How to Overcome Brain Fog

Have you been struggling to grasp certain thoughts? Are you bogged down throughout the day because you just can’t clear your head?

Well, you may be experiencing the effects of brain fog.

Fortunately, science has uncovered some of the reasons brain fog develops as well as ways we can alleviate this enemy to clear thinking so we can get on with our day.

What is Brain Fog and What Are Some Possible Causes?

Brain fog may feel different to everyone.

It isn’t necessarily its own medical issue but, rather, a symptom or association with another type of medical condition.

Simply put, brain fog can be described generally as a cognitive dysfunction that can result in poor concentration, an inability to focus, a lack of mental clarity, and problems with memory.

It may also be described as a feeling of “mental fatigue” or tiredness.

The thing about brain fog is that it can range from mild to severe, with the most severe cases having a negative impact on work or school life.

In these circumstances, it is always wise to seek medical attention to try and alleviate the stress that severe brain fog can have on your life.

How brain fog develops is slightly complicated as it is believed to stem from several possible sources.

The good thing is that once you understand what primary factor is contributing to your brain fog, it is possible to tackle it head on by directly addressing the factor that is the culprit.

Some of the causes of brain fog include stress, lack of sleep, and dietary changes.

The Link Between Stress and Cognitive Function

As we all know, being tired can significantly impact our ability to think and make appropriate decisions and judgments1.

Importantly, while acute stress is healthy and helps us navigate through tough times, chronic stress is known to impact energy levels and can actually make us feel tired2.

As well, chronic stress is known to negatively affect areas of the brain involved in learning and memory3.

So, by reducing the level of stress experienced on a day-to-day basis, or by simply changing the way you perceive a stressor4 (e.g., as a challenge rather than an obstacle), you may be able to tackle your brain fog problem.

Get Some Sleep! Your Brain Will Thank You

At the same time, sleep is also a very important factor when it comes to addressing brain fog.

In line with the link between fatigue and mental function, lack of sleep can clearly affect your energy levels throughout the day.

In fact, one study found a link between poor sleep quality and a higher risk for memory impairments and reduced cognitive function in older people5. Moreover, illness characterized by cognitive dysfunction, such as Alzheimer’s disease, are associated with sleep disorders like insomnia6, further supporting a link between sleep and cognition.

Interestingly, performance on cognitive visual tasks has also been shown to be dependent on the quality of sleep received by study participants7.

Simply put, people who slept poorly were not as good at remembering and processing things during cognitive tests compared to people who had reportedly slept well.

In this context, getting yourself in a routine that promotes a better sleep schedule can significantly help you tackle cognitive deficits linked to brain fog.

Some ways you can do this are by increasing your daytime physical activity (but not too late in the day, as this can actually stimulate your brain)8, and reduce beverages that contain caffeine prior to bed such as coffee, energy drinks, tea, and carbonated drinks9.

The Right Diet for a Healthy Brain

Finally, diet plays a critical role in cognitive function as well. By simply changing the nutrients acquired in your diet, you may be able to reduce the cloudiness experienced during episodes of brain fog.

This may be especially true for individuals who have been diagnosed with celiac disease10. Specifically, adhering to a gluten-free diet was found to improve cognitive impairments in those with a gluten sensitivity, possibly due to the inflammation produced by gluten11.

In fact, studies suggest that inflammation may be a critical player in the link between diet and cognitive function.

For example, it is suggested that diets high in refined sugars may reduce the anti-inflammatory activity of other healthy nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids or may even increase inflammation in the brain. Importantly, increased brain inflammation as well as reduced omega-3 fatty acids in the diet have been linked to deficits in cognition12,13.

Interestingly, if you are looking for ways to improve your cognition and avoid brain fog, it appears that people who frequently include aspects of a Mediterranean diet can reduce their risk of cognitive impairment14.

Notably, including a lot of fish and vegetables appeared to have the strongest effect on cognition. Supplementing with a brain health formula like Cerebra+ may also prove highly beneficial.

Evaporate Your Brain Fog

Now, you have tools at your disposal for how you can address your brain fog.

Of course, this is only a short list of causes of brain fog, but addressing these issues is sure to provide you relief and help you get back to your normal routine.

Try incorporating aspects from each problem area to get the most out of your anti-brain fog routine!

 

Author: Brett Melanson is a PhD Candidate in Behavioral NeuroscienceHis interests primarily reside within the life sciences with an emphasis on stress-based psychopathologies.

 

References
  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32980590/
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30864025/
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33232931/
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11721311/
  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31665199/
  6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33642368/
  7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33743012/
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6955623
  9. https://www.healthline.com/health/insomnia-causes#causes-and-risk-factors
  10. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30065211/
  11. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28244662/
  12. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27933449/
  13. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6918878
  14. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32285590/

 

Leave a comment