How Do You Treat Brain Fog? If You’re Feeling Super Out Of It, These 7 Tips Might Help
Do you ever feel like in the middle of the work day you’ve expended your usefulness at work? After the caffeine rush has worn off, do you feel like you need a nap before you can do anything else productive? Your afternoon exhaustion or dip in energy isn’t just in your head — well, it is — but it’s a real issue called brain fog, aka, mental fog or clouding of consciousness. The symptoms of brain fog can vary, but it is characterized by fatigue, forgetfulness, poor memory, difficulty focusing, and overall decreased mental performance while working or performing tasks. Though anyone can suffer a bout of brain fog, it is routinely associated with chronic illnesses, such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Lupus, or Fibromyalgia (people who live with Fibromyalgia usually refer to brain fog as “Fibro Fog”). Mental illnesses are also linked to more frequent episodes of brain fog.
While there is no official cause for brain fog, people believe it can be propagated by number of standalone factors, or a combination of things. In addition to chronic illness, sleep, diet, and exercise can play a role in persistent brain fog. Hormonal changes and imbalances can also cause chronic fatigue, which in turn can lead to brain fog. It can be frustrating if you find yourself experiencing this type of mental exhaustion, but small lifestyle changes could make all the difference. Here are seven ways to fight brain fog.
Sleep. Sleep. Sleep.
Since brain fog is caused by fatigue, one of the most assured ways to cure a serious case of brain fog is by getting a good night’s rest. This means aiming to get the recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night. Also, if you like to take naps, give it a go and give your brain a break — even if it’s only 30 minutes.
Change your diet to include brain-boosting foods
Food is our bodies' fuel, so if you're snacking on food low in nutritional value and vitamins, brain fog could definitely become more frequent. Try incorporating these 11 foods into your meal plan if you need an energy boost to get you through your exhaustion.
Sometimes the best way to clear your mind is by moving your body. Since one of the reasons brain fog occurs is due to your brain not receiving enough oxygen, exercise can improve circulation. You don't need to do high intensity workouts — something simple as a walk, a few jumping jacks on your lunch break, or stretching.
Tune out with a "mindless" activity
Next time someone reprimands you for watching an hour's worth of cat videos on Youtube (that's not only me, right?), just tell them you're treating your brain fog. No, seriously: previous studies suggested watching TV has negative health consequences, but mostly if watched in excess. Taking a break from work or challenging activities is healthy for your brain, and boosts overall productivity. Taking the occasional hour to watch a mindless show, and slow down your thinking is beneficial, especially because brain fog can worsen because of stress.
Get your hormones checked and balanced
If your episodes of mental exhaustion seem consistent and frequent, it may be time to make sure you are not suffering from any of the chronic illnesses commonly associated with brain fog. Folks going through menopause experience brain fog, and are often given hormonal supplements to combat the fatigue. However, anyone with any type of hormone imbalance could benefit from additional supplements recommended or prescribed by a doctor.
Clean your living space or detox
Some people believe brain fog can be perpetuated by toxins in your environment, or by what toxins you put into your body. Some folks recommend a full on detox that includes lots of green tea, but simply cleaning up your house and wiping down all the surfaces might help.
Utilize relaxing coping skills
Just like television, having positive coping skills that relax or turn off your brain may clear up some of your mental fatigue. Meditation, taking a hot bath, and developing healthy habits will help improve your mental health, and by extension, your brain fog.
When you are experiencing brain fog, it may be difficult to engage in some of these activities in the moment, but the results are worth it. Brain fog is frustrating, but by simply changing or adding a few new habits to your routine, you can give yourself a boost through the mental exhaustion.