- Dr. Nancy
Does Brain Fog Keep You Fumbling Through The Haze?
Do you ever deal with a lack of clarity, sluggishness, or an inability to concentrate? Sometimes, the best way to describe it is just feeling "fuzzy" or “hazy”. I'm confident this is something we've all felt at times, but if you deal with this regularly, it's time to get to the root of the brain fog so you can feel top-notch.
Brain fog can be characterized by a lack of concentration, an inability to make decisions, frequent headaches, and nausea, to name a few. Is this something you struggle with regularly?
A few common causes of brain fog could range from a nutrient deficiency, lack of proper sleep, ingesting an abundance of sugar, a thyroid condition (or other hormone imbalance), or even depression. Inactivity and chronic stress can also unleash brain fog, so there are a lot of factors at play when nailing down what's causing your brain fog.
Luckily, you don't have to keep your head in the clouds for too long. Here's what you can do about it.
Ditch the sugar
I know, I know. Easier said than done, right? Sugar might give you an initial boost, but what comes next is the energy plummet. Simple carbohydrates that have a high glycemic load can also slow you down and make you feel sluggish. Sugar hijacks your brain and creates a vicious cycle of craving more.
Try intermittent fasting
It's well-known for helping you lose stubborn weight, but intermittent fasting can also improve your neurological well-being through autophagy. Autophagy is the process of cleaning your cells and it is stimulated by fasting.
You can ease into intermittent fasting by extending the timeframe between the last meal you eat in one day and the first meal you eat on the next day. A popular intermittent fasting method is 16:8, which means you're fasting for 16 hours and eating within an 8-hour window. For example, this would pan out by eating dinner at 6pm and not eating again until 10am the next day.
Try food first
Food really is the way to balance your health. You need to make sure you are getting enough of the food your brain needs to work optimally. Eat food that is high in omega-3 fatty acids like wild Alaskan salmon, rich in antioxidants found in fruit and vegetables, and whole foods loaded with vitamins and minerals like dark leafy greens for your best brain health.
Through no fault of our own, many of our jobs require us to log long hours behind a desk. Increased activity levels are known for boosting your mental acuity, so even if your schedule truly is packed, there are still things you can do to get moving.
Take a 10-minute walk around the office a few times a day to stretch your legs and get your blood moving, or spend your lunch break getting some activity in. Walk a few extra blocks to and from work. Take the stairs rather than the elevator if possible. All those extra steps help to keep your brain and nervous systems engaged and your blood flowing!
Sleep on it
I don't need to tell you that your body needs enough sleep to function properly. Sleep is one of the most under-rated influencers of your health.
It is when your body is in recover and repair mode. This is critical for the mitochondria in your cells (you know those microscopic powerhouses that produce all of the energy for your body), especially the mitochondria in your brain. Aim to get 8 hours of good quality sleep every night.
Calm your brain with meditation
It can be hard to shut off the noise in your head, which is why many people feel like giving up when they first try meditation. Instead, download some healing frequencies that help you synchronize your brain waves.
Binaural beats are an efficient way to get your brain calmed down and up your ability to focus. You can achieve the benefits of meditation more efficiently. There are also some fantastic apps you can download on your phone, such as Headspace and Calm, which can help you become a meditation pro.
When most people focus on their health, they often put more emphasis on their physical aspects and looking good. But optimal health comes from balancing both physical and mental well-being. Give some of these tips a shot and see what helps lift the brain fog for you.
Caution: If nothing seems to help, though, it is important to schedule an appointment with your doctor to get thoroughly checked out. Brain fog can merely be a symptom of lack of sleep or pushing yourself too hard. But it can also indicate a more serious underlying condition if it persists.