Things like feeling fuzzy in the brain or not feeling sharp in your thinking can feel normal. But that fogginess is not meant to be there. The brain is very complicated and brain fog can be linked to your lifestyle, medication, or conditions you didn’t even know about. Sometimes, brain fog and fatigue can be a sign that you need to make a change in your lifestyle.
What is Brain Fog and Mental Fatigue?
Brain fog may be described as a feeling of mental confusion or lack of mental clarity. Brain fog can feel like a cloud is covering your brain and it reduces your ability to think clearly. It can cause a person to have a reduction of clear thinking, trouble concentrating, slower thinking, forgetfulness, or a haziness in thought processes.
Technically, brain fog is not classified as a diagnosis. Instead, brain fog describes a series of symptoms. Brain fog is also referred to as brain fatigue or mental fatigue. In general, brain fog is used to describe mild to moderate issues with concentration, focus, memory, and other cognitive functions. When you just don’t feel like yourself and struggle to think clearly, your brain can feel fuzzy.
At one point or another, everyone experiences brain fog. Maybe it slipped your mind where you put the keys, or you forgot to go to the grocery store on the way home. But, when you experience brain fog daily, it could signify a deeper issue. It’s important to take a holistic approach to brain fog. This means looking at the problem as a whole and finding the cause of the problem.
The problem with consistent brain fog is that it can start to really interfere with your life. You’re struggling to focus at work, your short-term memory is playing games with you, and your productivity can take a real hit.
Here are eight ways to help eliminate brain fog:
- Get plenty of sleep
- Manage stress
- Drink plenty of water
- Exercise regularly
- Eat a balanced diet
- Try brain-boosting supplements
- Stretch your brain muscles
- Test for food allergies
Brain Fog Causes and Symptoms
There is no one main reason why a person may experience problems with concentration, focus, and memory. Even though it can interfere with your life, it doesn’t need to be permanent. There are several reasons why brain fog may occur. Once you have a better understanding of the underlying causes, you can begin to fix the issue.
Possible causes of brain fog include:
- Low Blood Sugar
- Hormonal changes such as menopause, pregnancy, and birth control
- Health conditions
- Vitamin deficiencies
- Certain medicines
- Food intolerances and allergies
As brain fog is not a medical disorder, you may only notice it when you experience a cluster of symptoms.
Symptoms of brain fog include:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Poor memory
- Irritability and lack of patience
- Anxiety and depression
- Mental fatigue
8 Natural Remedies for Brain Fog
Get Plenty of Sleep
Consistently getting less than seven to eight hours of sleep every night can drain your memory and ability to concentrate. Good and consistent sleep is at the core of good health. During sleep, the body eliminates toxins that had been brought on by stress and anxiety from throughout the day. When you get plenty of sleep, it allows your brain to rest and recover, so that you can function at your best when you’re awake.
Sleeping is not only important for your brain health and mental clarity, but it also provides you with energy and supports several functions throughout the body. If you struggle to fall and stay asleep like millions of other Americans, there are a few things you can do to help you sleep better like creating a bedtime routine and having a caffeine cut-off time.
2. Manage Stress
Mental stress can lead to an increase in cortisol in the body. Cortisol is a stress hormone that your body produces to help you combat a stressful situation. When stress hormones are activated it can impair working memory, concentration, and other physiological changes that can lead to brain fog.
A natural way to help clear up brain fog is to manage your stress levels. Taking the time for self-care and knowing your limitations can be useful in managing stress. Things like regular exercise, yoga, taking a bath, and coloring are all useful in reducing stress and feeling more in control.
Related: 5 Ways to Effectively Manage Stress
3. Drink More Water
Just like sleep, proper hydration is key to mental clarity. A lot of people are guilty of not drinking enough water. It’s easy to forget to drink enough water throughout the day. If you feel sluggish or foggy during the day, dehydration may be the culprit.
One of the most well-known causes of brain fog is dehydration. A simple fix is to monitor your water intake and try to hit your daily water target. Set a reminder on your phone to drink every hour and keep your reusable water bottle with you at all times.
Related: Why Proper Hydration Is Essential
4. Exercise Regularly
Exercise can do wonders for your physical and mental well-being. Healthy, regular exercise can lower inflammation, help you get better sleep, and lower stress levels. Sedentary lifestyles often put you at a higher risk of developing neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s disease or even more mild cases of decreased cognitive function.
Research shows that increased activity levels are associated with sharper mental clarity. Whether it’s walking, running, or playing tennis, try to engage in some sort of physical activity every day. It not only benefits you short-term, but it will pay off in the long run.
5. Eat a Balanced Diet
What you put into your body affects how your brain works. A diet high in processed foods and sugar is not good for your body or your brain. Many foods that are advertised as “low sugar” or “low fat” are often packed with preservatives, additives, and excess salt. All of which are harmful to the brain.
For peak mental performance and clarity, your diet should contain a balance of clean proteins, healthy fats, and plenty of vitamins and minerals from antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables. Another thing to consider is that brain fog can be a result of a nutrient deficiency. If you’re not getting enough of any one essential nutrient, your body may be trying to tell you something in the form of brain fog. Deficiencies that could be at the root of your brain fog include:
6. Try Brain-Boosting Supplements
While it’s always best to get nutrients from your diet, supplements can give you that extra boost if you’re struggling to hit your recommended daily intake. There are several brain-boosting supplements that can help to clear up brain fog such as:
- B vitamins - deficiencies in certain B vitamins can result in feeling foggy.
- Adaptogenic herbs like ashwagandha and holy basil - helps your body adapt to and cope with stress.
- Omega-3 fatty acids - supports brain health and helps lower inflammation.
- Magnesium - plays a role in brain health in general and may help protect cognitive function.
- Iodine - symptoms of iodine deficiency include brain fog, fatigue, and headaches, and anxiety.
- Curcumin - an anti-inflammatory antioxidant that can possibly help break down the beta amyloid plaques that build up in the brain and contribute to cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s.
Feeling like your brain could use a boost? Watch this video about the Top 5 Brain Boosters:
7. Stretch Your Brain Muscles
It’s important to stretch your brain muscles as well as the rest of the body. Working on brain puzzles and other cognitive games that use your brain helps to keep your brain stimulated. Just like your body, your brain needs regular stimulation to stay fit and healthy and to keep performing optimally.
Things like quick brain puzzles are a great place to start. It’s also a good idea to challenge your brain by learning new skills such as a new language, starting a new hobby like woodworking or photography, or learning a new dance workout. Basically, anything that doesn’t come naturally to you and is new will challenge your brain. Think about doing something that takes you out of your comfort zone.
8. Test For Food Allergies
Certain allergies or food intolerances can make brain fog worse. There is a clear link between the gut and the brain via the vagus nerve. Food allergies can disrupt the delicate balance of hormones in your body as well as the chemicals in your brain. If you’re struggling to find a solid reason for your brain fog, it may be time to address any food allergies you may have. This way, you can learn how to manage your triggers and optimize your diet.
It’s easy to brush brain fog off as something normal that happens to everyone. But there’s a fine line between occasional forgetfulness and really struggling with everyday focus. Your body is intelligent, which is why you should always listen to what it has to say. Although your brain feels foggy, it may be your body telling you to drink more water, be more active, and get more sleep. By understanding the symptoms and causes of brain fog, you can take the time to give your mind and body proper rest. When you start to make healthy lifestyle choices like the ones mentioned above, you should start to eliminate a lot of the symptoms of brain fog.