Brain Fog: What is it and How To Stop It?
We have all experienced it at one point in our life. Those moments that feel like a veil are thrown between us and the life going on around us.
We feel disoriented and stuck. Organize our thoughts? Forget about it. Impossible. Focus? Nowhere to be found. Things simply aren’t clicking. That is what brain fog feels like.
It comes and goes, but when it does come, it can rob us of all mental clarity. It leaves us feeling like we have our heads in the clouds.
Many reach for the coffee pot to lift the fog away; of course, the caffeine may work for a time, but it could also leave you feeling jittery while the brain fog remains.
Brain fog is a real thing, and it is more common than many people might believe. The reasons for it may vary, but fortunately, there are some ways to stop it.
What is Brain Fog?
Brain fog — also referred to as mental fog — can be defined in many ways, depending on who you ask. What is described as brain fog to one person may be a regular Monday morning to another. Some simply described it as an inability to focus. That is certainly one element to it, but it is more than that.
The first thing to understand is that brain fog is not a medical condition, in and of itself, though it might present as a symptom of certain medical issues. If it were described in medical terms, it would simply be described as a mild cognitive dysfunction or impairment.
But what in the world does that mean? Simply put, brain fog can be characterized by a lack of focus and mental clarity, forgetfulness, and confusion. Put another way; brain fog can be described as the loss of cognitive functions, such as thinking, remembering, and reasoning.
The severity of these brain fog symptoms can vary. Brain fog is usually temporary, kind of like having an off day. However, when symptoms become chronic, it may be time to consult your healthcare provider to ensure the symptoms aren’t stemming from an underlying medical condition.
Here’s a scenario of what brain fog might feel like:
You woke up kind of foggy this morning. You feel sort of sluggish. Nevertheless, you arrive at the office. You have a task to finish from the day before. What was it again? Your mind wanders. Five minutes pass by; then 10, then 20. You can’t seem to focus on starting your day. When you finally start the task, you run into difficulties. You don’t feel sharp; you feel mentally dull. The whole day feels like one big blur.
What Causes Brain Fog?
The exact causes of brain fog, due to its characteristics and symptoms, can be hard to pinpoint. Again, in some cases, what a person describes as “brain fog” could be a clue to an underlying condition. With that in mind, let’s look at some of the common causes for brain fog as we have described it — lack of mental clarity, inability to focus, and forgetfulness.
Common causes of brain fog:
- Nutrition: Poor diet can have many adverse effects on our health. Nutritional deficiencies (lack of essential vitamins and minerals) can lead to cognitive impairments — brain fog among them.
- Medications: Many medications come with side effects. Therefore, the symptoms of brain fog can also be a result of certain medications. If you’re concerned that brain fog could be associated with medication, it is important to consult your healthcare provider.
- Stress: Stress can be one of the main culprits for brain fog. Stress can take its toll on the body and your health, both physically and mentally.
- Sleep: Poor sleep can affect mental acuity and clarity, some of the symptoms of brain fog. As a regulatory habit, sleep is essential for our body and our health.
Brain fog includes neurological symptoms like headache, fatigue, memory loss, confusion, difficulty focusing, and dizziness.
How to Stop Brain Fog
Assuming there are no underlying medical conditions, brain fog can certainly be managed and even stopped. Since many of the causes of brain fog have to do with lifestyle, the tips for ending it are rather basic. However, like most lifestyle changes, they can also prove challenging. It takes commitment.
Exercise Your Body and Your Brain
There is a reason you feel better after leaving the gym or hitting the trail. Regular exercise, whether it be walking, running, biking, or weight training, has a way of melting away stress. It also does wonders for mental health and clarity.
A lot happens when we exercise. Under normal conditions, our blood vessels vasodilate during exercise, demanding more oxygen and nutrients. This increased blood flow floods our bodies and cells with both oxygen and glucose.
Exercise can also help reduce stress hormone levels (cortisol). That mood-elevating feeling we get after a good workout is due to the increased production of endorphins released during exercise.
However, don’t neglect to exercise your brain as well. Research has shown that simple games, like jigsaw puzzling, may help protect against cognitive decline, mainly due to aging.
Healthy Sleep is Essential
Our body works hard while we sleep, helping to support, rejuvenate, and repair our bodies. It also helps maintain healthy brain function. Sleep deficiency can disrupt cognitive ability and set us on the path of brain fog. Developing and establishing healthy sleep habits and routines are key.
Avoid reaching for that late-night snack as digestion slows at night; it could disrupt your sleep. Also, avoid caffeinated drinks prior to bed; the effects can last up to 12 hours. Furthermore, make sure your sleeping environment is comfortable and free of distractions. This includes the temperature, the lighting, and the sounds.
Also, don’t be afraid to try natural sleep aids. Our Sleep gummies include ingredients like melatonin to help support healthy sleep.
Take Nutrition Seriously
When it comes to driving away brain fog, one of the most critical lifestyle changes is diet. Nutrition is key to overall health, and nutritional deficiencies can disrupt many of our bodies’ normal processes — mental acuity included. A healthy diet including healthy fats, fruits and vegetables, nuts, beans, and whole grains has improved overall brain health.
Ensuring that you are getting the necessary nutrients and essential vitamins in your diet is important. A diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil or other proteins can drive away from the effects of brain fog. Research has shown a link between omega-3s and a delay in memory loss for healthy adults.
Also, there are certain nootropic herbs that have been shown to improve mental focus. For example, the popular herbal extract Ginkgo Biloba, has been shown to help improve cognitive function — mental focus and clarity — in healthy people.
The importance of proper nutrition cannot be overstated. It is an essential ally for those looking to stop the effects of brain fog.
Other Causes Of Brain Fog
Although we already touched upon many of its common causes, some of the following diseases and circumstances can also lead to slow cognition and brain fog. Here are some other causes that could be the reason behind your brain fog:
- Sleep issues
- Hormone changes
- Mental health issues
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Chemo brain (Chemotherapy Effects)
- Cognitive symptoms
Of course, much more could be said. Managing stress is another essential component to alleviating the effects of brain fog. Overall, brain fog can rob us of a productive day. A lack of focus, mental clarity, and annoying forgetfulness can prevent us from reaching the day’s potential.
Thankfully, Shop Hope understands the importance of mental clarity. If the effects of brain fog have you down, try our Mind capsules. They feature high-quality ingredients — like Ginkgo Biloba, St. John’s Wort, and Bacopa Monnieri — that are designed to help improve mental clarity and focus.
Now you have the knowledge to fight back the next time brain fog clouds your day.
Cognitive dysfunction (brain fog) | MPKB
Sleep Deprivation and Deficiency | NHLBI
Exercise for Mental Health | NCBI
Jigsaw Puzzling Taps Multiple Cognitive Abilities and Is a Potential Protective Factor for Cognitive Aging | NCBI
Impact of Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplementation on Memory Functions in Healthy Older Adults | NCBI
Ginkgo biloba for cognitive improvement in healthy individuals | NCBI