Brain fog is a prevalent problem today. It manifests as mild cognitive impairment. Usually, people with brain fog describe their thinking as fuzzy, hazy, or sluggish. They also have cloudy thoughts and struggle to complete simple tasks. Brain fog can happen to anyone. It can affect even the most productive people and can turn everything around within a short span. It is likely to make you less productive or effective in the workplace and other domains. Technically, it can ruin one’s life if it goes untreated for a long period. Therefore, one should take appropriate steps to manage and clear brain fog quickly and get back to normal life.
What Causes Brain or Mental Fog?
Brain fog is often a symptom of an underlying problem. Most of the time, it is the body’s way of telling you to slow down and re-energize. In such cases, it is a manifestation of exposure to severe or extreme stress. Sometimes, brain fog indicates a lack of adequate and high-quality sleep.
In addition, brain or mental fog might occur as a symptom of the chronic fatigue syndrome, poor diet or nutrition, physical inactivity, depression, anxiety, menopausal hormone changes, thyroid-related hormone changes, environmental toxins, fibromyalgia, or Alzheimer’s disease.
Brain fog can further develop due to overworking and prolonged computer or smartphone use. Specific medications and treatments, such as chemotherapy, can also cause brain fog.
There have also been reported cases of COVID-19 brain fog. Post-COVID brain fog is temporary for most people but can last up to 9 months.
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) can also lead to period brain fog. Usually, menstrual brain fog makes one’s brain to feel fuzzy and sluggish. Most women with premenstrual syndrome have trouble remembering things, experience poor concentration, and become more indecisive as they approach their period. Hormonal imbalances or changes account for this type of brain fog.
What are the Symptoms of Brain Fog
The most common symptoms of brain fog include mental fatigue, poor concentration, reduced mental acuity, fuzzy thinking, hazy thought processes, confusion, and forgetfulness. In addition, people with brain fog struggle with multitasking. These symptoms occur due to brain inflammation. Changes in hormones that regulate mood, energy levels, and concentration also lead to brain fog.
15 Easy Steps To Help Clear Brain Fog
Getting rid of brain fog is easy for most people but not all. Sometimes, it can be challenging depending on the underlying cause. However, taking the steps below can help you clear your brain fog quickly and more organically.
1. Increase your physical activity level
Physical activity plays a significant role in improving brain health. It boosts cognitive function and well-being and helps relieve typical symptoms of brain fog such as poor concentration and forgetfulness. Physical exercise also increases blood flow to the brain and improves cerebrovascular health. It helps provide an adequate supply of brain-healthy nutrients, such as iron, vitamin B12, zinc, copper, and omega-3 fatty acids. As a result, it boosts brain function and helps clear clear a foggy head.
As noted earlier, the brain or mind sometimes feels foggy due to the lack of high-quality sleep. Exercising can help you relax both physically and mentally, enriching the quality of your sleep. Thus, physical exercise can bring mental clarity, boost mental acuity, and clear a foggy head.
Beyond this, physical exercise can stimulate the brain to produce feel-good or happy hormones such as dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin. These hormones naturally relieve depression and anxiety, which are common causes of brain fog. The mental relaxation and mood boost linked to these hormones also help you think more clearly and get rid of brain fog quickly and organically.
2. Engage in intermittent fasting to give your digestive system a break
Intermittent fasting involves abstaining from or limiting calorie intake for 12-48 hours and alternating these fasting spells with cycles of regular food intake. This eating pattern can help give the digestive system a break and help restore a good balance of microorganisms in the gut.
Ultimately, a healthy gut can lead to better brain health and cognitive function. This argument is consistent with the proven fact that gut microbes influence brain function via the microbiota-gut-brain axis.
Achieving a good balance of the gut bacteria can further help clear mental fog because healthy gut bacteria make over 90% of the serotonin in the human body. Serotonin is a happy hormone that boosts mood, relieves depression, and alleviates brain fog.
Beyond this, intermittent fasting induces autophagy, a process that helps recycle and get rid of old and damaged cell components. This process slows down neurodegenerative processes, protects brain cells, and regenerates new ones. Therefore, intermittent fasting keeps the brain cells healthy and helps clear mental fog.
3. Eat a Mediterranean diet
The Mediterranean diet is also helpful in clearing brain fog. It adds healthy foods to the diet, improving cognition and helping get rid of brain fog. For instance, the Mediterranean diet recommends the consumption of fatty fish and seafood. These food options supply the body with omega-3 fatty acids and promote brain health and function.
Nuts, such as macadamia, also contain omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, magnesium, vitamin E, and other nutrients that keep the brain healthy and help clear the foggy feeling in your head.
Other diet components also supply vitamins and minerals that reduce brain degeneration and boost cognitive function in the young and old. These few examples demonstrate how the Mediterranean diet protects you against brain fog and helps clear the foggy feeling in your head.
4. Stop alcohol and drug use
Brain fog can occur due to alcohol or drug misuse. It can happen as a withdrawal symptom. As a result, a person to lose control over their thoughts, leaving them struggling at work and other elements of their life.
In this case, brain fog outcomes improve as one recovers from drug or alcohol addiction. It takes time for most people. Stopping alcohol or drug abuse allows users to restore normal brain function and clear brain fog more quickly.
5. Have adequate and uninterrupted sleep
The lack of adequate and quality sleep can impair your thinking and leave your mind feeling fuzzy. Poor sleep can also cause concentration and memory problems.
These symptoms happen because sleep deprivation or low-quality sleep disrupts the workings of brain cells and their communication with each other.
Having quality sleep for 7-8 hours can boost thinking. It can improve concentration, focus, memory, and problem-solving capabilities. Thus, good sleep helps you clear your mind or relieve the fuzzy feeling in your head.
6. Regularly participate in social activities/events
Participating in social activities can be an easy way to deal with brain fog. This follows that social events can help relieve anxiety and stress, which are among the main causes of brain fog.
These events can further bring pleasure and laughter and stimulate the body to release happy hormones, which help you feel relaxed and improve brain function. As a result, social activities can relieve brain fog by boosting cognition, mood, and memory.
You should also try and engage in activities that stimulate your mind and bring clarity of mind to beat brain fog. Such activities may include yoga, meditation, and mindfulness.
7. Manage stress and burnout
Stress is a common cause of brain fog. Persistent exposure to stress can cause severe burnout and impair one’s ability to think properly and focus on the task at hand.
It can also lead to poor memory and concentration. Usually, severe stress exposure triggers brain inflammation and contributes to these typical brain fog symptoms.
Therefore, one should manage stress and deal with burnout to help clear brain fogginess. Doing so can relieve brain inflammation and improve cognition, positively impacting memory, concentration, attention, and focus.
It might require taking concrete steps in life to beat stress and manage burnout as outlined in How to Live a Happier Life in 10 Simple Steps and How to Best Deal With Burnout.
8. Drink plenty of fluids
Experiencing even the mildest dehydration can make your brain feel foggy. As a result, you will have attention and short-term memory problems and your decision-making capabilities and cognitive performance will be impaired.
It happens because water is a major component of the human body and is critical in supporting cellular processes and eliminating toxins in the brain. Thus, it is important to drink adequate fluids to rehydrate brain cells and promote their optimal performance.
It is recommended that you take 8 water glasses or an equivalent of about 2 liters daily to keep well hydrated. Taking this amount of water improves cognitive performance, helps flush toxins out of the brain, and relieves the foggy feeling in your brain.
9. Limit your caffeine intake
Most people rush to Starbucks or the nearest local coffeehouse to get a coffee or two whenever their mind feels foggy. However, this is just a quick fix for a foggy brain that does not always work to their advantage.
In fact, consuming too much caffeine can be counterproductive. It can cause mental fatigue, poor concentration, restlessness, lack of clear thinking, anxiety, and the inability to focus.
Therefore, you should limit your caffeine intake if you want to clear brain fog. You should also look for the root cause of your brain fog instead of resorting to coffee as a quick fix.
10. Talk to a doctor to help manage depression and anxiety
Depression and anxiety often contribute to brain fog and render many incapable of functioning optimally in the workplace or elsewhere.
On this note, it is important to see a doctor and get proper help. Doing so allows you to improve their mental health outcomes and helps clears co-occurring brain fog.
11. Limit your sugar intake
High sugar intake can dampen your cognitive function and cause brain fog. On this note, you should limit your sugar consumption.
You should keep your daily sugar intake within the recommended limits of a maximum of 36 grams or 9 teaspoons for men and 24 grams or 6 teaspoons for women.
Ultimately, low sugar intake will help maintain your cognitive function and reduce the risk of experiencing brain fog.
12. Consult a doctor about changing medications
Sometimes, medications can serve as a source of brain fog. Some medications that cause brain fog include analgesics (pain medicine), antihistamines, anticholinergic drugs, sleeping pills, tricyclic antidepressants, and mood stabilizers.
If you are taking these drug classes, you should see a doctor about the possibility of discontinuing medications causing brain fog.
You can also opt for lifestyle changes, such as eating brain-healthy foods, to help manage medication-induced brain fog. Some foods that assist in clearing brain fog include eggs, nuts, salmon, shrimp, avocados, leafy greens, and olive oil.
13. Get a check for thyroid disorders
Sometimes, brain fog can be a symptom of a thyroid disorder. Low levels of thyroid hormone can, in particular, affect memory, concentration, and attentiveness.
In most cases, hypothyroidism is the culprit. However, you will need to go for a medical check-up to help diagnose this problem. Usually, brain fog linked to thyroid disorders resolves with treatment.
14. Take a whole food multivitamin supplement
Vitamin deficiency can cause brain fog. Some vitamins implicated in the onset of brain fog include vitamin C, vitamin D, and vitamin B12. If a vitamin deficiency is suspected, you should consider taking whole food multivitamins.
Evidence suggests that whole food multivitamin supplements are nutritionally superior to synthetic vitamins because they are natural and easier to absorb.
The supplements can help resupply deficient vitamins and boost cognitive function. As a result, they can aid in clearing brain fog or mental cloudiness.
15. Use saunas to improve brain and mental health
Saunas can help clear brain fog or mental fogginess. Taking a sauna bath relieves depression and anxiety, top causes of brain fog. It further boosts mood and relaxes your body.
Usually, infrared saunas offer added benefits to people with brain fog. For instance, they stimulate the release of dopamine, serotonin, and other hormones that bring happiness and pleasure. As a result, these saunas help reduce the foggy feeling in your head and boost cognitive performance.
The bottom line is that there is no quick fox for brain fog. Each person suffering from brain fog should look at the underlying cause and address it before this problem becomes more crippling. Taking these steps can give a significant boost in the fight against brain fog. They will most likely not work instantly. Therefore, one should give them time and apply them consistently. If brain fog persists or worsens, seeking medical help is a much better option.