newsletter or podcast breaking down the medical and scientific practices so you too can perform at your peak.
5 Categories of Human Performance Optimization
On a recent episode of her podcast Louisa shares the five areas you should concentrate on if you want to achieve optimal peak brain performance:
Category 1: Understanding and Managing Inflammation
It’s important to understand the sources of chronic inflammation. Not only should you spend time understanding what drives inflammation, but it’s important to manage it and make an effort to decrease it through your diet and with healthy sleep.
Category 2: Supplements
There are many opinions on the internet about what supplements we need or don’t need. Here are two of the most important supplements I’ve heard Louisa talk about:
- EPA & DHA Omega 3s – Omega-3 fatty acids are absolutely essential for increasing lifespan and health span by several pathways including decreasing inflammation. A recent study on centenarians (people who lived to be 100) found that the only thing that can predict someone going to that age is decreasing inflammation.
- Vitamin D – Louisa has a follow up episode where she talks about the impact Vitamin D has on your sleep regulation and sleep wake cycles. Not only is Vitamin D important for better sleep, but it’s well known that Vitamin D helps regulate your mood, reduces depression, and helps fight disease and reduces the likelihood of severe illness like the flu or COVID. Louisa takes a daily dose of 5,000 IU of Vitamin D.
When it comes to supplementation, brand is the most important factor as supplements are not regulated. There are many supplements out there that are not high quality and many include fillers and cheap ingredients and they claim to be something they’re not. If you’re not sure where to get your supplements, Louisa recommends Thorne. According to her they are by far the best quality supplements on the market.
Category 3: Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT)
I have never heard of this until now. What is it? Hyperbaric oxygen therapy involves breathing pure oxygen in a pressurized environment.
In a hyperbaric oxygen therapy chamber, the air pressure is increased two to three times higher than normal air pressure. Under these conditions, your lungs can gather much more oxygen than would be possible breathing pure oxygen at normal air pressure. When your blood carries this extra oxygen throughout your body, this helps fight bacteria and stimulate the release of substances called growth factors and stem cells, which promote healing.
In short, it helps heal challenging injuries by delivering oxygen to the cells that need it. It also helps decrease inflammation.
I’m giving this one a SKIP. It’s not for me.
Category 4: Sleep Enhancing Tools
Getting good sleep is critical to peak performance. Here are some tools that can help:
- Smart Mattress Technology: Louisa talks a lot about the Eight Sleep Mattress. I gave it a try and quickly discovered it’s not for me. So, instead I am going with a Sleep Number mattress.
- MUSE headband: This is a tool to help calm your mind. I’ve never heard of it, but sounds like it could be beneficial for some. I’m giving it a PASS.
Category 5: Wearables
You cannot optimize what you don’t measure. The technology with various types of wearables has come a long way over the past decade and is destined to only get better with time.
Here is what Louisa wears and why:
- Oura Ring: It provides the closest data to an in lab sleep study (PSG).
- Whoop Band: It has the most accurate measurement of heart rate while working out.
- Garmin Forerunner 935: It is great for tracking runs, swims, and bike rides.
After looking into all of the above I’m sticking with my Apple Watch for measuring heart rate and workouts, and I’ll track my sleep quality in the Sleep Number app.
Create Your Own Path
We can learn a lot from experts like Louisa, but it’s important to create your own path that’s designed around your unique life situation. She is just one of several experts on health and performance optimization that I follow. It’s important to hear what the experts say, but to tailor their advice to something that works for you. Once I’ve got it all figured out I’ll be sure to share my own protocols. 😊