Brain fog isn’t a medical condition, but rather a symptom of cognitive dysfunction and is caused by
dying brain cells. The World Health Organization estimates that the number of cases of dementia is estimated to more than triple by 2050.
Did you know that your brain stops growing at around 25 years of age. When you reach 35 years old, your brain starts to shrink by 0.5% (half a percent) a year. By the time you reach 55, 10% of your brain will be gone, 20% by age 75. And, this brain shrinkage isn’t because you are “getting old”, it is Lifestyle related!
The good news is that Brain decay can be reversed - no matter how old you are.
How, There are 3 Habits that you are doing every day that damages your brain, memory and overall health. These habits increase stress that destroys your brain, make you sick more often and causes dementia.
BAD HABIT #1: LACK OF SLEEP
Your body needs over 7 hours per day of sleep. Sleep Quality is more important than Quantity. It’s at sleep that your body heals and your brain flushes out toxins to help improve brain functions.
Your brain shrinks by around 60% in volume to make room for the lymph nutrients that bathes our neurons in the brain. These neurons are critical for the connections and network that drives our body. It is this Glymphatic System which is made to work at Sleep.
For most of us, a normal sleep duration of 7-8 hours will include 4-7 cycles of sleep.
During the first half of the night (think 10pm to 2 am), you get more deep sleep (Body Heals)
and in the second half of the night (think 2 am to 6 am), you get more REM sleep (Mind Refreshes).
In deep sleep, the body heals. In REM sleep, the mind refreshes.
Here are some Helpful Tips for getting a good night's sleep;
Waking up and going to be the same time each day
Your bed should only be used for sleep and sex not watching TV
Sleep with your bed raised at head to allow for lymph drainage.
Massage the Lymph nodes in the neck to promote circulation.
Cool and darken your bedroom at night.
Refrain from computer screens or watching TV before bed
Hide your phone, clock and other stressors which increase cortisol levels at night
Don’t drink alcohol, as it disrupts your sleep cycles
Create a relaxing routine - have a bath, read a book, perform breathing exercises.
BAD HABIT # 2 POOR NUTRITION - BAD DIET
Diet plays an important role in staying healthy including combating brain fog. A lack of proper nutrition increases stressors in the body. Some of the main foods to reduce are:
Parts of the brain linked to memory, learning, and mental health are smaller in people who eat junk food. Berries, nuts, whole grains, and green leafy vegetables should be part of your daily diet as it preserves brain function and slows mental deterioration. A Vitamin B-12 supplement also is useful in supporting brain function
Sugar is not a stable source of energy for the brain & increases insulin and adrenaline which increases stress and anxiety, and leaves your body exhausted and depressed.
Salt is bad - if in excess. We get enough of this essential mineral naturally from our foods and don’t need to consume extra. Stop consuming processed and packaged foods as these foods include over twice as much of the daily recommended salt you need.
Trans fats are dangerous to brain health. Do not eat fried foods, margarine, microwave popcorn, frozen dinners, ice cream, cookies and crackers.
Other food allergy triggers include:
MSG, aspartame, peanuts, and dairy
Remove these trigger foods from your diet and your brain health will improve.
BAD HABIT # 3 LACK OF EXERCISE / OR MOVEMENT
We were meant to move. The longer you go without regular exercise, the more likely you are to have dementia. In addition, you are more likely to get diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure - all of which are linked to Alzheimer’s. Plus, the more you move the more energy your mitochondria makes - supplying your body with the energy source it needs
Learning to Move is more important than learning to read and write. Your Mind and Body are One. And you don’t have to start running a marathon. Going for a brisk walk, a nature hike or a 20 minute bodyweight workout is all you need to get started.
So, realize that “Getting Old” is NOT an age number it’s a functional ability (cognitive ability) to do complex movements. You are Never too Old to get moving. Spend at least half an hour most days of the week being physically active.
THE END RESULT
All of these bad habits have one thing in common - they affect our Stress levels.
Your body doesn’t know the difference between physical stress, emotional stress or chemical stress. When your body can’t adapt, it goes into inflammation - not just your brain but other parts of the body. This affects your Sympathetic state (fight or flight response). Over time this becomes chronic stress - it’s go, go, go….and overtime your body breaks down.
So how do change and get into that parasympathetic state - the relaxed and resting state?
Meditation directly counteracts the fight-or-flight response triggered by stress, calming your state of mind, and reducing the inflammation and stress that leads to premature aging and disease. Meditation exercises your brain, it helps to detoxify the brain and reduce stress and anxiety. Meditation helps you feel balanced and relaxed.
A key factor to effective meditation is focusing on your breath. You learn to pay attention to the breath as it goes in and out, noticing when your mind wanders from this task. This helps to build mindfulness and gives your brain and organs a much-needed boost of oxygen, it slows your heart rate, and can lower or stabilize your blood pressure.
By adding Meditation and/or Breathing exercises into a regular routine, this becomes a healthy habit that helps counteract Memory loss and improves overall health. This will also help combat some of our bad habits - like lack of quality sleep, stress or binge eating, and can make you feel more energetic so that you move more. Your body and brain will love it.
Use it NOT Lose it!