Written by Dr. Valentina Quintana MD on
June 12, 2022
Reading Time: 9 minutes

Medically Reviewed by our Medical Affairs Team

Written by Dr. Valentina Quintana MD on:

Do you feel like you’re not yourself lately? Are you having trouble concentrating and making decisions? You might be experiencing chronic brain fog.

Constant mental fog can make it difficult for you to perform everyday tasks. While there is no one-size-fits-all solution to brain fog, there are many natural remedies that can help.

In this article, we will discuss the causes and symptoms of chronic mental fog and 12 of its most effective natural solutions.

Keep reading to learn more!

What is brain fog, exactly?

Brain fog is a collection of cognitive symptoms that can include difficulty concentrating, memory problems, and fatigue.

It’s also sometimes called “mental fatigue” or “mental fog.”

People who experience brain fog often describe it as a mild cognitive impairment that lasts for a couple of days or more. At the same time, others deal with it as a cognitive dysfunction that affects their lives for months.  

People who deal with brain fog report feeling:

  • Unclear thinking 
  • Disoriented
  • Scattered
  • Spacey
  • Confused
  • Forgetful

These symptoms can make it difficult to focus on work, have conversations, or remember simple tasks.

Brain fog can also cause physical fatigue and make it hard to exercise. In severe cases, it can lead to depression.

While brain fog is not a medical diagnosis, it is a real condition with real symptoms. And its causes can range from chronic stress to food sensitivities.

Natural Solutions for Chronic Mental Fog

There are many natural solutions that can help chronic brain fog. Some of the most effective remedies and management strategies include:

1) Managing your stress levels

Chronic stress is a common cause of mental fog. If you’re constantly feeling overwhelmed, it’s time to take action.

There are many different stress management techniques you can try. Some of the most effective include:

  • Exercise
  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Deep breathing exercises
  • Journaling
  • Spending time in nature
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Making time for hobbies and activities you enjoy

If you’re struggling to manage your stress levels, talk to your doctor or mental health professional. They can help you develop a plan to get your stress under control.

2) Get enough sleep during the night

Sleep is essential for brain health. If you’re not getting enough sleep, it can lead to chronic mental fog.

There are many different things you can do to improve your sleep quality. Some of the most effective include:

  • Sticking to a regular sleep schedule
  • Avoiding caffeine and alcohol before bed
  • Creating a relaxing bedtime routine
  • Turning off electronics at least 30 minutes before bed
  • Making sure your bedroom is dark, quiet, and comfortable

If you’re struggling to get enough sleep or if you have a sleep disorder, talk to your doctor. They can help you identify the underlying cause of your sleep deprivation and develop a treatment plan.

3) Take breaks during the day

If you’re struggling with chronic brain fog, it’s important to take breaks during the day. Taking a few minutes to relax and rejuvenate can make a big difference in your energy levels and focus.

There are many different ways you can take a break. Some of the most effective include:

  • Getting up and moving around every hour or so
  • Taking a few minutes to do some gentle stretches
  • Listening to relaxing music
  • Taking a short nap
  • Eating healthy snacks
  • Drinking plenty of water

Talk to your boss or supervisor if you’re struggling to take breaks during the day. They may be able to give you some flexibility with your work schedule to help you regain focus and improve your mental clarity and productivity.

4) Eat brain-friendly and nutritious meals

What you eat has a big impact on your brain health. If you’re not eating nutritious meals, it can lead to chronic mental fog.

There are many different brain-friendly foods you can incorporate into your diet. Some of the most effective include:

  • Omega-three fatty acids
  • B vitamins
  • Antioxidants
  • Healthy fats
  • Complex carbohydrates
  • Lean protein

To get the most benefit, focus on eating whole, unprocessed foods. And be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated.

Talk to a registered dietitian if you’re struggling to eat a healthy diet. They can help you develop a plan that includes all the nutrients your brain needs to function at its best.

5) Consider taking supplements

Certain supplements can also help chronic brain fog. Some of the most effective include:

  • Omega-three fatty acids
  • B vitamins
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Zinc
  • Vitamin D

If you’re interested in taking supplements, talk to your doctor first. They can help you determine which ones are right for you and make sure you’re taking them safely.

6) Keep rehydrating

Dehydration is a common cause of mental fog. When you’re dehydrated, your brain doesn’t function as well.

To prevent dehydration, be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day. You can also incorporate other fluids into your diet, such as:

  • Herbal tea
  • Fruit juice
  • Soups
  • Smoothies

If you’re struggling to drink enough water, talk to your doctor. They can help you develop a plan to stay hydrated and avoid chronic mental fog.

7) Get aerobic exercise regularly

Exercise is essential for brain health. It increases blood flow to the brain, helps reduce stress, and strengthens your central nervous system.

Aim for at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise most days of the week to get the most benefit. Some great exercises to try include:

  • Walking
  • Jogging
  • Swimming
  • Biking

If you’re struggling to get enough exercise, tag an accountability partner, it could be a friend or a family member, so that you’ll have a support system who will exercise with you or push you on days you don’t feel like getting some movement.

8) Train your brain regularly

Just like you exercise your body to stay fit, you need to exercise your brain to stay sharp.

There are many ways you can train your brain. Some of the most effective include:

  • Puzzle games
  • Word games
  • Memory games
  • Logic games
  • Crosswords
  • Sudoku 

If you’re struggling to find time to train your brain, try using some of the apps or websites that offer brain-training games.

You can also talk to your doctor about other ways to keep your brain active and healthy.

9) Set a daily time off your devices

It’s important to give your brain a break from screen time. When you’re constantly staring at screens, it can lead to chronic brain fog.

To reduce the amount of time you spend on devices, try setting a daily limit. Once you reach your limit, log off all your devices and do something else.

Some great activities to try include:

  • Reading
  • Spending time outside
  • Listening to music
  • Crafting
  • Cooking
  • Yoga

If you’re struggling to reduce your screen time, consult a mental health specialist or a lifestyle coach. They can help you develop a plan to cut back gradually.

10) Detoxify regularly

Detoxifying your body can help chronic mental fog. When you detox, you remove toxins from your body that can lead to inflammation and other health problems.

There are many different ways you can detoxify your body. Some of the most effective include:

  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Exercising regularly
  • Reducing stress
  • Getting enough sleep

If you’re struggling to detoxify your body, talk to a naturopathic doctor. They can help you develop a plan that’s tailored to your needs.

11) Manage any underlying health issues or medical conditions

Certain health conditions can lead to chronic brain fog. If you have a chronic condition, it’s important to work with your doctor to manage it effectively.

Some of the most common chronic conditions that can cause brain fog include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Thyroid problems
  • Sleep disorders
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome

If you think you might have a chronic condition, talk to your doctor. They can help you get the brain fog treatment you need to feel better.

12) Spend time in nature

Spending time in nature can help chronic mental fog. When you’re in nature, you’re exposed to fresh air and natural light. This can help improve your mood and cognitive function.

To get the most benefit, aim to spend at least 30 minutes in nature every day. Some great activities to try include:

  • Hiking 
  • Camping
  • Gardening
  • Bird watching

If you’re struggling to get enough time in nature, try taking a nature walk or visiting a nearby park.

Common Causes of Chronic Brain Fog

There are many potential causes of chronic mental fog. Identifying the root cause of your symptoms is the first step in finding relief.

Here are some common causes:

Constant Stress

Your body’s stress response is designed to help you deal with dangerous situations. When you’re in danger, your body releases a hormone called cortisol.

Cortisol helps you to:

  • Focus
  • Be alert
  • Have more energy 
  • Think more clearly

But when you’re constantly stressed, your body stays in “fight-or-flight” mode. This can lead to chronic cortisol production and a host of health problems, including brain fog.

Poor Sleep Quality

Sleep is essential for your overall health and well-being. When you don’t get enough sleep, your immune system and body can’t function properly. This can lead to difficulty concentrating, irritability, and fatigue.

If you suspect that poor sleep quality is causing your brain fog, consider making some changes to your bedtime routine. Consider:

  • Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day
  • Limiting screen time before bed
  • Creating a relaxing bedtime ritual

Food Sensitivities

If you’re constantly feeling foggy and tired, your diet might be to blame. Certain foods can cause inflammation and trigger food sensitivities. These reactions can lead to brain fog, among other symptoms.

Some common food sensitivities include:

  • Dairy
  • Gluten
  • Sugar
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • MSG

If you suspect that your diet is causing your cognitive impairment, try eliminating common food sensitivities and see if your symptoms improve.

Nutritional Deficiencies

Certain nutrients are essential for your immune system and brain health. When you’re deficient in these nutrients, it can lead to cognitive problems like brain fog.

Some common nutrient deficiencies that can cause brain fog include:

  • Omega-three fatty acids
  • Vitamin B12
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Zinc

You can increase your intake of these nutrients by eating a healthy diet and taking supplements.

Dehydration

When you’re constantly dehydrated, it can lead to fatigue, headaches, and difficulty concentrating. If you’re not drinking enough water, it’s time to make a change.

Aim to drink eight glasses of water per day. You can also increase your water intake by eating foods with high water content, such as fruits and vegetables.

Remember that the first sign of dehydration is when you get thirsty.

Lack of Exercise

Regular exercise is essential for your overall health, especially your brain. Exercise increases red blood cells flow to your brain and helps to protect it from damage.

If you’re not getting enough exercise, start by adding a 30-minute walk to your daily routine. You can also try other forms of exercise, such as biking, swimming, or jogging.

As you start to feel better, you can increase the intensity and duration of your workouts.

Electromagnetic Radiation

In today’s world, we’re constantly exposed to electromagnetic radiation from our phones, computers, and other electronic devices. This radiation can cause brain fog and other health problems.

To reduce your exposure to electromagnetic radiation, consider:

  • Limiting your screen time
  • Using a hands-free device when talking on the phone
  • Keeping your devices away from your bed 
  • Taking breaks from electronics every few hours

Toxins

We’re all exposed to toxins on a daily basis. Toxins are everywhere, from the air we breathe to the food we eat.

Some common toxins that can cause brain fog include:

  • Heavy metals
  • Pesticides
  • Artificial additives

You can reduce your exposure to toxins by eating organic foods, filtering your water, and using natural cleaning products.

Mental Health Conditions

Mental health conditions, such as anxiety and depression can also lead to chronic brain fog. 

Other mental health issues that often cause brain fog include:

  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

If you’re constantly feeling overwhelmed or down, it’s time to seek help.

Talk to your doctor about your symptoms and ask for a referral to a mental health professional. With treatment, you can start to feel better and get your life back on track.

Long Covid

Long Covid is a term used to describe the lingering effects of Covid-19. Some people who have recovered from the virus continue to experience symptoms, such as brain fog, for months or even longer.

If you’re struggling with long Covid, it’s important to get help. Talk to your doctor about your symptoms and ask for a referral to a specialist.

There are also many online resources and support groups available.

Other Medical Conditions or Underlying Health Issues

There are many other medical or health conditions that can cause chronic mental fog. Some of these include:

  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Thyroid problems
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Fibromyalgia 
  • Lyme disease
  • Lupus (i.e., lupus brain fog)
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Cancer and cancer treatments (i.e., chemo brain)

If you’re struggling with chronic mental fog, it’s important to get a diagnosis from a medical professional. Once you know the cause of your symptoms, you can start treatment and feel better.

Medication Side Effects

Certain medications can cause mental fog as a side effect. If you’re taking medication and have chronic mental fog, talk to your doctor about changing your dosage or switching to a different drug.

Some of the most common culprits include:

  • Antidepressants
  • Anti-anxiety drugs
  • Blood pressure medications
  • Sleeping pills
  • Birth control pills

Hormonal Imbalances

Hormonal imbalances are a common cause of brain fog symptoms, especially in women.

Some of the most common hormonal imbalances that can cause mental fog include:

  • Hypothyroidism
  • Adrenal fatigue
  • Pregnancy
  • Perimenopause and menopause

If you’re struggling with chronic mental fog, it’s important to get your hormones checked. Once you know the cause of your symptoms, you can start treatment and feel better.

Common Symptoms of Brain Fog

In addition to chronic fatigue, mental fog can cause a variety of other symptoms. These include:

  • Memory problems
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Difficulty with multitasking
  • Poor decision-making skills
  • Disorganization and forgetfulness
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Mood swings
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Muscle pain and stiffness

The Bottom Line

Chronic brain fog is a frustrating and debilitating condition, especially when it starts to affect your career, personal life, and relationships.

It’s hard to deal with plummeting productivity, loss of motivation, and less engagement with the people you love all because of a foggy brain.

Thankfully, there are steps you can take to bring back your mental clarity and even improve your cognitive function in the long run—do your best to heed our recommendations above.

And remember that the effectiveness of your brain fog treatment depends on how you identify its root cause and how you approach it.

If you want to learn more about brain fog and its natural remedies, here’s a plethora of helpful resources on the topic, and check out this online community of brain health advocates.

Join The Mental Health Community You've Been Dreaming Of


This discord family is a safe place where we can all (anonymously if we choose) talk about and seek help for what is going on in our heads.

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