The average human attention span is now 8 seconds. Why is it so hard to focus in today’s climate? The truth is that our environment has become the enemy. Digital distractions like marketing messages and phone notifications run rampant. On average, an office worker is interrupted every 11 minutes. When our focus is impaired, it takes 23 minutes to fully recover. Distractions also increase physical and mental fatigue, causing errors and brain fog.
As a society, we tolerate far more distractions than we should. The time we lose to digital distractions costs over $10,000 per person per year. More than money, distractions also cost us our sleep. Digital distractions interfere with circadian rhythms. 3 in 5 adults say they are more tired than they’ve ever been. When we don’t get enough sleep, we aren’t able to lead fully present lives.
How can we focus better? Millions of people already self-medicate with caffeine. In the USA alone, people consume an average of 85 liters of caffeinated drinks every year. Caffeine can provide some benefits, but it is also addictive. Withdrawal increases sleepiness, lowers mental alertness, and reduces reaction times. In the long term, caffeine may be linked to heart issues, digestion problems, and dementia.
Scientists are looking for alternatives to caffeine to fight the focus epidemic. One possibility is biohacking. Biohacking is a DIY approach in which you implement behavioral changes to improve health, productivity, and well-being. Changes include reducing blue light exposure close to bedtime and adding movement throughout the day. Limiting blue light resets circadian rhythms for better sleep. Moving more during the day provides an energy boost.
Another area of study is nootropics. Scientists study minerals, nutrients, and more to find what natural ingredients increase cognitive function. Said ingredients can go into food/drink instead of caffeine.