20% off £30

000000s
Code:SAVE20
 

20% off £30

000000s

Code:SAVE20

🏷️ Buy 1 Get 1 Free☀️ Summer ShopOffersOffers HubBuy one get one 1/2 priceSave up to 1/2 PriceBuy 1 Get 1 Free25% off Online Only OfferOutletFree gift with purchase1/2 Price2 for £50Short DatedVitamins & SupplementsVitamins & Supplements HubVitamins & Supplements Shop AllCBDShop all CBDCBD OilCBD CapsulesCBD SprayCBD GummiesCollagen & SilicaHair, Skin & NailsShop all Hair, Skin & NailsHair GrowthFunctional MushroomsVitaminsShop all VitaminsMultivitaminsVitamin AVitamin BVitamin CVitamin DVitamin EVitamin KVitamin DrinksMineralsShop all MineralsMagnesiumIronZincCalciumSeleniumChromiumSupplementsShop all SupplementsFibre SupplementsAcidophilus & Friendly BacteriaPeppermint OilGrapeseed ExtractLecithinCollagen & SilicaOmega & Fish OilsPlant Sourced SupplementsSuperfood SupplementsArnicaApple CiderRaspberry KetonesAloe VeraChondroitin & MSMCo Enzyme Q10Evening Primrose OilGarlicGinkgo BilobaGlucosamineGlucomannanSeaweed, Kelps and Aquaceuticals5 HTPSaw palmettoCharcoalWomen's HealthShop all Women's HealthMenopauseMenstrual SupportUrinary Tract HealthPregnancy & ConceptionMen's HealthShop all Men's HealthProstate HealthChildren's HealthConditionShop all ConditionWater RetentionAllergy & Hay Fever CareAnxiety SupportBone & Muscle HealthMuscle Support & Joint PainBrain & Memory SupportWomen's HealthMen's HealthChildren's HealthPain ReliefCold & Immune SupportFatigueDigestive HealthHair, Skin & NailsHeart & CirculationLiver CareMood SupportSexual HealthSleep & RelaxationStress ReliefVisionHerbal & Licensed RemediesShop all Herbal & Licensed RemediesValerianSt John's WortRescue RemedyAgnus CastusAshwagandhaEchinaceaMilk ThistleDevil's ClawGinseng & GuaranaBlack CohoshHomeopathic & Flower RemediesShop all Homeopathic & Flower RemediesRescue RemedyTissue SaltsFlower RemediesHomeopathic RemediesAt-Home TestsVegan Vitamins & SupplementsBuy one get one 1/2 priceBuy 1 Get 1 FreeSave up to 1/2 PriceHolland & BarrettVitabioticsSolgarWeledaNew NordicBioglanBetterYouNatures AidGrass & Co.Nature's WayDairy FreeGluten FreeSesame Seed FreeCelery FreeCereal FreeCrustaceans FreeEgg FreeFish FreeKiwi FreeLupin FreeNew inFood & DrinkFood & Drink HubFood & Drink Shop AllVegan FoodHoney, Jams & SpreadsShop all Honey, Jams & SpreadsManuka HoneyHoneyJams & ChutneysNut ButtersSpreadsPateTeas, Coffee & Hot BeveragesShop all Teas, Coffee & Hot BeveragesCoffee & Coffee SubstitutesMushroom DrinksTeasSuperfood TeasMatcha & Green TeaSleep & Relaxation TeaDried Fruit, Nuts & SeedsShop all Dried Fruit, Nuts & SeedsNutsDried FruitSeedsMixesSuperfoodsShop all SuperfoodsSuperfood PowdersMaca PowderGoji BerriesBaobabMoringa PowderFlaxseedSpirulinaChia SeedsSnacksShop all SnacksProtein BarsLow Calorie SnacksChocolate, Cakes & BiscuitsSavoury SnacksSweet SnacksSnack BarsCrisps & ChipsFlapjacksPopcornFood CupboardShop all Food CupboardHoney, Jams & SpreadsBreakfast CerealsSuperfoodsApple Cider VinegarCondiments & SaucesTinned FoodsRice, Pasta, Pulses & GrainsBreakfast CerealsShop all Breakfast CerealsCereals, Bran & FlakesGranolaMuesliOats & PorridgeBreakfast BarsDrinks & JuicesShop all Drinks & JuicesKombuchaNatural Energy DrinksJuicesSoft DrinksWaterAlcohol Free DrinksCookingShop all CookingCooking IngredientsApple Cider VinegarCondiments & SaucesSoya & Meat AlternativeSoup & Ready MealsRice, Pasta, Pulses & GrainsHerbs, Spices & SeasoningGravy & StockHome BakingShop all Home BakingBaking MixesBreadFlourSweeteners & Sugar AlternativesEgg SubstitutesDairy AlternativesShop all Dairy AlternativesOat, Rice & Hemp DrinksSoya DrinksNut DrinksCoconut DrinksNutritionally Complete FoodBuy one get one 1/2 priceSave up to 1/2 Price25% off Online Only OfferHolland & BarrettNaturyaHeath & HeatherPukkaGrenadeMeridianTwiningsBionaNakdHuelGluten FreeDairy FreeEgg FreeWheat FreeMilk FreeMustard FreeCelery FreeFish FreeSulphites FreeCrustaceans FreeNew inSports NutritionSports Nutrition HubSports Nutrition Shop AllProteinShop all ProteinClear ProteinWhey ProteinMass GainersVegan ProteinDiet ProteinCaseinSports SupplementsShop all Sports SupplementsTestosteroneSports CollagenBars, Drinks & SnacksShop all Bars, Drinks & SnacksEnergy BarsEnergy DrinksProtein BarsProtein ShakesProtein SnacksNutritionally Complete FoodMeal Replacement ShakesPre Workout & EnergyShop all Pre Workout & EnergyPre WorkoutAmino Energy DrinksAmino Energy PowdersIntra WorkoutKetoPost WorkoutAmino AcidsShop all Amino AcidsAmino Energy PowdersAmino Energy DrinksBCAAL-LysineGlutamineCarnitineArginineCreatineShop all CreatineCreatine PowderCreatine CapsulesRehydrationShop all RehydrationElectrolytesEnergy GelsVegan Sports NutritionShop all Vegan Sports NutritionVegan ProteinVegan Protein BarsVegan Pre Workout & EnergyVegan Amino AcidsVegan CreatineSports AccessoriesShop all Sports AccessoriesBottles & ShakersFitness EquipmentFitness GoalShop all Fitness GoalRecoveryMuscle & StrengthLean MuscleEnergy & EnduranceDiet & Weight LossSave up to 1/2 PriceBuy one get one 1/2 price2 for £50Optimum NutritionPE NutritionUSNApplied NutritionGrenadePhDSiSFoodspringHuelYfoodDairy FreeGluten FreeSugar FreeSoya FreeCelery FreeCereal FreeCrustaceans FreeEgg FreeFish FreeKiwi FreeNew inBeautyBeauty HubNatural Beauty Shop AllAromatherapy & HomeShop all Aromatherapy & HomePure Essential OilsBlended Essential OilsBase & Carrier OilsHolisticSkincareShop all SkincarePremium SkincareFace CareBody CareSun CareTanning & BronzingEye CareLip CareFoot CareHand & Nail CareSkin AilmentsSkin OilsCBD BeautyHair Skin & NailsWashing & BathingShop all Washing & BathingShampoo & ConditionerBathing AccessoriesShower Gel & Body WashDeodorantDentalHand WashSoapBath Soak & OilBody ScrubBath Bombs & SaltsFeminine CareIncontinence SupportHair CareShop all Hair CareShampoo & ConditionerHair ColouringHair MasksHair Oil & SerumHair Spray, Gel & MousseHair AccessoriesMother & BabyShop all Mother & BabyBaby Skincare & ToiletriesElectrical WellnessSexual WellnessSave up to 1/2 PriceBuy 1 Get 1 FreeBuy one get one 1/2 priceDr OrganicFaith in NatureWeledaNaturtintTisserandSukinMiaromaQ+AEthiqueSo EcoAlcohol FreeParfum FreeParaben FreeSLS FreePalm Oil FreeGluten FreeCelery FreeCereal FreeCrustaceans FreeEgg FreeNew inCBDWeight ManagementWeight Management HubWeight Management Shop AllFat Burners, Binders & Appetite SuppressantsShop all Fat Burners, Binders & Appetite SuppressantsFat BurnersFat BindersAppetite SuppressantsSlimming TabletsShakes & Weight Management ShotsShop all Shakes & Weight Management ShotsMeal Replacement ShakesDiet ProteinDiet Food & DrinkShop all Diet Food & DrinkDiet FoodLow Calorie SnacksSlimming TeaExercise SupportShop all Exercise SupportFitness EquipmentMeal Replacement ShakesDiet ProteinProtein BarsSave up to 1/2 PriceBuy one get one 1/2 price2 for £50Optimum NutritionGrenadeHolland & BarrettUSNPhDPulsinEat WaterNatures AidNew NordicSlimExpertDairy FreeSugar FreeGluten FreeWheat FreeNew inVeganHealth & WellnessShop all Health & WellnessJoints Bones & MusclesGut HealthHair Skin & NailsStress AnxietySleep & RelaxationBuy one get one 1/2 priceBuy 1 Get 1 FreeSave up to 1/2 PriceHolland & BarrettWeledaVitabioticsDr OrganicSolgarNaturtintOptimum NutritionNew NordicHeath & HeatherBioglanDairy FreeGluten FreeParaben FreeSLS FreeAlcohol FreeParfum FreeSugar FreeWheat FreeSoya FreeEgg FreeNew inShop for your WellnessWomen's HealthMenstrual HealthMenopauseJoints, Bones & MusclesGut HealthHair, Skin & NailsImmunitySleep & RelaxationFood & DietChildren's HealthStress ReliefHealthy HeartEnergyLow Mood & DepressionConcentration & AlertnessEye HealthSexual HealthLearn about WellnessWomen's HealthPeriods & Cycle HealthMenopauseJoints, Bones & MusclesImmunityGut HealthFood & DietSports & FitnessSleep & RelaxationHair Skin & NailsAll articlesHealthFood & nutritionGut healthImmunityJoints, bones & musclesWomen's healthWellnessHair & skinMental wellbeingSeasonalSleep & relaxationSports nutritionRecipesAll recipesGluten freeLow sugarVeganDairy freePodcast

Six simple concentration hacks

conditions-concentration
Find yourself drifting off mid-sentence or struggling to concentrate on a task? Here are six ways to improve your concentration and get your focus back.

If you’ve got a big meeting looming at work, or are trying to organise a major family get-together, it pays to stay focused on the job. Try these tips to help your brain stay alert

We all have lapses in concentration from time to time. In fact, the average person is thought to lose focus after 18 minutes, according to a 2016 review published in Advances in Physiology Education.

In one study included in the review, researchers stated that the maximum attention span is just eight seconds. That’s one second less than a goldfish!1

Why have we got such short attention spans?

One reason could be that we’re a nation of multitaskers these days, such as catching up with household chores while chatting on the phone.2 

Neuroscientists suggest trying to juggle too many tasks floods the brain with the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline, putting the body on high alert and preventing clear thinking.3

The good news is our ability to concentrate is like a muscle – the more you exercise it, the stronger it becomes. Try these six tricks to improve your concentration:

  1. Take timed breaks

It may seem counterintuitive to take time out when you’re on a roll, but regular brain breaks encourage better performance in the long-term, according to a 2011 study by the University of Illinois.

The researchers suggest momentarily switching off forces the brain to deactivate then reactivate, prompting better focus.4

Try the Pomodoro Technique – simply set a timer for 25 minutes and take a five-minute break when it goes off.5 

Stretch your legs, put the kettle on, and repeat until your task is complete. This is called the Pomodoro Technique because the inventor originally used a timer shaped like a pomodoro tomato!6

  1. Cut down on interruptions

Constant distraction is another reason why we’re all having trouble concentrating, according to experts.

Whether it’s the buzz of your mobile or the ping of an email, office workers are interrupted every 11 minutes – and it takes on average 25 minutes to immerse yourself in your task again after each disruption.7

The solution? Switch your phone to silent, manually refresh your email during set times only, and warn colleagues you’ll be unavailable for a limited time.

  1. Get a dose of greenery

There’s nothing like a breath of fresh air to focus a wandering mind – and not just because it increases oxygen to the brain. In fact, even just a glance at greenery can improve concentration.

In a 2015 study by scientists at the University of Melbourne, students who had a 40-second microbreak to stare at a green garden roof fared better on a task than those who looked onto a concrete roof.

The researchers concluded that the greenery effectively ‘woke up’ the brain, extending concentration span.8 

Even if you don’t have an inspiring garden to gaze upon, a houseplant could make all the difference to your brain health – a 2014 study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology Applied, found the presence of indoor plants increased the productivity of office workers by 15%.9

  1. Listen to some music

Having the radio on might be a source of distraction, but the right music can actually improve your concentration.

The American College of Radiologists reported in 2009 that radiologists who listened to classical music while working reported greater productivity and work satisfaction – a well-known phenomenon called the Mozart effect.10,11 

And don’t worry, if you’re not a fan of classical music; try something more ambient instead. Research published in 2015 in The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America found sounds of nature, like flowing water, enhanced concentration by neutralising background noise.12

  1. Eat for focus

It’s tempting to fuel up on sugar when you’re on a deadline, but the resulting blood sugar crash may actually slow your brain down.

This is because too much of the sweet stuff affects insulin’s ability to help our brain convert sugar into energy, which we need to think clearly.13 

Instead, start the day with a hearty breakfast: a 2008 study by India’s National Institute of Nutrition found students who ate before school performed better in memory tasks and had greater concentration than those who skipped breakfast first thing.14 

Make sure you eat plenty of foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids. These help form the building blocks of the brain, and are essential for learning and memory.15 

The best sources of omega-3 are oily fish, like salmon and mackerel, but you can also find it in nuts, seeds, vegetable oils, tofu, oily fish and dark green leafy vegetables.16

 And tuck into foods rich in the amino acid L-tyrosine too, which is thought to help improve mental performance when you’re under pressure.17 

Good sources are cheese, soybeans, nuts and seeds.18

Handpicked content: 8 easy ways to cut down on sugars and sweeteners for a healthier lifestyle

  1. Get a good night’s sleep

Not getting enough kip can trigger a decline in your concentration and focus. Experts from Harvard Medical School say poor sleep means your reaction time lengthens, you can’t take in new information and you become inattentive – a dangerous combination if you’re driving.19

Give yourself the best chance to nod off by following a good sleep hygiene routine:

  • no screens a couple of hours before bed
  • keep your bedroom cool and dark
  • avoid distractions like a TV or tablet in the bedroom
  • don’t eat two to three hours before sleeping
  • set an alarm to start getting ready for bed

Handpicked content: 10 tips for a good night’s sleep

The thing that makes you different makes you special, with Anita Bhagwandas

In this episode, Anita shares the joys and challenges of being an advocate. Navigating colourism, poor representation, and her late ADHD diagnosis, she helps listeners unpick ingrained beauty standards and cultivate a beauty regime that celebrates themselves. 

Sources

  1. Bradbury NA. Attention span during lectures: 8 seconds, 10 minutes, or more? Available from: https://www.physiology.org/doi/10.1152/advan.00109.2016
  2. Emma Elsworthy. Average British attention span is 14 minutes, research finds. Available from: www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/attention-span-average-british-person-tuned-in-concentration-mobile-phone-a8131156.html
  3. India Sturges. 7 Everyday Ways You Are Ruining Your IQ. Available from: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/health-fitness/mind/7-everyday-ways-you-are-ruining-your-iq/
  4. Ariga A and Lleras A. Brief and rare mental 'breaks' keep you focused: deactivation and reactivation of task goals preempt vigilance decrements. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21211793
  5. Psychology Today. Manage procrastination with the Pomodoro Technique. Available from: https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/intrinsic-motivation-and-magical-unicorns/201307/manage-procrastination-the-pomodoro-technique
  6. Psychology Today. Manage procrastination with the Pomodoro Technique. Available from: https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/intrinsic-motivation-and-magical-unicorns/201307/manage-procrastination-the-pomodoro-technique
  7. Bob Sullivan and Hugh Thompson. Brain, Interrupted. Available from: https://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/05/opinion/sunday/a-focus-on-distraction.html
  8. The Conversation. Forget siestas, ‘green micro-breaks’ could boost work productivity. Available from: http://theconversation.com/forget-siestas-green-micro-breaks-could-boost-work-productivity-42356
  9. Nieuwenhuis M, et al. The relative benefits of green versus lean office space: three field experiments. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25068481
  10. American College of Radiology. Baroque classical music in the reading room may improve mood and productivity. Available from: https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2009-04/arrs-bcm042309.php
  11. BBC Future. Does listening to Mozart really boost your brainpower? Available from: http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20130107-can-mozart-boost-brainpower
  12. DeLoach AG. Tuning the cognitive environment: sound masking with “natural” sounds in open-plan offices. Available from: https://asa.scitation.org/doi/abs/10.1121/1.4920363
  13. India Sturges. 7 Everyday Ways You Are Ruining Your IQ. Available from: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/health-fitness/mind/7-everyday-ways-you-are-ruining-your-iq/
  14. Gajre NS, et al. Breakfast eating habit and its influence on attention-concentration, immediate memory and school achievement. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18948652
  15. Healthline. 11 Best Foods to Boost Your Brain and Memory. Available from: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/11-brain-foods#section1
  16. Healthline. 11 Best Foods to Boost Your Brain and Memory. Available from: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/11-brain-foods#section1
  17. Deijen JB, et al. Tyrosine improves cognitive performance and reduces blood pressure in cadets after one week of a combat training course. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0361923098001634
  18. MyFoodData. High Tyrosine Foods. Available from: https://www.myfooddata.com/articles/high-tyrosine-foods.php
  19. Harvard Health Publishing. Sharpen thinking skills with a better night's sleep. Available from: https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/sharpen-thinking-skills-with-a-better-nights-sleep
 

Disclaimer

The advice in this article is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please check with your GP or healthcare professional before trying any supplements, treatments or remedies. Food supplements must not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle.
 

Related Articles

  • Visa
  • MasterCard
  • PayPal
  • AmericanExpress
  • ApplePay
  • ClearPay
  • AliPay
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
Copyright © Holland & Barrett Retail Limited, 2024. All rights reserved. hollandandbarrett.com is a trading name of Holland & Barrett Retail Limited,. Registered office: Samuel Ryder House, Barling Way, Nuneaton, Warwickshire CV10 7RH. Registered in England: company no. 2758955. Registered VAT no. 211727395.