Optimizing your brain means first optimizing your body. You cannot perform your best on cognitive tasks unless your body, too, is running efficiently . For some, this may seem obvious; while for others, the connection between mind and body is murky at best. Without getting to deep into a biology lesson, I will do my best to explain how each of the five tips below impacts your ability to concentrate and think clearly and, therefore, is important to the success of your business

1.Get Enough Sleep

Even the most hardcore entrepreneurs need at least  six hours of sleep per day. Those who think they can get by on four  might have trained themselves to function in a state of sleep deprivation, but I can almost guarantee that they are less effective, especially over time. You may feel like you gained hours in the day by sleeping less, but the decrease in productivity will gnarly always eat any potential gains, not to mention introduce errors caused by loss in mental sharpness.

It goes even further the energy and mental acuity.  You need to sleep in order to restore your body, get rid of toxins, solidify memories and form new connections in your brain.

2.Buy an Air Filter

Think about it, what is the one thing you put into your body the most – both in terms of frequency and quantity? Air!  Unless you live someplace where the air quality is particularly low, you likely don’t think much about the air you breathe in and out each day.  Yet, sadly, even in relatively clean environments, dozens of illnesses and health symptoms can be traced back to the air patients are breathing at home and at work. In addition to directly impacting your brain, the distraction caused by headaches and shallow breathing, for example, are enough to keep you from performing at your best.

There is, however, something you can do about it. Invest in a personal air filtration system. Found online or in your local hardware store, these nifty gadgets can protect you from unseen particles and toxins that would otherwise rob you of your ability to stay focused and remain healthy. Be sure to put one on your desk at work and one by your bed at home.

3. Drink More Water

How many times have you been told to drink more water? My reply is to this, and nearly every other blanket, one-size-fits-all recommendation is, “How can you tell me what to change if you don’t know what I’m doing now?” In this case, however, I’m fairly confident that most, if not all, people reading this do not drink enough water. That is, in part, because the old recommendations of 8 cups, or 64 ounces, a day are not enough for your cognitive health except, perhaps, for a child.  Although we are all different sizes and, therefore, what is best will vary, a good goal for adults is a gallon a day, or 128 oz.

Do be careful, though!  It is possible to drink too much water at once. Several studies say about 27 to 33 oz of water per hour is the maximum your body can handle without causing your sodium levels to drop dangerously low. To be safe, unless you’re exercising and, therefore, losing water through sweat, I’d suggest no more than 16 to 20 ounces an hour. One easy way to achieve this is to have a water bottle with you at all times.

According to the American Heart Association: Keeping the body hydrated helps the heart more easily pump blood through the blood vessels to the muscles. And, it helps the muscles work efficiently. “If you’re well hydrated, your heart doesn’t have to work as hard,” said John Batson, M.D, a sports medicine physician with Lowcountry Spine & Sport. Dehydration can be a serious condition that can lead to problems ranging from swollen feet or a headache to life-threatening illnesses such as heat stroke. Last, but not least, you guessed it, dehydration carries with it a significantly negative impact on cognition.

4.Exercise Consistently

Beyond physical appearance, exercising helps you think better. (Are you sensing a pattern here?) By increasing your heart rate on a regular basis, you are training your heart to become more efficient at delivering oxygen to your brain, even after the workouts are done. In turn, this helps you focus longer. Working out can impact your ability to execute in business in other ways, too. because of the way it impacts the rest of your physiology. Quite simply, the more energy you expend, the more energy your body learns to produce. As an entrepreneur, every bit of additional energy makes a difference.

Be consistent to reap the benefits. You aren’t just training your muscles, you are training your heart and brain to be more effective. In both cases, repeated, frequent stress (in a good way) is needed to trigger your body into producing more energy. When to work out is up to you. I like doing so in the middle of the day because I feel like it gives me an extra “fresh start”.” I always come back from the gym refreshed and ready to dive back into work. .

5.Clean up Your Diet

Diets vary wildly and what is right for one person is not right for another. From Keto, Cavemen and Paleo to Adkins, Mediterranean, Vegan and more, each diet offers benefits and drawbacks depending on your body, lifestyle and goals. The one thing every diet seems to agree on, however, is that there are certain things we simply should not eat. These include chemical additives and toxins that can build up in your brain, deep-fried foods that introduce free radicals, and added sugars that feed problematic bacteria and cancer. Additionally, it goes without saying that, if you want to protect your brain and function at your best, drugs (including herbal remedies), alcohol and stimulants such as caffeine should also be carefully monitored.

On the other hand, there are so called “superfoods” that introduce wellness into our systems. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary a superfood is defined as “a food (such as salmon, broccoli, or blueberries) that is rich in compounds (such as antioxidants, fiber, or fatty acids) considered beneficial to a person’s health,” In other words, just about any whole food can be claimed to be a superfood, so buyer beware. To be a true superfood, researchers look at the nutrient density, but still, there is no hard and fast rule as to what foods get to carry the superfood super-label.

My recommendation? Whatever your choice of diet plan, stick with whole foods and avoid the items mentioned above. You body and your brain will thank you.