How To Improve Reaction Time – 9 Surefire Ways

How To Improve Reaction Time

Reaction time is a key component of your brain’s function especially when it comes to the activities you engage in through the daily routines.  

Activities such as sports and games require a super reaction time, and the good news is that there is always a lot that you can do to improve your reaction time.  

Go through this post to understand the various initiatives you can take to improve your reaction time significantly.  

How To Improve Reaction Time With Normal Activities

Luckily, quick reaction times are possible with normal activities, most of which may never require a lot of investment or adjusting your daily routine in any substantial way.  

Interesting activities such as taekwondo combats, simulated combats, speed training sessions, and drinking enough water will have positive effects on behavior such as neuromuscular behavior and lead to a significant improvement in your average reaction over a period of time. These 9 tips, largely based on peer-reviewed studies and experimental trials will help you get started.  

1. Practice a sport

It does not matter which sport, just pick any sport that excites you that you feel you can enjoy participating in, then practice it passionately. It could be boxing, football, tennis, racing, skating, etc. Once you pick a sport, identify one area of focus that you would like to become so good at. For example, if it is football, you might choose to focus on goal scoring. Start slowly then increase the intensity of training sessions. 

Your brain tends to focus better when you give it a specific goal instead of leaving it with a stream of goals. A focused, regular training program will achieve the highest levels of reaction time. Reflexes are largely involuntary movements, and so a focused practice activates them, enabling the memory’s muscles to develop and turn your reactions into a normal part of your life.

2. Sleep enough

The recommended sleep time for a healthy body and good sleep hygiene is 7-8 hours of sleep per day and yes, if you are wondering how to improve reaction time then good sleep is a component of reaction time. A daily dose of good sleep is one of the surefire ways to get to raving reaction time levels including reaction time in children.

Of course, the modern busy schedules for most people mean that it may never be possible to get enough sleep each day consistently. The solution is to plan your time effectively such that you are always able to afford at least the recommended amount of sleep per day. Always make a point of compensating for sleep loss as soon as your schedule eases out. Consistent good sleep is 100% guaranteed to increase your reaction time drastically.  

3. Get training sessions on repetitive tasks

If you have ever watched sports persons like athletes during their sessions of training, you might have noticed that they normally perform the same drills repeatedly over a period of time. Do you know why? Well, the purpose of those repetitions is to improve reaction time. 

When you do one thing repeatedly, you activate the central nervous system. The effect of this activation can be likened to that of a stimulus-response. The more you train on a particular action, the stronger the connections between the brain and the body and this improves reaction time. Sprinters, for instance, train repeatedly to respond quickly to the starting sound. Police on guard may train to listen to alarm sounds or train their eyes to quickly see risky movements. 

4. Drink enough water

We have always been told that water is life because it plays many critical roles that are key for optimal performance of the body functions. The brain’s reaction is optimal when there is enough water in the body. You may have had those moments when your brain feels exhausted but suddenly feels active as soon as you take water. Well, this is because the brain tends to shrink due to dehydration or lack of water in the body. 

The brain cannot respond effectively to any signal when it’s not healthy and water is one of the ingredients that contribute to a healthy brain. Never wait until you feel thirsty to drink water. By the time you feel thirsty, your body is already dehydrated. So the trick is to always take water at all times, never leaving your body to get to the thirsty point. Experts recommend at least 2 liters of water per day. 

5. Try difficult activities

When you want to become the best at something, then go hard at it. This has been proven to be true across all fields. The best programmer is the one who goes for the tough code. The best athletic performance is achieved through tough training sessions. The best footballer is always on the field practicing those difficult shots.  

Human performance increases significantly when the body and especially the brain are exposed to difficult tasks. Aspects such as cognitive performance are greatly boosted. This is why, for instance, an athlete who suddenly stops training will soon start experiencing performance decrements. 

When you engage in a tough activity, the brain gets used to the motions, and that activity becomes natural to the brain over time. Once the brain interprets something as natural for it, your reaction time improves because it no longer interprets it as a complex task. At this level, you can easily perform a seemingly difficult task at astoundingly higher speeds. 

6. Practice reacting to signals

Some signals can have positive effects on reaction times. Find a task where you can easily control your mind to get used to reacting to signals that need quick attentional control. Good examples include gunshots, bells which are a good control signal, or whips. This helps the brain to become better at processing and reacting quickly to audio stimuli. The auditory reaction times will increase abundantly. 

There will be noticeable difference when you consistently get your brain to get used to such signals that need extremely quick attention. You will gradually get rid of shorter reaction times and greatly improve your physical reactions.  

7. Take more eggs and spinach 

Tyrosine is a substance that is mostly found in eggs and vegetables such as spinach. Studies have established that this substance plays a role in improving the reaction time which is a key primary task of the brain.

Fortunately, spinach and eggs are not the kinds of foods that you can struggle to find. Even with a small budget, you can easily manage to sustain a regular intake of these foods which will then lead to good improvement in your reaction time. 

8. Play computer games

Yes, so many people love to play computer games especially video games so this should not be hard to accomplish for game lovers and even those who don’t fancy games. Of course, games have their well-documented negative effects such as addiction and time-wasting if overdone. But it doesn’t hurt to take off a couple of minutes and play a good video game as this can improve your reaction time.  

A scientific study conducted by the University of Rochester established a link between playing video games and making quick decisions which is a direct result of quick reaction. A fast reaction time helps the brain to think quickly and make decisions fast which is good for your daily life. 

The many response task activities that occur during a game such as a cursor movement task and visual search task tend to activate the brain and gradually get it to high reaction times. Be sure to use a healthy video screen to avoid straining. 

9. Don’t be tense

It is natural to get tense at times depending on the circumstances of the moment. While this is normal, you need to bear in mind that tension slows down your reaction time. The more tense you are, the more your muscles slow down thus slowing down your reaction time. 

This is why, for instance, combat sports training puts a lot of emphasis on relaxing which can be a tough thing to achieve for starters. The purpose is to relax but while alert at the same time for a better physical response. Practice relaxing techniques such as meditation or something as easy as just chilling out and paying attention to your breathing rhythm. Physical fitness is also key to attaining relaxation.


The average reaction time for a human being is between 200-300 milliseconds. You can easily achieve faster reaction times by practicing these simple reaction time tips. There are tools online that can help you measure your reaction time. If it turns out that your reaction time is way below the normal human reaction time, then of course you need to work on it by applying the above tips on how to improve reaction time.  

Did you find these tips useful? Please don’t forget to share with your friends on social media and help them learn how to improve reaction time. Feel free to add to this list via comments. 

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