Underactive Thyroid and Brain Fog

Hypothyroidism sufferers will be all too familiar with the dreaded thick blanket of brain fog.  

That feeling of fogginess in your mind that makes you unable to think clearly. It can feel like a mental block in your mind that can cause you to forget simple things, can make you feel detached, discouraged and even depressed as a result.

You walk into a room and forget why you went in there, you read an email ten times but it still doesn’t register what you just read, you call a friend and forget what you needed to ask. It can affect your everyday life but you CAN take charge.

The common symptoms for brain fog include:

  • Lack of focus/staring into space
  • Difficulty concentrating.
  • Taking more time than usual to process or react to information.
  • Short-term and long-term memory problems.
  • Forgetfulness.
  • Confusion.
  • Difficulty thinking clearly.

The thyroid hormone regulates metabolism in every organ of your body, including your brain. When your thyroid hormone is low, it can affect you in many ways including your ability to concentrate and your overall brain health.

The reason brain fog may occur in hypothyroidism is because your brain requires sufficient levels of thyroid hormone in order to function properly. 

For those already taking medication for your thyroid you can help your mind and body by implementing the following into your daily routine.

Healthy Sleeping Pattern

Establish a sleep schedule and maintain it by going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day. This can be difficult for some hypothyroidism sufferers as insomnia is another symptom of the condition so it can feel like everything is against you. You have brain fog so you’re trying to sleep better but you have insomnia so you can’t sleep better. (So you just cry instead.) It can feel like a massive struggle but this is why you need to be really strict with your schedule and keep it consistent. One hour before bed you need to:

  • Stop using all electronics
  • Brush your teeth/wash your face
  • Do some basic yoga stretches
  • Read a book
  • Get into bed!

Regular Exercise

Exercise activity doesn’t just support your physical wellness but also you mental wellness. Exercising improves oxygenation and blood flow, which is a primary factor in brain function. It also helps to prevent damage associated with stress, brain injury and environmental toxins. You don’t have to go all gym bunny crazy but try to implement the following:

  • Try to aim for a minimum of half an hour of exercise every day. As you get more into it you can increase your routine intensity to challenge your body, get in better shape and promote better thyroid operation and mental health.
  • Try different classes like spin, zumba or yoga to mix things up
  • Aim to exercise at the same time every day (it’s all about establishing a healthy routine.)

Organisation System

To help you with your brain fog it makes sense to write things down so you have them to hand. Use the Notes on your phone or a notepad and pen – whatever works best for you.  Again everything goes back to establishing a routine that will help you feel more in control.

Brain Food

Integrate a range of healthy foods that naturally promote thyroid health. Foods that are high in vitamin B and antioxidants are crucial for thyroid health, as well as foods rich in selenium. Foods with these nutrients include:

  • Blueberries
  • Tomatoes
  • Bell peppers
  • Whole grains
  • Brazil nuts
  • Sunflower seeds

You should keep your intake of fat relatively low or gain most of it from healthy fat food sources, such as nuts and fish. Many of these foods not only actively decrease hypothyroidism, but also improve your memory.

These lifestyle changes are a vital way to naturally improve your health and fight back against memory loss caused by hypothyroidism. Always check with your GP before you make any big changes so they can advise you accordingly.

Do you suffer from brain fog due to hypothyroidism? Let us know in the comments how you cope with it.

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