Brain fog or mental fog is a term used in conventional medicine denoting an abnormality in the “regulation” of the “overall level of consciousness. For the traveler, crossing time zones or traveling by rail or ship it is a generally annoying, mix of symptoms that can include crankiness, mental clouding, insomnia, unclear thinking, confusion, forgetfulness and even a detached feeling.
With Brain Fog this is how you may feel.
Have no fear…there is hope!
There are a number of things you can do to reduce your chance of getting brain fog.
One of the first places to focus on is eating well.This may not be easy during a trip where different cuisines are rich in a wide and wild variety of ingredients. One thing you can control is brain fog tied to jet lag. One of the best things to do when flying across time zones is to request a low-fat or vegetarian meal ahead of time. Also taking a multivitamin high in B-Complex and magnesium can help a lot.
Its important when making the transition across time zones that you eat some sort of protein with every meal. [Because the body absorbs it more slowly than sugar, eating protein can balance glucose response and prevent you from crashing.] If your meal schedule is topsy-turvy during this part of your travels carry some protein food with you like nuts, sunflower seeds, hard-boiled, eggs, or cottage cheese..
Of course, brain fog is rarely due to just one thing-it’s usually a combination of several things, with stress at the top of the list mainly because you’re asking the brain to do more than it has ever needed to do before.
Sleep or rather lack of it is a big factor in brain fog. Also, most people need eight or more hours of quality sleep. If you are sleep deprived for a day, your brain functions about as well as that of a person who is legally drunk.
Here are a few other things you can do when on the road to help reduce brain fog.
- Sleep on the plane.Catching a few Z’s can make a huge difference. For those looking for a safe and natural approach to getting revitalizing sleep on a plane try an herbal mixture containing valerian or passion flower. You can get this at any natural foods or health food store.
- Exercisealso contributes to a sharp brain. There’s now some evidence that walking at a moderate pace for 20 minutes can improve your circulation and reduce brain fog.
- Nutritional Supplements:A few studies have shown that simple and safe nutritional supplements can also help. One study recommended acetyl-L-carnitine (1-3 grams daily), which nourishes the brain, and coenzyme Q10 (100 mg daily), which helps increase energy. B vitamins are an old standby for the brain, and you can take them with new supplements like phosphatidylserine (PS, 1-2 grams daily) to beat brain fog.
- Try Melatonin:This naturally occurring hormone helps regulate the sleep/wake cycle. Studies have shown that it can help your body adjust to a new times zone. In some studies those who took melatonin showed significant improvement in the reduction of sleep deprivation depression and they also experienced better sleep. Most physicians recommend 2-5 mg of melatonin taken ½ hour before bedtime.
- Stay Hydrated:Dehydration won’t cause jet lag but it can definitely make it worse. Drinking plenty of water is valuable just for counterbalancing dry cabin air. The general rule is that if your lips and mouth feel dry a cup of water. It is also wise to avoid any food with a diuretic effects so that means you will need to stay away from coffee, tea and alcoholic beverages if you want to avoid jet lag.
- Set your watch to the time of your destination: Once you have reset your internal clock you need to also reset your internal clock. Some travelers actually do this 2-3 days before beginning their trip. One tip is if flying east wake up an hour or two earlier so your body won’t be thrown off by the new schedule.These tips should help you have an enjoyable flight and a even more enjoyable journey or vacation.
You can get more tips by listening in to my travel tip radio show “Ask Lewis”. This humorous information based program Hear Lewis Harrison on his NPR (National Public Radio Network) radio show “Ask Lewis”
This is a motivational, educational, informational, inspirational and very funny Radio Show show broadcasts every Thursday at 4:00 – 6:00 PM (EST) at 91.3 FM Roxbury NY and streams internationally on your smart device at WIOXRadio.org
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I hope to meet you sometime in my travels. It may be on a speaking tour, on a cruise or at an airport lounge.
See the world, meet great people and embrace the joy of travel.
About the author: Lewis Harrison is an international bestselling author, speaker, poet, futurist, and world traveler.
He can be reached by e-mail at LewisCoaches@gmail.com
Here is a music video of the Beatles singing about jet lag.
All the best