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Fighting Brain Fog

How do you fight brain fog?

Do you have problems focusing at work or in school? Do you ever stop yourself in the middle of the day and forget where you have just been or where you just put that stack of papers down two minutes ago? Do you ever drift away when driving and wonder how you just drove five miles without knowing it?

If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, you may be suffering from a phenomenon called brain fog, which may likely be related to a lack of sleep. I know this because it used to happen frequently to me. Before I was diagnosed as having obstructive sleep apnea, I would experience brain fog regularly—even if I had slept for 10 hours the night before!

Thankfully, brain fog usually occurs while doing “mindless” tasks such as walking from one room to another or while driving. People in brain fog usually are subconsciously alert enough to respond and reflexes are usually intact, but it is annoying and could potentially be deadly behind the wheel of a car or, worse yet, a tractor-trailer rig. Brain fog is often a sign of a disturbance to the quality of sleep a person gets rather than the quantity of sleep.

Poor quality sleep, often caused by medical conditions called UARS (upper airway resistance syndrome), OSA (obstructive sleep apnea), and CSA (central sleep apnea), not only causes brain fog, but it can also compromise overall health. For example, the health of your heart, arteries, and veins depends on healthy sleep. The ability to fight cancer and disease also is compromised by lack of healthy sleep. Also, the aging process is sped up by poor quality sleep.

Fortunately, a simple home sleep test can identify whether or not you suffer from a sleep disorder. Even simpler than that, just ask your sleeping partner if you keep them up at night by loud snoring or gasping for air. If the answer is “yes,” please ask your physician or dentist if a sleep test is needed and what treatments are available. In my case, a comfortable oral appliance helps me get great sleep these days.

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