Here, how to reignite your mind through food—and one handy wake-up aid.
It's been 18 years since former Happy Days star Anson Williams fell asleep behind the wheel and veered onto the side of the road while driving through California's Palmdale Desert. The experience left the actor-director, best known for his role as Warren (Potsie) Weber, shaken to the core. "I only woke up when I started bouncing around," Williams, 68, recalls. "I'm lucky to be alive."
With that life-altering experience came a determination to combat drowsy driving, the reported cause of one in every five car accidents. Williams enlisted the help of his uncle, Dr. Henry Heimlich (yes, creator of the Heimlich manoeuvre), who encouraged him to keep lemon slices in his car and bite into one any time he felt sluggish.
"He explained how the citric acid in a lemon hits the lingual nerve [at the centre of the tongue] and wakes your brain up instantly," Williams says. "You know how you go to a doctor's office and they test your reflexes by tapping your knees? It's the same thing. It's an automatic reaction."
And its effects are quicker than most people's go-to: caffeine. "Coffee takes about 20 minutes to take effect," Williams says. "You could be dead three times [over] by that time."
Williams and his business partner Joanna Connell developed Alert Drops (US $18, www.alertdrops.com), a pocket-sized wake-up aid—using citric acid from lemon juice and natural preservatives—that requires only a simple spritz to the tongue to induce a natural adrenalin jolt.
"It took almost killing myself to learn all this," Williams says. "It's all very old science—all we did was take the information and create a more convenient way of distributing it. During one of my last phone calls [with Heimlich] before he passed away in December 2016, he said, 'Anson, this will save more lives than the Heimlich manoeuvre.'"
Click through for seven more brain boosters to add to your grocery cart.
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