Do you ever feel like you need a nap in the middle of the day and no matter how much coffee you drink, you can’t seem to perk yourself up again? So many of us find that we get that afternoon slump and we lose all motivation to do anything. You might be happy to know that it’s a medically recognised issue and it’s not all in your head. It’s known as brain fog, and it’s something that a lot of people suffer with. When you do physical exercise, you may get sore muscles, and the same thing can happen to your brain when you have been overworking it. If you’ve been wondering how to get rid of brain fog, read on.
What is brain fog?
The most accurate way I can describe having a foggy brain, from my experience, is that it’s like having your head permanently stuck up in the clouds; you can’t see clearly, things are a little distorted, and things feel a bit fuzzy. While you’re up ‘in the clouds’ it’s easy to forget things, like where you left your phone or keys. This condition is what is called a clouding of consciousness; it’s difficult to regulate the feeling of consciousness. As a copywriter, brain fog is the worst because it steals away my creativity, I can’t think properly or write like I usually would; it’s a real drag.
Other common brain fog symptoms include tiredness, inability to focus properly or concentrate, memory problems, and an overall decrease in mental performance. Add all that together, and brain fog can be a big problem.
What causes brain fog?
A more serious medical condition can cause brain fog, so if you suffer from it regularly, you may want to see a doctor. It has been linked to anaemia, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and depression (the reason I get depression fog all the time – thanks Bipolar!). There are also a lot of lifestyle factors that could be causing brain fog because you’re generally feeling overwhelmed and exhausted so that some simple changes could make a big difference.
Brain fog can be caused by stress
Stress is one of the most common causes, which is often why people find that they hit a slump in the afternoon during a busy workday. Chronic stress weakens the immune system and increases your blood pressure. When your brain is working overtime, you are stressed out, and you are likely to suffer from brain fog. If you improve your work-life balance and find ways to wind down and reduce stress (like the brain dump printable below), you may notice a big difference.
Brain fog can be caused by lack of sleep
Lack of sleep is another significant contributor to brain fog, which may be one of the reasons that it’s so common. Around a third of adults say that they have insomnia and half don’t get the recommended 7 or 8 hours a night. That’s a big problem because lack of sleep has a big impact on your health and it leads to brain fog. You can improve your sleep by having a regular routine and going to bed at the same time every night. Avoiding screens for an hour or two before bed makes a big difference as well.
A bad diet can cause brain fog
A bad diet that is lacking in vitamin B-12 can lead to brain fog as well because it helps to support healthy brain function. If you try to add more vitamin B-12 rich foods to your diet, this could reduce brain fog symptoms. Oily fish are one of the best sources, as well as dairy products and eggs. You can also find cereals and non-dairy milk that is fortified with extra vitamin B-12.
How to treat brain fog
The best place to start with treating brain fog is seeing your doctor because you may have a condition that you do not realise you have. Your doctor will be able to run tests to work this out. Once you are aware if there are any underlying causes, you can treat those properly. For example, if tests found you’re anaemic, the doctor may prescribe iron supplements. Otherwise, treating brain fog is a matter of identifying the cause (stress, depression, lack of sleep, lack of cognitive stimulation) and working on improving these as much as you can.
But in your journey of figuring how to get rid of brain fog, you find that it doesn’t go away and is becoming a regular occurrence, you should seek the advice of a doctor. Don’t ignore brain fog. It’s not because you’re having a bad day, it could be a sign of something more serious.