What do stress, sleep deprivation, hormonal changes, and poor diet have in common? They’re all possible causes for brain fog.1 Also known as mental fatigue, brain fog is a type of cognitive dysfunction with symptoms such as lack of focus, clarity, memory, and attention.
We all have moments of fatigue and burnout. The pressure to perform and succeed in today’s society causes many of us to work longer hours, sleep less, and often neglect our healthy eating habits. With so many demands, it’s easy to see why so many people feel overwhelmed and drained.
Canada’s chiropractors are specially trained to relieve pain and restore normal function to the spine, joints and supporting structures of the body. But did you know they are also trained to provide lifestyle and nutritional counselling?
“As a chiropractor, we treat people, not just symptoms,” explains Dr. Kyle Aram, DC. “It is important to consider the overall health of each patient when creating a treatment plan. You cannot separate mental health from physical health.”
To his patients, Dr. Aram recommends a four-step approach to reducing stress and improving mental health, two things he says can have a profound impact on patient recovery and pain management.
Here is what he suggests2:
Reduce inflammation in your diet
Inflammation can come from a variety of sources, including processed meats, sugary drinks and gluten. Speak with a registered nutritionist to customize a diet that is right for you and your body.
Increase physical activity
Adding more physical activity into your daily routine lowers the risk of depression and anxiety by releasing “feel-good” neurotransmitters into the brain. It also decreases inflammation and improves cardiovascular health, which reduces the need for certain medications. Try increasing your physical stamina by joining a class at your local gym.
We all know sleep is important, but how exactly do we get more Zzzz’s?
“Avoid blue light from computers and phone screens for two hours before going to bed,” says Dr. Aram. “Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep for optimal brain recovery, and avoid sleeping on your stomach with your head kinked to the side.”
Some additional tips include making sure the room is pitch black, the bed is comfortable, the room is at the appropriate temperature, and noise is kept at a minimum.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed and don’t know how to calm the mental chatter, try meditating for 10 minutes every morning. Using diaphragmatic breathing can help slow the heartbeat and stabilize blood pressure.
“Practice mindfulness, gratitude, affirmations, and self-compassion,” suggests Dr. Aram. “Challenge your mind with puzzles, strategy games and creative projects, and avoid excessive caffeine and alcohol consumption.”
1 “Brain Fog: 6 Potential Causes.” Healthline, Healthline Media, www.healthline.com/health/brain-fog#causes. 2 Aram, Kyle. “Dr. Kyle: 4 Easy Steps to Get Rid of Brain Fog.” Forward Health, 6 Feb. 2019, www.forwardhealth.ca/dr-kyle-4-easy-steps-to-get-rid-of-brain-fog/.