Zoned out/clouded? Snap the fog out of it
Do you often have problems recalling stuff, are unable to focus, or feel confused to the point of frustration — this new year, clear that brain fogUpdated: Jan 02, 2019, 11:22 IST
A lot of us look back on situations where we find ourselves lost for words. Days our mind felt blank, unable to register what a colleague said. The times one forgot someone’s name. Or the embarrassing time when you were about to drop your phone into the sink and your dishes into your bed. Oops!
‘Hey, probably I didn’t get enough sleep last night’, you might scoff initially— but if these episodes happen to you on a regular basis, it hints at something serious. Brain fog is a term used to describe problems with learning, focus and memory leading to the individual feeling confused, frustrated and disoriented.
We got in touch with Dr. Rajesh Kumar, senior consultant – general physician and Dr Prakriti Poddar, mental health expert, to get into what causes it, and how you can deal with it, moving into a new year.
What is brain fog
It is not a medical condition, but a symptom of an undiagnosed medical problem, vaguely classifiable as a cognitive dysfunction. Experts also define it as brain fatigue. The three major symptoms are:
1) Inability to focus
2) Poor memory retention
3) Lack of mental clarity
4) Inability to concentrate
What causes brain fog
1)Lack of sleep: The most obvious reason for you getting brain fog is lack of sleep. You need quality sleep to restore and optimise neural connectivity, which is essential for good memory and learning. Lack of sleep also leads to a drop in alertness levels.
2)Stress:Sleep is the most obvious reason for brain fog, along with stress, where the level of cortisol — the fight-or-flight hormone, is quite high. High level of cortisol leads to inflammation, insomnia and chronic fatigue, culminating in brain fog.
3)Poor diet: For good brain function, your diet needs to be rich in vitamin B12, magnesium, amino acids, calcium and omega-3 fatty acids. At times, certain food allergies and sensitivities can also cause brain fog.
4)Dehydration: : Water makes up around 73% of brain. Dehydration leads to drop in concentration and alertness levels, and disorientation. If you want to stay mentally fresh throughout the day, crank up that water intake.
5)Sedentary lifestyle: : A sedentary lifestyle harms your brain as it doesn’t get enough exercise, since the latter boosts the part of the brain responsible for thinking, learning and reading. Working out reduces inflammation, and releases endorphins — a happy hormone that helps deal with stress and inflammation.