How Does a Human Reaction Works
First of all, we need to understand what factors affect reaction time, which will help to answer the main question on how to improve reaction time. Our reactions depend on the coordinated work of two types of neurons: sensitive and motor. Visual, sonic, olfactory, tactile, or sensory stimulation are perceived by sensory nerve cells. In response, motor neurons signal the body to perform some action. The time gap between stimulus and response depends on many factors. Moreover, the signal from the sensory half of the motor area will slow down, if something occurs accurately and carefully. If something happens quickly, the response time will also decrease.
For quite some time, it has been thought that the brain is being controlling the response time by raising or lowering the irritation threshold. After all, motor neurons understand that they have to act. A research conducted by the scientists at the University of Vanderbilt (USA) disproves this view.
According to the American`s experiment the monkey was trained to follow a target that appears in different places on the monitor screen. At some point, a special stop signal followed, after which the monkey had to stare at a point in the center of the screen. Correct execution of the task implied a reward, of course. The delay between the moving target and the stop signal could be from 25 to 275 milliseconds. During this time, the neurons responsible for eye movements continued to receive stimulus to action. The greater the delay before the stop signal, the harder it was for the monkey to keep an eye on the central point. The faster the stop signal appeared, the longer motor neurons activated. As a result, the brain did not send a signal from motor neurons to sensory cells, which had to record the target’s movements.
How to Test Your Reaction time?
Secondly, you need to measure your current reaction time. The most simple way to measure is to use online tools as JustPark or green light test or 1to50 test. We are recommending to use a computer mouse for this test. Using a touchpad can slow down the response time. In addition to measuring your reaction time, this test is influenced by the delay of your computer and monitor. Using a fast computer and monitor with low latency / high frame rate will improve your results. Any reaction speed test gives you an estimated result. If you record 5-10 attempts you’ll find average response time.
You will easily improve reaction time by using the advice listed below. Dropping a ruler is an another estimated test. It can measure your reaction time without a computer delay. By the way, we will also tell you about the food that can improve your reaction time.
It is a simple simulation of car driving. All you need to do is click as soon as you see the “Stop” button. This program will calculate your estimated age based on the result. My best result is 19 years old.
Green Light Test
It’s a simple tool for measuring your reaction time. The average (median) reaction time is 215 milliseconds according to the data collected so far. If you can react faster than 400 milliseconds — you have a normal reaction. If you react faster than 250 ms, you have a great reaction. Result less than 200 milliseconds for good boxers or cyber sportsmen.
Test on reaction and fast execution:
Press numbers 1 to 50 in order as fast as you can.
- 29 Seconds: You have a great reaction time.
- 30-39 sec: It is a great result, almost perfect
- 40-59 sec: Average result.
- 60-79 sec: Normal result.
- 80-99 seconds: You have a slow reaction time
- 100-150 seconds: You must be over 70 years old.
- Over 150 seconds: You might have Alzheimer’s.
I have the best result so far 31.536.
Dropping a Ruler Test
Measuring simple reaction. The easiest and most accessible way to measure a simple reaction in the field is by using a 30 cm or 40 cm ruler. Execution:
You need a friend’s help to complete this test. Sit on a chair, stretch out your hand. Then, you place the other hand on the back of the chair. A friend holds the ruler on the weight in a such way that it is positioned with an “O cm ” mark between your thumb and forefinger. When you are ready to perform the test, a friend releases the ruler. You need to squeeze your fingers and catch a ruler as quickly as possible. The reaction speed is evaluated by the length of the distance covered by the ruler in centimeters. Record your result for 3-5 times. Test another hand. The distance the reaction timer travels before you catch it has been converted to time using the equation d=1/2at² where «a» is the acceleration due to gravity.
How Can I Improve my Brain Reaction Time?
There are several ways to improve reaction time. The most important thing is to keep your body and mind in good condition. You should sleep well, eat the right food, avoid caffeine and go in for sport. We will list more accurate tips to improve reaction time below.
The Best Food to Eat:
- Leafy Green Veggies are Good for Your Brain and Reflexes. Green vegetables and garlic can improve cognitive function. They are rich in vitamin K, lutein, folic acid and beta-carotene. It also contains a decent amount of protein.
- Eggs. Eggs are extremely rich in an amino acid called tyrosine. It is a building block for the production of various hormones in the body that increases energy.
- Various Beans. Beans are extremely rich in protein. They can become your essential brain health product. Also they are rich in omega-3 fatty acids that are important for brain development.
- Edible Seeds. Pumpkin and sesame seeds contain high levels of tyrosine, and sunflower seeds are good for the brain. They also improve memory and cognitive functions.
- Chicken or Turkey. Numerous varieties of meat are incredibly rich in tyrosine. Chicken and turkey are striking examples of the same and can really increase the amount of this amino acid in your body to speed up your reflexes.
- Yogurt, Cheese, and Dairy. Dairy products, especially cheese and yogurt, are key factors affecting tyrosine levels. In addition, dairy products can help the brain reduce oxidative stress.
- Berries. Dark fruits and vegetables are the best products you can eat to protect your brain from the effects of aging.
- Bananas. One banana contains the amount of glucose your brain needs for the whole day.
- Salmon. Salmon is rich in omega-3, protein, group B vitamins, and iron, all of them help to maintain memory, concentration, and reasoning. Your brain has sixty percent of fatty acids and salmon contains the best of them (DHA).
- Eggplant. The nutrients contained in the aubergines keep your brain toned, improving the connection between brain cells and sending molecules.
- Spinach. A diet rich in spinach slows the age-related decline in brain activity and can significantly improve learning ability and memory.
- Whole Grain Foods. Whole-grain bread and cereals have a higher percentage of folic acid than other carbohydrate variants. Folic acid increases blood flow to the brain, keeps it at peak levels throughout the day.
- Walnuts. Walnuts contain about 15-20% protein, as well as omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, and vitamin B6 – all of which are important for your overall health.
- Raw Carrots. Raw carrots have a low glycemic index, which means that the glucose contained in them slowly breaks down and helps keep your brain at a constant pace throughout the day.
- Broccoli. Broccoli contains huge amounts of nutrients, including a large dose of vitamin K.
Some products can destroy your brain and impair your reaction time. Even if you can’t keep a diet with the right products, try to avoid those harmful products. If you want to know how to increase reaction time, you should avoid these food:
- Refined Sugar
Refined sugar is a 99% simple carbohydrate without vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and other nutrients. It has only energy value. Sugar being a rapidly digestible and very caloric product: its caloric value is approximately 4 kcal per 1 gram. The consumption of sugar leads to the depletion of chromium, which is responsible for metabolic processes in the body. It regulates blood glucose levels, prevents the development of atherosclerosis, and has other useful properties.
- Trans Fats (chips, fast food, all butter-fried products, ice cream, margarine, semi-finished products, sausages, industrial confectionery, margarine-based bakery, etc.). Trans fats are modified molecules that appear in unsaturated (vegetable) oils during high-temperature treatment. Trans fats were also found in nature in minimum quantities. But during the industrial processing of oils, their share can rise to 20-50%. Studies show that trans fats are harmful to health. Regular consumption of even small doses of trans fats disrupts normal metabolism (increasing the need for Omega-3), provokes obesity, and leads to the development of cardiovascular disease and increases low cholesterol. In many countries around the world (from the USA and Europe to Latin America), food manufacturers are required to report the trans-fats content on their packaging. In addition, the maximum daily dose of such fats is determined – about 3-4 g per day. Trans fats are contained in all vegetable oils that have been secondary heated to high temperatures. In addition, trans fats can be generated in fatty foods by reheating them – for example in a microwave oven. Margarine and any foods that contain it are particularly dangerous. If margarine itself contains a minimum amount of trans fats, frying or baking can significantly increase the amount of harmful carcinogens in it. If you eat trans fats every day, it will destroy your reaction time.
- Alcohol. Alcohol is a dangerous poison to the body. It affects virtually all systems and organs, concentrating more on the brain, liver, and pancreas. By accumulating in cells, ethanol decomposition products prevent a person from making balanced decisions and responding quickly in emergency situations. Those skills are particularly important for everyone. Our life requires maximum concentration and attention. Alcohols are those drinks that contain ethanol. Today, there are a huge number of them. Most of them are produced by using the fermentation process. Alcoholic drinks soothe and suppress the nervous system. It affects the perception mechanisms and response. For example, driving under the influence of alcohol poses a potential threat to themselves and others.
- Fatty Meat. Fatty food and especially meat affects on your mind and metabolism. As stated above, trans fats are generated in fatty foods by reheating them. It destroys your body and impairs reaction time. Fat food can be very useful only in limited quantities. It’s always better to cook or bake meat than to fry.
- Coffee, Tea, Energy Drinks.
- Caffeine is a stimulant that can be addictive if you consume it regularly in excess amounts. This substance is often called “the most popular legal drug in the world.” It’s no secret that caffeine excites the nervous system when we’re awake. If you drink coffee or tea six hours before bed, your biological cycle is likely to be affected. If you completely exclude coffee from your menu, your body will not get overexcited. First, you’ll fall asleep more easily. By the way, for people suffering from insomnia, coffee is generally contraindicated. Secondly, you’ll sleep better, which makes it easier to get up in the morning. And as a bonus, you’ll just look more rested, no bruises under your eyes. Of course, it’s only about mood swings and heightened irritability. As we said before, caffeine is a pathogen for our nervous system. Excluding an invigorating drink from the diet will lead to stabilization of the emotional background.
- Most people drink coffee to cheer up or just to wake up, If you give up on drinking coffee, you will have much more energy in the morning. Caffeine causes the body to produce adrenaline, which leads to a burst of energy. However, you will need more and more stimulants every time with constant coffee consumption. In addition, coffee is able to block cortisol. This hormone is forming in your body during the day and helps you wake up in the morning and fall asleep in the evening. In the morning, the cortisol level in the body is the highest. It is usually produced from 6 to 9 a.m., the peak is 8 to 9 a.m. So if you drink coffee all the time in the morning and block cortisol, the invigorating effect will be short-lived and the feeling of drowsiness will reach you very soon. A cup of coffee can be useful once a month. Coffee can improve your reaction time for a few hours, then your reaction will impair without a new dose.
- Medicines. It can be useful to use medicines sometimes. It is the same drug, as a coffee or even worse. You don’t need to drink sleeping pills every day or drink laxatives often. People shouldn’t drink antibiotics without a doctor’s appointment, try to avoid self-treatment. You shouldn’t take frequent head or pressure pills. These drugs only have a short-term effect. In the long term, you have to solve your health issue. Medicines will only remove symptoms for a while. You need to improve your lifestyle and you won’t need the medication.
Unlike reflexes, which are not processed by the brain, reaction times can be improved and enhanced through lifestyle changes. Cognitive exercise, meditation and mindfulness, and nutritional supplements are all factors that can increase reaction time in a safe and healthy way.
One theory is that slow reaction times may reflect a deterioration of other bodily systems, such as the brain and nervous system. Perhaps people who react more slowly are also less healthy or forget to do things that could keep them healthy.
A main effect of hunger on total attitude reaction time was found, suggesting that reaction times for both food and people are faster when participants are hungry; this effect is stronger for food.
A study in South Korea found that vitamin C supplementation improved attention, work motivation and reaction time in young adults.
Nina Burkovskaya is a senior content writer at Raisetwice since 2020. She has 12 years of yoga experience and 5 years experience of motivational coaching. On a free time loves to read biographies of the famous people and go for a walk with her dog.