How to Tackle Brain Fog
We’ve all had those mornings where we feel like we’re walking through quicksand. It doesn’t matter how many cups of coffee we have – we just can’t get it together or stay focused. This, my friends, is brain fog, and it can make it incredibly difficult to have a productive day. Here’s the good news – we're going to show you how to tackle brain fog. But first, it’s important to understand the causes of this condition.
What Causes Brain Fog?
Although brain fog isn’t technically a medical condition, most of us have experienced it and know just how much it can affect your ability to get through the day.
Brain fog is a type of cognitive impairment that can cause:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Memory problems
- Poor focus
- Poor mental clarity
Brain fog can be challenging to treat simply because so many things can cause it. However, some of the most common causes include:
- Poor sleep: Sleep deprivation can make it difficult to concentrate and remember things.
- Stress: Chronic stress can lead to depression, high blood pressure, a weak immune system, and difficulty concentrating (i.e. brain fog).
- Hormonal fluctuations: During pregnancy, higher levels of estrogen and progesterone can cause brain fog. And during menopause, your estrogen levels dip and can also cause brain fog.
- Medication: Some medications can affect your mental clarity. If your brain fog is a new thing and it started just after you began taking a new medication, talk to your doctor. You may need to lower your dose or try a new medication.
- Diet: The foods you eat also affect your mental clarity and your ability to stay focused. Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause brain fog. Food sensitivities can also cause this condition.
- Medical conditions: Some medical conditions can also cause mental fatigue, like chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, diabetes, anemia, depression, hypothyroidism, dehydration, and Alzheimer’s disease.
As you can see, brain fog can have a whole range of causes. Some of these causes are no big deal, but others are more concerning medical conditions that your doctor should address.
How to Tackle Brain Fog
Brain fog may have many causes, but there are also many ways to fight it. Best of all, some of the best ways to tackle brain fog are natural and beneficial for your health. Here are some of the best ways to keep brain fog at bay.
Cut the Screen Time
A recent survey found that the average American adult spends 6,259 hours per year staring at screens, or 17 hours per day. To put that into perspective, that equates to spending 44 years of your life looking at a screen over a 60-year period.
Excessive screen time can cause a host of problems, including brain fog.
Experts recommend limiting your screen time to just two hours per day outside of work. So, once your workday is through, try to reduce your screen time or eliminate it completely. Get your body moving instead.
Make Sleep a Priority
Sleep deprivation can affect your ability to concentrate and think clearly. An estimated 1 in 3 adults don’t get enough sleep, so there’s a good chance that you’re not getting enough shut-eye each night.
If you’re working long hours or just have busy days, you may be tempted to stay up just a little bit longer to make the most out of your day and enjoy some downtime. We get it – but it’s important to ensure that you’re getting 7-9 hours of sleep every night.
Here are some other ways to improve your sleep:
- Get up and go to sleep at the same time each night.
- Cut your screen time at least an hour before sleep.
- Maintain a sleep routine.
When you’re well-rested, you can think clearly and will find it much easier to stay focused throughout the day.
Along with getting enough sleep, it’s important to keep your body moving if you want to kick brain fog to the curb.
In fact, researchers at the University of British Columbia found that when you perform aerobic exercise regularly, it actually increases the size of your hippocampus. The hippocampus is the area of the brain associated with learning and memory.
Aim to get at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise.
Exercise Your Brain
Your brain is like any other muscle. You use it, or you lose it. Exercising your brain may actually help you fight brain fog, so go ahead and challenge yourself with brain teasers and memory games.
If puzzles and brain teasers aren’t your thing, that’s okay. Instead, try reading about a topic you’re interested in. Learn something new. Explore new ideas or try out a new hobby. New experiences and information can even help you develop new neurons that improve your thinking and memory skills.
Keeping your brain engaged and stimulated can help fight brain fog.
Try Intermittent Fasting
Have you ever had a big breakfast in the morning and then felt like you were walking through mud the rest of the day? Digestion takes a lot of energy. And if your breakfast is loaded with sugar or simple carbs, you may be making the brain fog problem even worse.
Intermittent fasting (IF) will give your digestive system much-needed rest. Research has found that IF can help decrease the risk of neurodegenerative diseases and can also promote neurological health. Plus, it can also help you maintain a healthy weight or start losing weight if that’s your goal.
Feed Your Brain
Did you know that your brain is made mostly of protein and fat? It makes sense that the foods you eat have a direct effect on your brain function. If your diet is low in protein and fat, it may contribute to your brain fog.
Make sure that you’re eating enough lean protein and healthy fats. Also, add more foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s have anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants that can help boost brain function and make you feel good.
Brain fog is a complicated condition that can have many causes, but there are some tried-and-true ways to restore your mental clarity and focus. Unfortunately, you may need to try more than one of the tips above to finally get rid of your brain fog for good. Fortunately, all of these tips are really good for your overall health and well-being, so it’s a win-win.
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