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 remains untreated or unmanaged for a prolonged period. On this note, one should take appropriate action to help clear brain fog.
What Causes Brain or Mental Fog?
Brain fog is usually a symptom of an underlying problem or condition. Most of the time, it is the body’s way of telling you to slow down and re-energize. In this case, it is often a manifestation of exposure to stress. Brain fog might also indicate a lack of adequate and high-quality sleep.
In addition, brain or mental fog might occur as a symptom of chronic fatigue syndrome, poor nutrition or diet, 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. In addition, specific medications and treatments such as chemotherapy can 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, the brain feels fuzzy and sluggish. Most premenstrual women have trouble remembering things, experience poor concentration, and become more indecisive as they approach their period. Hormonal imbalances or changes usually account for period 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 contribute to brain fog.
Here Are Easy Steps To Take To Clear Brain Fog
Getting rid of brain fog is easy for most people. However, it can sometimes prove challenging depending on the underlying cause. Taking the steps below can help you clear brain fog quickly and more organically.
1. Increase your physical activity levels
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. It also increases blood flow to the brain and improves cerebrovascular health. As a result, the brain gets an adequate supply of brain-healthy nutrients such as iron, vitamin B12, zinc, copper, and omega-3 fatty acids.
As noted earlier, the brain or mind sometimes feels foggy due to the lack of high-quality sleep. However, exercising can help you relax both physically and mentally, enriching the quality of your sleep. As a result, it can bring mental clarity, boost mental acuity, and clear a foggy head.
Physical exercise also stimulates 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 improvement linked to these hormones also help you think more clearly and beat brain fog.
2. Engage in intermittent fasting to give the 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 the gut microbiota.
Ultimately, a healthy gut can lead to better brain health and cognitive function. This assertion is consistent with the scientifically proven fact that the composition of the gut microbiome influences brain function via the microbiota-gut-brain axis.
Achieving a good balance of the gut bacteria can 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.
Intermittent fasting also induces autophagy, a process that helps recycle and get rid of old and damaged cell components. As a result, it slows down neurodegenerative processes, protects brain cells, and regenerates new ones. Consequently, it helps clear mental fog.
3. Eat a Mediterranean diet
The Mediterranean diet incorporates different healthy food options that improve cognition and help get rid of brain fog. For instance, it recommends the consumption of fatty fish and seafood. These Mediterranean diet components can supply the body with omega-3 fatty acids and promote good 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 you clear the foggy feeling in your head.
Other diet components further supply important 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 processes that cause brain fog.
4. Stop alcohol and drug use
Brain fog can occur due to alcohol or drug misuse. Sometimes, this problem can happen as a withdrawal symptom. As a result, it can cause a person to lose control over their thoughts, leaving them struggling with their work. Their outcomes usually improve as they recover from their addiction. It takes time for most people. Stopping alcohol or drug abuse also allows users to restore normal brain function and clear mental fogginess.
5. Have adequate and uninterrupted sleep
Lack of adequate and quality sleep can impair your thinking and leave your mind feeling fuzzy. In addition, poor sleep can cause concentration and memory problems. These symptoms that characterize brain fog happen because sleep deprivation or low-quality sleep disrupts the workings of brain cells and their communication with each other.
Having high-quality sleep for 7-8 hours can boost thinking. In particular, it improves concentration, focus, memory, and problem-solving capabilities. Thus, it 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 also be an easy way to deal with brain fog. These events can help relieve anxiety and stress, which are among the main causes of brain fog. They can also bring pleasure or laughter and stimulate the body to release happy hormones, which can help you relax 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. 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, it triggers brain inflammation, contributing to these typical brain fog symptoms.
On this note, one should manage stress and deal with burnout to help clear brain fogginess and function optimally. Doing so can relieve brain inflammation and improve cognition, positively impacting memory, concentration, attention, and focus. It might require taking concrete measures to lead a better life as outlined in the article titled How to Live a Happier Life in 10 Simple Steps.
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. In addition, your decision-making capabilities and cognitive performance will get impaired in the process. 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 maintain good hydration levels. Taking this amount of water improves cognitive performance, helps flush toxins out of the brain, and relieves the foggy feeling in your head.
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 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 to clear brain fog. In addition, you should look for the root cause of your brain fog instead of resorting to coffee consumption 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 simultaneously clears the 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 sugar consumption. The recommended daily intake of sugar is a maximum of 36 grams or 9 teaspoons for men and 24 grams or 6 teaspoons for women. Ultimately, low sugar intake can help you keep your cognitive function intact 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 can cause you to experience 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 the medications causing brain fog. You may also opt for lifestyle changes if possible to help manage medication-induced brain fog.
13. Get a check for thyroid disorders
Sometimes, brain fog can be a symptom of a thyroid disorder. Low levels of the thyroid hormone can 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 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. They 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 also help clear a cloudy mind or head. Normally, taking a sauna bath relieves depression and anxiety. In addition, it boosts your mood and relaxes your body. Infrared saunas also stimulate the release of dopamine, serotonin, and other hormones that bring happiness and pleasure. As a result, they help reduce the foggy feeling in your head and boost cognitive performance.