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Next Time You Don’t Get Enough Sleep, Try This Quick Trick To Restore Brain Energy

Next Time You Don’t Get Enough Sleep, Try This Quick Trick To Restore Brain Energy

Lots of people don’t get enough sleep in today’s society due to long working hours, stress, and insomnia. A lack of sleep will make you feel tired and bleary, making it harder for you to focus and concentrate. This can mean you end up wasting the whole day to due low energy levels, but researchers think they may have found a surprising solution.

It appears that knowing that you are not sleeping enough can actually make you feel more lethargic. Thinking that you don’t get enough sleep may make the symptoms of tiredness worse, highlighting the power of the mind over the body.

The study, which was recently published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology,[1] tested the effects of “placebo sleep” on participants and found that it is an effective way to reduce tiredness.

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But what is placebo sleep? And how can it help you? Here is everything that you need to know about the study.

Placebo Sleep: The Study

Researchers from Colorado College decided to test the effects of “placebo sleep” on participants to see if it would reduce tiredness. They began by asking participants to report how deeply they slept the night before, and then the researchers talked to the participants about the importance of REM sleep.

The researchers said that adults normally spend between 20% and 25% of their sleep in REM sleep, and that people who have less REM sleep tended to have a lower performance on learning tests, whereas people who spend over 25% of their sleep in REM sleep tended to perform better on learning tests.

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After this conversation, the participants were hooked up to equipment that they believed read their heart rate, pulse, and brainwave frequency. In reality, the machine only measured their brainwave activity. The participants were told that these readings would show the researchers how much REM sleep they had the night before, but this wasn’t true.

The participants were all told that they either spent 16.2% or 28.7% of their sleep in REM sleep. This also wasn’t true.

The participants then took learning tests that measured their auditory attention and speed of processing. Both of these skills can be affected by sleep deprivation.

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The results found that the participants who thought they had an above-average amount of REM sleep performed better on the tests than those who were told that their REM sleep was below average. This fascinating result shows the power of placebo sleep, and now many people are wondering if they can use placebo sleep to improve their energy and concentration levels.

The Benefits Of Placebo Sleep For People Who Don’t Get Enough Sleep

It is clear that placebo sleep can be used to improve cognitive performance. The study found that people who believe that they are well rested are more likely to perform better, even if they don’t get enough sleep. On the other hand, people who think that they are tired and sleep deprived are likely to have reduced cognitive skills.

This study shows the power of the mind. Placebo sleep can be used by anyone to help restore their brain energy, and even their cognitive function in general. This may be useful to people who occasionally don’t get enough sleep due to stress or long working hours, as they can consciously make the effort to think “I did sleep enough last night,” so they are more alert and productive.

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However it is important to remember that while placebo sleep is useful for people who struggle to sleep sometimes, it is not recommended for people who suffer from long-term insomnia. If you suffer from insomnia, make sure to speak to your doctor or GP about causes and treatments.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via pexels.com

Reference

[1]National Center for Biotechnology Information: Placebo sleep affects cognitive functioning

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Amy Johnson

Freelance writer, editor and social media manager.

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Last Updated on October 29, 2018

What Causes Brain Fog? (7 Things You Can Do to Prevent and Stop It)

What Causes Brain Fog? (7 Things You Can Do to Prevent and Stop It)

Brain fog is more of a symptom than a medical condition itself, but this doesn’t mean it should be ignored. Brain fog is a cognitive dysfunction, which can lead to memory problems, lack of mental clarity and an inability to focus.

Many often excuse brain fog for a bad day, or get so used to it that they ignore it. Unfortunately, when brain fog is ignored it ends up interfering with work and school. The reason many ignore it is because they aren’t fully aware of what causes it and how to deal with it.

It’s important to remember that if your brain doesn’t function fully — nothing else in your life will. Most people have days where they can’t seem to concentrate or forget where they put their keys.

It’s very normal to have days where you can’t think clearly, but if you’re experiencing these things on a daily basis, then you’re probably dealing with brain fog for a specific reason.

So what causes brain fog? It can be caused by a string of things, so we’ve made a list things that causes brain fog and how to prevent it and how to stop it.

1. Stress

It’s no surprise that we’ll find stress at the top of the list. Most people are aware of the dangers of stress. It can increase blood pressure, trigger depression and make us sick as it weakens our immune system.

Another symptom is mental fatigue. When you’re stressed your brain can’t function at its best. It gets harder to think and focus, which makes you stress even more.

Stress can be prevented by following some simple steps. If you’re feeling stressed you should avoid caffeine, alcohol and nicotine — even though it may feel like it helps in the moment. Two other important steps are to indulge in more physical activities and to talk to someone about it.

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Besides that, you can consider keeping a stress diary, try relaxation techniques like mediation, getting more sleep and maybe a new approach to time management.

2. Diet

Most people know that the right or wrong diet can make them gain or loss weight, but not enough people think about the big impact a specific diet can have on one’s health even if it might be healthy.

One of the most common vitamin deficiencies is vitamin B12 deficiency and especially vegans can be get hid by brain fog, because their diet often lacks the vitamin B-12. The vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to mental and neurological disorders.

The scary thing is that almost 40 % of adults are estimated to lack B12 in their diet. B12 is found in animal products, which is why many vegans are in B12 deficiency, but this doesn’t mean that people need animal products to prevent the B12 deficiency. B12 can be taken as a supplement, which will make the problem go away.

Another vital vitamin that can cause brain fog is vitamin D. More than 1 billion people worldwide don’t have enough vitamin D in their diet. Alongside B12 and vitamin D is omega-3, which because of its fatty acids helps the brain function and concentrate. Luckily, both vitamin D and omega-3 can be taken as supplements.

Then there’s of course also the obvious unhealthy foods like sugar. Refined carbohydrates like sugar will send your blood sugar levels up, and then send you right back down. This will lead to brain fog, because your brain uses glucose as its main source of fuel and once you start playing around with your brain — it gets confused.

Besides being hit by brain fog, you’ll also experience tiredness, mood swings and mental confusion. So, if you want to have clear mind, then stay away from sugar.

Sometimes the same type of diet can be right for some and wrong for others. If you’re experiencing brain fog it’s a good idea to seek out your doctor or a nutritionist. They can take some tests and help you figure out which type of diet works best for your health, or find out if you’re lacking something specific in your diet.

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3. Allergies

If you have food allergies, or are simply a bit sensitive to specific foods, then eating those foods can lead to brain fog. Look out for dairy, peanuts and aspartame that are known to have a bad effect on the brain.

Most people get their calories from corn, soy and wheat — and big surprise — these foods are some of the most common foods people are allergic to. If you’re in doubt, then you can look up food allergies[1] and find some of the most common symptoms.

If you’re unsure about being allergic or sensitive, then you can start out by cutting out a specific food from your diet for a week or two. If the brain fog disappears, then you’re most likely allergic or sensitive to this food. The symptoms will usually go away after a week or two once you remove the trigger food from the diet.

If you still unsure, then you should seek out the help of your doctor.

4. Lack of sleep

All of us know we need sleep to function, but it’s different for everybody how much sleep they need. A few people can actually function on as little as 3-4 hours of sleep every night, but these people are very, very rare.

Most people need 8 to 9 hours of sleep. If you don’t get the sleep you need, then this will interfere with your brain and you may experience brain fog.

Instead of skipping a few hours of sleep to get ahead of things you need to do, you’ll end up taking away productive hours from your day, because you won’t be able to concentrate and your thoughts will be cloudy.

Many people have trouble sleeping but you can help improve your sleep by a following a few simple steps.

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There is the 4-7-8 Breathing Exercise, which is a technique that regulates your breath and helps you fall asleep faster. Another well-known technique is to avoid bright lights before you go to sleep.

A lot of us are guilty of falling asleep with the TV on or with our phone right by us, but the blue lights from these screens suppresses the production of melatonin in our bodies, which actually makes us stay awake longer instead. If you’re having trouble going to sleep without doing something before you close your eyes, then try taking up reading instead.

If you want to feel more energized throughout the day, start doing this.

5. Hormonal changes

Brain fog can be triggered by hormonal changes. Whenever your levels of progesterone and estrogen increases, you may experience short-term cognitive impairment and your memory can get bad.

If you’re pregnant or going through menopause, then you shouldn’t worry too much if your mind suddenly starts to get a bit cloudy. Focus on keeping a good diet, getting enough of sleep and the brain fog should pass once you’re back to normal.

6. Medication

If you’re on some medication, then it’s very normal to start experiencing some brain fog.

You may start to forget things that you used to be able to remember, or you get easily confused. Maybe you can’t concentrate the same way that you used to. All of these things can be very scary, but you shouldn’t worry too much about it.

Brain fog is a very normal side effect of drugs, but by lowering your dosage or switching over to another drug; the side effect can’t often be improved and maybe even completely removed.

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7. Medical condition

Brain fog can often be a symptom of a medical condition. Medical conditions that include inflammation, fatigue, changes in blood glucose level are known to cause brain fog.

Conditions like chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, anemia, depression, diabetes, migraines, hypothyroidism, Sjögren syndrome, Alzheimer’s disease, Lupus and dehydration can all cause brain fog.[2]

The bottom line

If you haven’t been diagnosed, then never start browsing around Google for the conditions and the symptoms. Once you start looking for it; it’s very easy to (wrongfully) self-diagnose.

Take a step back, put away the laptop and relax. If you’re worried about being sick, then always check in with your doctor and take it from there.

Remember, the list of things that can cause brain fog is long and it can be something as simple as the wrong diet or not enough sleep.

Featured photo credit: Asdrubal luna via unsplash.com

Reference

[1]Food Allergy: Common Allergens
[2]HealthLine: 6 Possible Causes of Brain Fog

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