From an article entitled “Struggling with Brain Fog? Here’s How to Clear your Head” in Explore Real Simple.
A few lifestyle tweaks can help clear out mental clouds
When you were younger— you could easily turn a phrase, name that actress, that restaurant, or your fourth grade teacher. Now that you’re older, however, your brain may not be quite as nimble. Add to that poor diet, an overload of mental input, stress and anxiety, and you may sometimes struggle to find the right words or remember the name of that guy who was in that show about that thing. It’s called “brain fog” and it can be nerve-racking, creating a brain fog anxiety that can send you to Google to search for answers.
So what is brain fog exactly?
It’s when you really just don’t feel like yourself. It’s actually your brain’s way of telling you that something isn’t optimal,” explains Mike Dow, PhD, PsyD, brain health expert and author of The Brain Fog Fix. “It can unfold differently for different people. It could be trouble bringing words to mind, a gray mood, low energy, or forgetfulness.
The good news is that it’s usually just temporary, and with the right lifestyle changes, you can get your brain back on track. We talked to experts to learn what you can do to clear away the brain fog.
Change up your diet
Believe it or not, poor gut health is one of the leading brain fog causes. “There is a ton of emerging research suggesting that the sugar and processed foods, which feed the bad bacteria in our gut, lead to inflammation not only in the body, but in the brain,” explains Sarah Bridges, PhD, a Minnesota-based psychologist. It’s why you may often feel sleepy after a sugary treat or carb-heavy meal.
While you may not want to skip your favorite goodies entirely, experts recommend incorporating more anti-inflammatory foods into your diet. Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables every day, and taking prebiotics and probiotics, can introduce healthy bacteria into the gut, which will help your body produce those brain-boosting neurotransmitters. You’ll also want to make sure you’re getting enough omega-3s, either from clean seafood or supplements, which can also remedy brain fog.
Try intermittent fasting
Intermittent fasting—limiting your eating “window” to 10 hours per day—may also improve brain function. “Intermittent fasting causes new brain cell growth, called neurogenesis. By giving your body a break from digesting, you’re actually giving your brain a break as well.
Alleviate your stress
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These days, our brains are inundated with information from the news, social media, and the constant influx of texts and emails flooding our smartphones. The result is that Our brains are fatigued. When you have too much of a cognitive load—meaning you’re doing too many things at once, or have too much on your mind—it taxes your mental reserves. It’s too much for your brain.
What are “ultradian rhythms”?
According to experts, we have “ultradian rhythms” – cycles that play out during our waking hours. According to experts, research suggests that working in 90-minute intervals, and then taking a break to get water, take a short walk, or make a phone call, can help improve your brain power.
Improve your sleep habits
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Sure, a bad night’s sleep here and there is going to leave you sluggish the next day, but if your overall sleep patterns aren’t optimal, your brain won’t be at its best. Poor sleep habits can hit us in two ways, increasing our stress levels and disrupting the brain’s opportunity to rest and recover, according to the scientists.
Get a walk in
We know that a good workout gets the blood and oxygen flowing through the body, so it makes sense that exercise would also give the brain a boost. According to the scientists, exercise increases blood flow and oxygen to the brain, helping it to perform at its peak. The good news is you don’t always have to hop on a spin bike to get moving. Even a daily walk—an hour is best—can reset your brain.
Play some brain games
According to scientists, when it comes to the brain, the phrase “use it or lose it” is really true. So turn off the mind-numbing TV for an hour and instead, play some solitaire, do a crossword, or play a board game (preferably one with a memory element). Even learning something new—as long as it’s engaging and not stressful—can give your brain a much-needed tune-up.
= = = > RELATED BLOG: 5 Ways to Train Your Brain for Lifelong Mental Fitness > = = =
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