Beat brain fog with these 5 simple steps

November 24, 2020 5 min read

Beat brain fog with these 5 simple steps

Photo by Ivan Aleksic on Unsplash

 

If you often find yourself going to a room in your house only to forget what you’re meant to do, or talking about a movie character you’ve seen so many times but can’t remember the name of, then one thing is going on.

Brain fog.

It’s so easy to dismiss these as simple moments of forgetfulness. But if this happens a lot, then it may be your body sending you a signal to do something and beat brain fog.

 

WHAT IS BRAIN FOG? 

Brain fog is a mental lapse or fatigue, which is characterized by difficulty in thinking, understanding and recalling.

It’s often seen from having trouble: [12]

  • remembering things or people (or their names)
  • keeping mental clarity
  • concentrating or focusing on one thing
  • using and understanding language
  • processing information
  • calculating or putting two and two together
  • keeping strong visual and spatial skills, recognizing shapes
  • solving problems
  • planning and organizing

These are the common symptoms of brain fog. And there are a few reasons why it happens to the best of us. And while it’s common and anyone can suffer from it, brain fog can be linked with chronic illnesses like lupus or chronic fatigue syndrome.

 

WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF BRAIN FOG? 

There are several causes of brain fog. And when I say several, I mean a long list of reasons why it happens to most of us. Are you ready for a scroll marathon?

Here are 8 causes of brain fog:

  1. Lack of sleep
  2. Sleep apnea
  3. Diet
  4. Stress
  5. Hormonal changes and imbalance
  6. Depression and anxiety
  7. Medications
  8. Other medical conditions like chronic fatigue syndrome, anemia, depression, diabetes, migraine, Alzheimer’s disease, hypothyroidism, Sjögren syndrome, lupus, arthritis and multiple sclerosis

If you would like to know more about each of the causes, then read the article “BRAIN FOG: 8 SIGNS YOU HAVE IT, AND 1 QUICK WAY TO GET RID OF IT.”

Luckily, having brain fog isn’t the end of the world and with a few small changes in your lifestyle, you can get rid of it.

 

5 WAYS TO TREAT BRAIN FOG ACCORDING TO SCIENCE 

Sleep

According to studies, not having enough sleep may have adverse effect on cognitive functions. [3] This means having trouble with your memory and constantly being constantly sluggish. And since these occur when your fatigued and just constantly knackered, then the antidote is sleep.

Have a good night’s rest, which is equivalent to seven to nine hours as recommended by the National Sleep Foundation. [4] of sleep every night. Or if you’re feeling so out of it by midday, why don’t you give yourself some power nap? If you find yourself torn between a power nap and smashing as much work during the day as you could, then try this hack we’ve found to work – a coffee nap!

 

Improve your diet 

As we like to suggest in most of our articles, couple your wellness efforts with a healthy diet. Research shows a two-way link between your brain and gut. In more scientific terms, there’s research-based evidence that your mental health is connected to your digestive health. [5] In everyday terms, this means that if you don’t have enough healthy bacteria in your digestive system, then your brain is equally unhappy. So make sure that you eat the right kind of foods to get rid of brain fog. Plus, your happy hormones, also known as serotonin, are created in your gut. 95% of them in your system, to be specific.

If you’re wondering what kinds of foods would be good for brain fog, then here are just some of the brain foods you can easily grab on your next grocery run: 

  • Vegetables
  • Protein
  • Good healthy fats (i.e. salmon)
  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Antioxidants (i.e. berries)
  • Coenzyme Q10

Or refer to next item.

 

Prebiotics and probiotics 

Mayo Clinic says that high-fiber foods or prebiotics, which healthy gut bacteria love, plus probiotics found in various fermented foods, fruits and vegetables would improve both your gut and mental health. [6] Probiotic supplements also are good sources, but make sure to consult your doctor to find out which would work best for you as not all supplements are created equal.

 

Self-care and decompress

Stress and anxiety release stress hormones in the body called cortisol that serves as the body’s flight or fight mechanism. This affects how we react mentally and emotionally that could send us through a downward spiral. So 2020 right?

Well the best we could do for ourselves is a little bit of self-care here and there. Self-care and allowing our body to decompress can help ease mental fatigue and brain fog. Perhaps easier said than done but try your best to take your mind off that thing (or things) causing you stress. Meditate, read a book, go out (provided it’s COVID-safe), take a walk in the park, get some nice warm sun. Even in the middle of a busy schedule, squeeze a few minutes to do some breathing exercises or walk around the block, as your brain will surely thank you for it. Just take this 2018 study, the results of which say that even 10 minutes of mindfulness meditation every day could improve your brain functions. [7]

Better yet, exercise! Movements go a long way and Harvard Health tells us that “the benefits of exercise come directly from its ability to reduce insulin resistance, reduce inflammation, and stimulate the release of growth factors—chemicals in the brain that affect the health of brain cells, the growth of new blood vessels in the brain, and even the abundance and survival of new brain cells." [8] Add to that a January 2020 study showing how exercise can improve thinking among young people. [9] So squeeze in some regular yoga and brisk walking into your lifestyle.

 

Caffeine fix

Caffeine stimulates concentration and mental performance. Within 15 minutes of consuming caffeine, you’ll already feel its stimulating effects. One of them is being more alert, attentive and laser-focused. Learn more about caffeine’s effects to cognitive functions in our article 8 ways caffeine affects your concentration and mental performance.

Livestrong cites a 2009 study from “Cognitive Science” which validates that caffeine “can improve your mental faculties and alleviate fatigue.” [10]

The same article, however, warns about going overboard with caffeine. Having one too many cups of joe in a day can be counter-productive, and can cause brain fog: 

As you go up with a caffeine boost, so you must come down. If you are prone to ingesting high amounts of caffeine, more than 500 mg a day, brain fog can set in. Insomnia, irritability, poor concentration, anxiety and restlessness are a few of the consequences of heavy caffeine use. These effects can occur hours after your last dose and may prompt you to consume more caffeine to counter the effects. However, the cause is not the cure in this case, and you may want to consider weening yourself off of high-dose use.

In any case, moderation is key. Make sure you don’t go beyond the recommended daily caffeine intake. Here’s how much caffeine you should have in a day.

The next time you feel brain fog settling in, try a Viter Energy Mint, which only has 40 mg of caffeine per mint. It’s just enough caffeine you need to clear your head and keep you hustling.

 

Sources:

[1https://www.healthline.com/health/brain-fog

[2] https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320111.php

[3] https://www.bustle.com/p/how-sleep-deprivation-changes-your-brain-according-to-experts-17990663

[4] https://sleepfoundation.org/press-release/national-sleep-foundation-recommends-new-sleep-times/page/0/1

[5https://www.bustle.com/p/is-gut-health-linked-to-mental-health-theres-often-a-direct-connection-according-to-science-16973815

[6] https://www.mayoclinic.org/prebiotics-probiotics-and-your-health/art-20390058

[7] https://theconversation.com/mindfulness-meditation-ten-minutes-a-day-improves-cognitive-function-103386 

[8] https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/regular-exercise-changes-brain-improve-memory-thinking-skills-201404097110

[9] https://www.bustle.com/p/exercise-can-help-you-think-more-clearly-a-new-study-shows-it-might-have-to-do-with-blood-15923200

[10] https://www.livestrong.com/article/440331-caffeine-brain-fog/

 

Tina Sendin
Tina Sendin



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