Do you suffer from brain fog? If so, you are not alone. Brain fog is very common, especially in women. Although it’s not a medical condition on its own, it could be a sign your body is telling you something is wrong! Today I’ll share some simple changes you can make to help with brain fog symptoms.
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What is “Brain Fog”
Brain fog is a symptom, or collection of symptoms, that affect processes of your brain. You might have difficulty with memory, lack of thinking clearly, poor concentration, or even just mental fatigue. You have brain fog if you suffer from any (or all!) of these symptoms, and the severity really falls on a spectrum from very mild to severe.
Many brain fog symptoms can be due to stress, poor diet, or lack of sleep, but there could be an underlying medical reason. So don’t be embarrassed to talk with your medical provider to rule out causes like thyroid disease, liver problems, autoimmune diseases, vitamin deficiency, side effect of medication, depression or anxiety, and other medical diseases.
But if you are looking for simple ways to navigate brain fog, check out the suggestions below.
Stress can deplete your energy levels and your mental capacity. This can be anything from a stressful situation, such as a change in your job, or a sleepless night. Your body experiences many different types of stress, but reacts the same way to all of them.
Some examples might be “stress” from an argument with a friend, “stress” from working out too hard, “stress” from being late for an appointment, or “stress” from a demanding schedule.
One simple solution is to evaluate what is happening in your daily life, and to see if any changes can or should be made to help manage stress better. Even something as simple as journaling at the end of the day to clear your mind can help with brain fog.
For specifics on all of the ways that stress can impact your body and how to tell if you are experiencing stress, check out the article “10 Surprising Stress Effects on the Body”
Fluctuations in blood sugar levels may also be responsible for your mid afternoon brain fog and slumps.
For example, if you eat something that is very sugary, you will get an instant rush of glucose into your system and your brain will use that fuel quickly. However, within one to two hours that glucose level will crash, leaving you with headaches or a mid afternoon slump.
One simple solution is to eat in a consistent pattern which allows your body to have a stable source of energy without the spikes and crashes. Eating protein-rich foods at different times during the day can help you avoid blood sugar spikes and drops. Something as easy as almonds or a hardboiled egg can help significantly.
Poor sleep can also contribute to brain fog. This can occur with things like having an infant or hormonal changes later in life. Sleep can cause difficulty with brain function, memory, and thinking.
The reason that sleep is important is because it is the time of the day where you brain rests, regenerates, and solidifies mental processes, such as solidifying short and long-term memories.
While you may not always be able to get a solid 7 to 9 h of sleep, you should make sure that you are getting at least four hours of uninterrupted sleep, and then supplement the rest of your sleep throughout the day with 90 minute cycles to keep the circadian rhythm in line.
The article “5 Ways to Improve Sleep” will help you trouble-shoot sleep issues naturally.
Did you know that exercise can also increase brain function? Exercising as little as 20 minutes, three times per week will increase blood flow to the brain, and deliver vital nutrients and vitamins to sustain brain health.
Exercising also helps with something called Neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to make new pathways, retain memory, and learn new things. Exercise makes this process much easier and will help improve your overall cognitive function.
As a result, when you incorporate simple exercises into your daily routine, you retain memories more clearly and learn new concept more easily.
Did you know that brain fog can be caused by dehydration? Most of our brain is made of water, so being hydrated is an essential part of making sure our brains work properly. Dehydration can actually worsen memory and mental clarity.
Your body typically needs 1/2 of your body weight in ounces of water in order to function properly and regulate hormones for proper sleep. An easy way to do this is to set a timer on your phone to alert you every 2 hours. This can be a reminder to chug a quick glass of water to stay on top of your hydration each day!
The last cause of brain fog is inflammation. Inflammation is a term used to describe anything that causes the body to be alarmed. This can be things like an illness, a digestion problem, an autoimmune disease, or even stress.
Inflammation can damage many parts of the body and cause accelerated aging. Long term effects of inflammation can cause memory difficulties and recall problems that prevent concentrating and focusing.
What to do about it?
So what can you do about these common reasons or causes? As I mentioned above, make sure to talk with your medical provider to rule out a medical condition that is causing your symptoms. This is especially important if it is something that is recent, and is directly impacting your daily living.
You may also find supplements to be helpful. For more information, check out “Top Supplements for Brain Fog” where you can learn how to use them and where to buy them.