Brain Fog: What It Is and How to Beat It
by Laura Harrington on Feb 09, 2023
Brain fog, also known as "mental fatigue", is a common condition characterised by a lack of mental clarity, difficulty concentrating, and a feeling of mental exhaustion. People also describe it as feeling slow and sluggish. It is frustrating as it can make it hard to think, remember things and make decisions.
What are the causes?
There are many reasons why we experience brain fog. Common causes include stress, lack of sleep, poor diet, and medical conditions such as depression, anxiety, and chronic fatigue syndrome. A more recent cause of brain fog is COVID-19, with up to 30% of people reporting problems with memory and attention as part of long COVID symptoms. Other causes can include certain medications, supplements, and even hormonal changes (such as those that occur during menopause).
How can we fight brain fog?
To help beat brain fog, it's important to first pinpoint the underlying cause and address it directly. Here are a few strategies that could help:
- Get enough sleep: Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night.
- Manage stress: Use stress-management techniques such as meditation, taking breaks throughout the day, and yoga to help reduce stress and improve mental clarity.
- Eat a healthy diet: Consume a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein to keep your brain and body healthy.
- Exercise regularly: Regular exercise can help improve cognitive function and ability to focus.
- Soak in some sunshine: Vitamin D is important for proper brain function, so a deficiency may contribute to brain fog.
- Limit caffeine and alcohol: Consuming too much caffeine and alcohol can contribute to your brain feeling a little worse for wear. Try to limit your intake.
- Consult a doctor: If you suspect a medical condition is causing your brain fog, it's important to consult a doctor and get a proper diagnosis and treatment.
There are a variety of factors that can lead to brain fog. By identifying the root cause and taking small steps to address it, you can slowly remove any feelings of fuzziness and support your overall cognitive function. Remember that patience is key, as making these lifestyle changes takes time.