Sleep and Exercise Could Be As Powerful As Any Smart Drug
You don’t have to take a pill to boost your brain power.
According to a 2015 meta-analysis by Oxford researchers, non-pharmacological forms of cognitive enhancement (NPCE) like sleep, exercise, and brain-training appear to do as much to improve cognition as pharmacological ones like modafinil, methylphenidate, and caffeine (also known as PCE).
On one hand, smart drugs have been shown to increase attention, working memory, speed of processing, and wakefulness, among other positive effects. They typically work by influencing levels of neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, and noradrenaline in your brain.
On the other hand:
- Good sleep habits seem to improve memory, creativity, and problem-solving speed. Even a six-minute nap has been shown to help.
- Acute exercise (i.e., brief bouts of high intensity training) has been linked to increased motivation and improvements to memory and speed of learning, with some effects lasting up to 48 hours later. Regular exercise has been linked to improvements in size, blood flow, and connectivity of important parts of the brain, as well as better memory, attention, executive functions, processing speed, and academic performance.
- Specifically designed computerized training programs have been shown to enhance memory, attention, visual processing speed, and executive function, with effects lasting as long as 3 months. It’s generally assumed that other mental challenges, from playing Tetris to learning another language or trying something new, have similar effects.
All of these cognitive enhancers have some moderately beneficial effects, which is to say they may help in some situations but won’t turn you into Einstein. And again, the natural methods appear to work just as well as the pharmacological.
Smart drugs also come with downsides not found in natural drugs. Aside from various potential various potential health risks, they have been shown to impair cognition in some cases.
Modafinil, for instance, has also been linked to impaired creativity and flexible thinking and overconfidence in judgment. A recent study showed that chess players on smart drugs were worse at time management, for example. And it’s not uncommon to hear about students taking methylphenidate (e.g., Ritalin) to help them study but getting distracted and spending hours focused on, say, reorganizing their closet.
I’m 32 years old, and I spent $ 200,000 on “biohacking”
I am the general director of a technology company. I wanted to become more energetic, healthy, happy, confident, strong-willed and intelligent, improve mood and concentration, and extend my life. For the last 4-5 years I have been engaged in biohaking of body and mind with the help of logic and scientific approach.
To do this, I optimized sleep, nutrition and exercise, went through thousands of tests, took dozens of different drugs and hundreds of supplements (in the photo below – part of the tablets I take every day), worked together with excellent doctors, meditated more than a thousand times, went to psychotherapist – and spent on all this about two hundred thousand dollars.
The results are excellent. Objectively, I threw off fat from 26% of body weight to 10% (data below), raised VO2Max (maximum oxygen consumption – vc.ru) to about seventy (this is very high) and improved performance for most biomarkers. Subjectively, I feel happier, calmer, more energetic. I became more confident and focused. And smart, if you mean the ability to solve complex problems under the mind.
I think the popularization of my methods can greatly affect society. Especially on the gap between the rich and the poor – people like me can live more productively, grow rich and invest even more in improving their own efficiency.
Important: before you decide to repeat after me, it is very important to think about your health and consult with a specialist. All people are different, and what worked in my case, can be dangerous or useless for you. I’m not a doctor, but this material does not contain medical recommendations. It’s just my personal story.
Briefly About Myself
My name is Sergey Fage, I’m 32 years old. He studied at Cornell University, expelled from Stanford Business School, founded several technology companies: TokBox – the leading infrastructure company for b2b-video communications (bought by Telefonica); “Ostrovok#34 is the largest tourist online company in Russia with a turnover of approximately $ 500 million for 2017; A new and yet secret AI company in the Silicon Valley. Passed Y Combinator. He did not work for long at Google.
I used to have a lot of problems. I was nervous, insecure, sometimes introvert, had problems with excess weight, concentration of attention, mood swings, management of anger, procrastination and other things that many of us face. What I am describing in this article has helped to get rid of all this.
Why Do I Do All These Strange Things?
Obviously, regardless of life goals, there are things that are useful to everyone. I, like many others, want to be more energetic and strong-willed person, less likely to fall into melancholy and be confident enough to calmly get acquainted with the beautiful girl in the queue at the supermarket.
All these things depend on changeable and temporary mental states. Which, in turn, depends on human biochemistry. If you have ever meditated, taken drugs, did not sleep well, or you were sick, you know that this is really true: with biochemical changes, your personality changes, and all of the above things become easier or more difficult.
My goal is simple: to precisely control my biochemistry in order to raise those physical and mental states that are useful to me.
What Exactly Do I Want?
Good mood, self-confidence, concentration, vigor, will power, resistance to stress, intelligence, calmness, health, long life, and absolute indifference to any social restrictions. Anytime and anywhere. With minimal time investment and minimal risk.