Mental fatigue can be defined as a sensation of tiredness accompanied by deterioration in performance caused by prolonged periods of cognitive activity. Since the late 1800s, many researchers have analysed the effects of prolonged cognitive activity, involving memory, judgement, reasoning and other mental abilities. There are dozens of studies which prove mental fatigue can cause a fall in our work-related memory (that deals with the management and organisation of information) and a general deterioration in individuals’ mental ability.
Mental fatigue is also defined as “mental burnout” or “mental fog” and is a problem for all those, young people and adults, workers and students, whose jobs are mainly based on cognitive functioning. When we are overloaded with cognitive tasks to complete in a limited timeframe, mental fatigue and its effects set in.
What are the main causes of mental fatigue?
A hectic lifestyle inflicts stress on our minds, just like excess stimuli and so called “multi-tasking”. Our mind was not created to perform multiple tasks at the same time. They say that our brain and our body are one, and in this case it’s necessary to recognise the alarm signals that are being communicated to us. Let’s take a look at the main ones:
it’s happened to everyone at least once; being so tired that you can’t fall asleep. A change in sleep cycle (sleeping too much or too little) is one of the primary indicators to consider, as sleep impacts directly on our mental health.
Problems of memory:
Our brain struggles to retain information if it doesn’t get the right amount of rest. If you have to write everything down in order to remember it, this could also be a sign. Remember that your brain is like an Internet browser; the more tabs you have open, the slower it operates.
Difficulty in maintaining a suitable level of concentration for long periods of time or having to ask the same thing more than once can be another alarm signal caused by the brain struggling to process new information.
Mental fatigue is often associated with anxiety and changes in mood. It can lead to a lack of motivation that poses a serious problem for those needing to work effectively.
Excessive emotional sensitivity:
An increase in feelings of irritability, anger, sadness and other negative emotions can be noted.
Like sleep, diet can be affected by mental fatigue. Reduced appetite, or the opposite, an excessive consumption of junk food, can be signs that our body is not reacting properly to stress.s
Mental fatigue can cause various physical problems: headache, gastric pains, nausea and diarrhoea are most common but in more serious cases an increase in blood pressure, laboured breathing and a general state of confusion can be observed.
To fight mental fatigue it’s necessary to eliminate the root causes – reducing or completely eliminating the source of excess loads on our brain. It’s also important to try to follow a healthy lifestyle that takes account of nutrition, rest and physical exercise (preferably outdoors). More often than not, completely removing the source of excess pressure isn’t always possible but we can attempt to reduce this by using products that help us in overcoming moments of difficulty.
There are products available derived from natural sources that can contribute to combatting the problem of mental fatigue. The main substances are:
Ginseng is a root used for centuries in the East for its antioxidant properties and as a tonic for physical and mental fatigue.
Bacopa is perhaps a less well-known plant but no less useful. It is a fundamental element in Ayurveda for mental tiredness and cognitive functions.
The following vitamins and minerals provide comprehensive support:
Phosphorous, promotes memory and concentration.
Magnesium, niacin and vitamins C, B6 e B12 reduce tiredness and fatigue and contribute to the normal functioning of the nervous and psychological systems.
Iron contributes to normal cognitive function and reduces fatigue.
Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) helps the absorption of iron, to reduce tiredness and fatigue and contributes to the normal functioning of the nervous system.
Vitamin B1 (thiamine) contributes to the normal functioning of the nervous and psychological systems.
Zinc contributes to normal cognitive function.
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