Cognitive abilities are a core set of skills relating to perception, attention, learning and memory, decision making, and language abilities, which are key to normal human functioning and performance. Importantly, cognitive abilities allow us to acquire new knowledge and skills, to manipulate information, and to reflect and think logically. Thus, it goes without saying that they are also crucial for an esports athlete’s performance. 

Quick and accurate perception and sustained attention are for example necessary for an adequate judgement of a situation and thus optimal decisions. Moreover, fast decision-making processes and the translation of their results into motor reactions underlie fast reaction times and a low number of mistakes. Last, adequate long-term storage of newly acquired skills and knowledge ensures that we can make the best of our potential in the long run.

While an individual’s cognitive abilities are to some extent genetically determined and thus cannot be changed, we can optimise our behaviour to get the best out of what mother nature provided us with. For example, when we are hungry or thirsty, we often find it difficult to deliver the best performance. 

Fortunately, this can usually be remedied quickly. However, there are factors that require a bit more planning and self-care and one of them is sleep. Sufficient sleep of adequate quality is known to be crucial for optimal cognitive performance. For adults, experts therefore recommend planning for seven to nine hours per night, depending on your individual sleep needs.