Do you sometimes wake up with a feeling that you have cotton wool in your brain? I do, quite often. Most people call it “brain fog”. On such days I just simply feel like the life is being sucked out of me, slowly. On days like these, I would give up my breakfast, lunch and dinner to help it go away.
Is it only me who suffers from brain fog?
Apparently, I am not alone (which is somehow good to know). There are many people who go through such days. Apart from lack of clarity, other symptoms of brain fog include:
- Lack of concentration
- Feeling sleepy
- Lack of energy
- Feeling stressed
- Sleep issues.
These are some but not all the symptoms which accompany brain fog.
What could be causing brain fog?
I have been trying to figure out what could be causing it by analysing my own lifestyle and ways my body reacts to what happens outside of it and also by speaking to people. While it is difficult to pinpoint a specific cause in each instance, some of the possible causes which I have come up with include:
- Poor sleep
- Stress, especially chronic
- Chronic insomnia
- Blood sugar fluctuations
- Weather changes (atmospheric pressure drops)
- Metabolic issues
- Nutrient deficiency (calcium, magnesium, vitamin D, other minerals and vitamins)
- Certain medications
- Certain medical conditions (fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue)
- Certain treatment procedures (e.g. chemotherapy).
These are just some of the reasons, but not all.
How I used to deal with brain fog (and how I deal with it now)
Before I started making healthy changes, on days I would wake up with brain fog I used to make myself a cup of coffee (I only drink naturally brewed coffee, never instant), but this didn’t use to help. I would go for a walk, but it was not of much help either. Eventually, I would take 2 extra strong paracetamol tablets (with caffeine), my fog would gradually dissipate and some clarity would return.
- For me, change No.1 was to focus on improving my sleep hygiene. My aim is to go to bed 1 hour earlier for a month, and then move it another hour back for month 2 and keep going until I reach 11 pm. To help myself fall asleep faster, I read a book or listen to a meditation track.
- I have a Naturecare Sounds Machine which I switch on just before I go to sleep. The sounds are very soothing, and I go to sleep in no time.
- I am thinking about investing in an aromatherapy oil diffuser. I have found a good one which can be timed. The essential oils which help me most are lavender, patchouli, vetiver, and pine. Apart from lavender, these are deep woody notes which induce relaxation and sleep. I also love ylang-ylang for its sensual, deep, relaxing aroma.
- I take a chelated magnesium supplement ( I take magnesium bisglycinate) before bedtime. It certainly helps me to relax and go to sleep in less time!
- Sometimes, for faster action, I apply magnesium oil to my face, neck, shoulders, back of the head, arms, stomach and legs. Try it – it works really fast.
- I have also decided to try taking an amino acid called “glycine”. It is a non-essential amino-acid produced in our body. Among other things like memory improvement, stress reduction, addressing the metabolic disorder and protection from cancer, it also helps us sleep better. Doctors prescribe it to people who suffer from hypertension since it helps to quickly relax the body and mind and lower the blood pressure. I have been taking it for about a week now, and it definitely helps me sleep through the night and wake up relaxed, with a clear head.
- I drink a glass of water before bedtime and a glass when I wake up. Proper hydration is key to brain clarity.
- I also take 2 Gingko Biloba tablets twice a day. Gingko Biloba has been researched to improve brain circulation, so it’s definitely one of the supplements I take daily.
- When I wake up, I have a cool shower. If my head is heavy, I rub peppermint and rosemary essential oils into my still wet scalp and drink water with a few drops of lemon juice and 3 drops of peppermint oil. This helps me to perk up and focus.
- I do some weight exercises. I have bought myself a pair of dumbells. They send my heart racing and energy going after about 5 minutes of exercise. Definitely worth a try!
- I go cycling. When my head gets foggy, I take a ride. Fresh air and exercise do their trick!
- My other focus is nutrition. When I was following the ketogenic diet, I noticed how it used to bring about brain fog as my blood sugar was getting low. Then after a few days, it used to stabilise. I don’t follow the diet anymore for my own reasons of which I will tell you in another post. However, following it had helped me to realise that I needed to cut down on bread, starchy foods and grains (they are almost out of my diet now) as well as sources of fast glucose. I have done it, and keeping my blood sugar level constant is helping. But as I have said, I will tell you about it in my next post.
What do you do to keep your brain clear, sharp and focused? 😉