High School & Brain Fog

Insufficient time sleeping can result in people displaying symptoms of ADHD such as brain fog and hyperactivity. 

So, your child is in high school and you are worried about the increase in homework and activities; because he or she struggled with having the energy and clarity to get through middle school. Something needs to change because 4 years of barely passing grades and teachers telling you that your young adult might need Adderall, or that you must not be helping enough will be dreadful. Before going to fill that prescription please consider alternative reasons why they are underperforming and always have their heads in the clouds or can’t sit still.

As parents we should do everything in our power to keep our children off these addicting medications and give them something their body really needs, like a wholesome diet?

Not only does diet play a big role in the emotional and physical health of our children but so does the amount of sleep a child receives each night.  Did you know that children and teens that do not get 8 to 10 hours of sleep each night will show the same symptoms of ADD and ADHD?

Most children today are only lacking in vital minerals that encourage the body to thrive and grow strong and be fit and healthy into adulthood. Before we rush down to fill that prescription let’s take a look at some of the side effects of taking Adderall and other drugs like it. – Dr. Josh Axe

High school is already stressful enough so we should give our teenagers every chance at succeeding. Enough sleep and the right diet has completely changed my life for the better and funny enough they are correlated with each other. Before showing the correlation let us cover how each separately can cause our physicians to misdiagnose children with ADHD.

Sleep is essential for us to properly function which is obvious to most. However, what isn’t obvious is the time of sleep teenagers need is different than adults. Insufficient time sleeping can result in people displaying symptoms of ADHD such as brain fog and hyperactivity. Sleep apnea is a common untreated chronic sleep disorder that my family has been cursed with and is worth considering getting tested for before rushing to use prescription drugs.

Memory problems, morning headaches, mood swings or feelings of depression, a need to urinate frequently at night (nocturia)… are commonly associated with sleep apnea.

Children with untreated sleep apnea may be hyperactive and may be diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). – allergiesandyourgut.com

As I’ve mentioned before, our diets greatly affect our moods, attention, and overall brain function. Changing my diet has changed my life and can do the same for your teenager. According to Dr. Edward Group DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM, these are some of his “20 Health Conditions That Mimic ADHD”  :

Allergies

Allergic reactions to synthetic dyes, preservatives, and other food chemicals can lead to symptoms associated with ADHD. [3][4] One of the first steps to take if you’re experiencing concentration or focus problems is to avoid synthetic, processed, and non-organic food whenever possible.

Sleeping Issues

Sleeping habits that are less than ideal can increase the chances of an individual being diagnosed as having ADD or ADHD. Not getting enough sleep or getting too much sleep can make you groggy and restless, both of which interfere with concentration.

Diet

Caffeine and sugar are two of the worst offenders when it comes to maintaining mental health and clarity. Both behave like drugs and have addictive qualities. Sugar and caffeine stress the adrenals, lead to energy crashes, cause nervous issues and agitation, and even contribute to decreased memory and focus. Not receiving adequate vitamins and minerals can also interfere with brain metabolism, especially B vitamins. Every diet should include a balance of protein, fiber, and fat to prevent blood sugar spikes that produce energy lulls and concentration issues — two symptoms typified by ADHD.

So, we’ve learned that diet and sleep affect our focus and our moods. I’m going to assume that you already knew that because you are smart (you’re reading this blog aren’t you! :). However, did you know that each one affects the other? If you are like me then you don’t really care about how much fruit or vegetables you eat if you didn’t sleep well the night before. However, I will have 2 Grande Latte’s down before noon, greasy fast food for lunch and then a 5-Hour Energy around 3 PM to get me through the rest of the day. And so the cycle of restless nights and doing whatever it takes to get through the day starts. Check out this article from TIME Magazine’s website “Does Your Diet Influence How Well You Sleep?”

Lastly, teenagers need physical activity just like the rest of us to be at their best. I’m sure your teenager is a great kid but if your teenager is like I was then they might be drinking alcohol which will, of course, hinder their focus, sleep, and diet! Not all people can digest foods the same and alcohol is no exception. Maybe if I knew that drinking on the weekends affected me far more than my friends I wouldn’t have done it. Instead, I was guilty of all of the bad things mentioned above during High School and barely remember those years. I was always so tired that my football coaches pulled me into a private meeting and asked if I had been smoking weed! I basically walked around like a zombie for four years and was known as an air head. However, things have changed for me and I had my 15 year reunion about a month ago and it was great! High School would have been even better if I had known what I know now.

Sincerely,

Trent

P.S. Check out my previous post “Children & Brain Fog” and learn about doing an elimination diet to remove possible foods that your child may be tolerant to.

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Author: liftbrainfoggmailcom

My name is Trent and I went from hyper, class clown and below average student to become an engineer! When I was young I had a hard time focusing on anything besides TV and usually went from extremely hyper to tired many times throughout the day. Also, I had a hard time memorizing anything. This combination of lack of focus and bad memory made it very difficult in school. By 5th grade I had very little confidence and tried to make up for it by making my classmates laugh. Unfortunately, I was desperate and would try to be cool by acting out in school which ended up with me being suspended multiple times. My Dad still says that he spent more time in school that year than I did! Also, I spent an hour with a psychologist every other week for most of my elementary school years due to my lack of focus in school and behavior. Fast forward to Junior High and High School and my behavior improved and I was no longer hyper as often but I always tired and still unable to focus. Increasingly, I was having issues with my stomach as well. I was diagnosed with lactose intolerance, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and depression. Removing lactose from my diet helped but I was still having issues with my stomach and depression even with medication. These issues continued throughout High School and my time in the Navy. Fast forward to 2008 at 25 years old when I got out of the Navy and returned home to stay. I was golfing with my Dad and his friend who is a Celiac. My Dad mentioned my symptoms to him and he said that those were similar to his and that I should remove gluten from my diet. After just two days without gluten, I felt amazing and my IBS was no longer an issue except for after having too much caffeine! I've been gluten free now for 8 years and my life has changed drastically! My dream since I was a kid was to take one of my crazy ideas for an invention or business and make it a reality. Considering my dream I thought the best way to reach my goal was to start by going back to school and engineering seemed to be best degree to teach me the skills I needed. However, engineering is math intensive and math was my worst subject and only subject that I ever received an 'F' in. With my new found energy and ability to focus, I had just enough confidence to go for it. After a very successful, few weeks of College Algebra, I knew that my diet had given me a new lease on life! Finally, here I am today working on my Master's Thesis for Telecommunications Engineering!! However, I still feel that I can maintain steady energy and focus longer by improving my diet and getting better sleep. My family has issues such as food allergies and sleep apnea which I hope to learn more about by research and hearing from my readers!

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