Written by Dr. Savannah Muncy, Pharm.D on
August 9, 2022
Reading Time: 6 minutes

Medically Reviewed by our Medical Affairs Team

Written by Dr. Savannah Muncy, Pharm.D on:

Brain fog is a condition that affects many people, and its causes can be difficult to identify. This is no wonder we get a lot of questions like, “does brain fog go away?”.

The good news is that in most cases, brain fog does go away.

In this article, we will explore what research says about the duration of brain fog and whether or not it is a permanent condition.

We will also discuss some tips for improving brain health and reducing the symptoms of brain fog.

Let’s get started.

What is brain fog, exactly?

Brain fog or mental fog is a condition that is characterized by mental fatigue, forgetfulness, difficulty concentrating, and an overall decrease in cognitive functioning.

People with brain fog often feel like they are in a constant state of “fog” or “mental haze.” This can make it difficult to think clearly, remember things, or focus on tasks.

Brain fog is usually a mild cognitive impairment that lasts for a few days to a couple of weeks, but it could also become a full-on cognitive dysfunction that affects a person’s daily life for months.

Take note that brain fog is not an isolated condition that can be diagnosed, but it is often a symptom of an underlying condition or a result of lifestyle.

Causes

There are various factors that cause brain fog, and some of the most common ones are the following:

  • Stress: When a person is under too much stress, it could lead to problems with brain function, especially when it comes to focus and concentration.
  • Lack of sleep: Not getting enough sleep can also result in mental fatigue and brain fog.
  • Poor nutrition: Eating a diet that is lacking in essential nutrients can also contribute to cognitive problems.
  • Nutritional deficiencies: Certain nutrient deficiencies, such as vitamin B12, iron, and vitamin D, can also cause brain fog.
  • Dehydration: dehydration can cause symptoms like headaches and dizziness, which can lead to brain fog.
  • Lack of exercise: A sedentary lifestyle can also lead to mental fatigue and brain fog.
  • Side effects of medications: certain medications can cause side effects like drowsiness and confusion, which can lead to brain fog.
  • Underlying health conditions: some health conditions like anxiety, depression, and thyroid problems can also cause brain fog.

Now that we know some of the causes of brain fog, let’s take a look at how long it lasts and whether or not it goes away.

Does brain fog go away?

In most cases, brain fog does go away. However, the duration of brain fog depends on its underlying cause.

If the cause is something temporary like sleep deprivation or stress, then the brain fog will likely go away once the person gets enough rest or manages their stress better.

However, if the cause is something more serious like an underlying health condition, then the brain fog may last for months or even years.

Fortunately, there are treatments available for conditions that cause chronic brain fog.

For instance, if the cause is a nutritional deficiency, then taking supplements can help improve the symptoms.

If the cause is an underlying health condition, then treating the condition can also help reduce the symptoms of brain fog.

What about Covid-19 brain fog?

There is still not enough research to determine how long Covid-19 brain fog lasts.

However, some studies suggest that the symptoms of brain fog can last for weeks or even months after recovering from the virus.

This is why it’s important to see a doctor if you are experiencing any cognitive problems after recovering from Covid-19.

How do you get rid of brain fog?

There are several things that you can do to get rid of brain fog and improve your cognitive function.

Some of the most effective strategies include:

Get enough sleep

Sleep is crucial for brain health. It is when we sleep that the brain gets a chance to rest and repair itself.

If you are not getting enough sleep, then it can lead to memory concerns and problems with focus and concentration.

Studies show that sleep deprivation can cause cognitive impairments similar to those seen in Alzheimer’s disease.

So, make sure that you are getting at least seven to eight hours of sleep every night.

If you have trouble sleeping, then there are some things that you can do to improve your sleep quality, such as the following:

  • Establish a regular sleep schedule
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed
  • Create a relaxing bedtime routine
  • Keep your bedroom cool, dark, and quiet

Manage stress

Stress can take a toll on your immune system and central nervous system and cause problems with focus, concentration, and memory.

Research reveals that chronic stress can damage the brain and lead to cognitive problems.

So, it’s important to find ways to reduce stress. Some effective stress-relief strategies include:

  • Exercise
  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Deep breathing exercises
  • Taking breaks throughout the day
  • Spending time in nature
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Doing hobbies that you love
  • Spending time with loved ones
  • Getting a relaxing massage
  • Doing activities or playing games you enjoy

Eat a healthy diet

What you eat has a direct impact on your cognitive health.

Studies show that a healthy diet can improve cognitive function and protect against age-related cognitive decline.

On the other hand, an unhealthy diet can lead to problems with focus, concentration, and memory.

Some foods that are good for cerebral health include:

  • Dark leafy greens
  • Berries
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Beans and legumes
  • Whole grains
  • Fatty fish
  • Avocados
  • Olive oil
  • Green tea
  • Coffee

Resolve any nutrient deficiency

Nutritional deficiencies can also cause problems with focus, concentration, and memory.

Research suggests that deficiencies in certain nutrients, such as omega-three fatty acids, vitamin D, and B vitamins, can lead to cognitive problems.

Some common nutrient deficiencies that can lead to brain fog include:

  • Iron deficiency
  • Vitamin A deficiency
  • Vitamin B12 deficiency
  • Vitamin C deficiency
  • Vitamin D deficiency
  • Omega-three fatty acids
  • Magnesium deficiency
  • Iodine deficiency

If you are not getting enough of certain nutrients from your diet, then you may need to take supplements.

We highly recommend consulting your doctor before taking any dietary supplements, especially if you’re on medication, because some supplements can interact with certain types of medicine—this can do more harm than good.

Rehydrate well

Dehydration can also cause problems with focus, concentration, and memory.

Studies show that when you’re dehydrated, your brain tissue loses water, which can lead to the shrinking of the brain—this can result in impaired cognitive function.

So, make sure that you’re drinking enough water throughout the day.

The recommended daily intake of water is eight to ten glasses, but this depends on how much you sweat day-to-day, your body temperature, the climate you’re living in, and generally how much your body needs.

A good rule of thumb to follow when it comes to drinking water is that once you’re thirsty, you are already dehydrated. So, make it a habit to drink water even before you feel thirst.

If you’re not used to drinking that much water, then we recommend starting slowly and gradually increasing your intake over time.

Here are more tips to make rehydration a daily habit:

  • Carry a water bottle with you
  • Set reminders on your phone
  • Drink a glass of water first thing in the morning
  • Sip on herbal tea throughout the day
  • Eat foods with high water content, such as fruits and vegetables
  • Make sure that you’re getting enough electrolytes, especially if you sweat a lot.

Get enough exercise

Exercise is not only great for your physical health, but it’s also excellent for your mental health.

Research shows that exercise can improve brain function and protect against age-related cognitive decline.

So, make sure that you’re getting enough exercise every day. Even a moderate amount of exercise can make a difference.

Some easy ways to make sure that you’re getting enough exercise every day include:

  • Walking or cycling to work
  • Taking the stairs instead of the elevator
  • Doing a few jumping jacks or push-ups throughout the day
  • Going for a short walk during your lunch break
  • Jogging or running in the park
  • Doing an at-home workout
  • Playing with your kids or pets
  • Performing any aerobic exercise for at least 10 to 30 minutes a day.

Play puzzles and brain teasers

Puzzles and brain teasers are a great way to keep your mind active and sharp.

Studies reveal that playing puzzles and brain teasers can improve cognitive abilities and protect the brain against cognitive aging.

So, make sure that you’re doing brain teasers and puzzles every day. You can find puzzles and brain teasers in many different places, such as:

  • Books
  • Magazines
  • Online websites and apps
  • Newspapers

There are many different types of brain teasers and puzzles to choose from, so find ones that you enjoy and that challenge you.

Some popular puzzle and brain teaser games include:

  • Sudoku
  • Crosswords
  • Word searches
  • Jigsaw puzzles
  • Trivial Pursuit
  • Scrabble

Get health conditions under control.

As we mentioned earlier, various health conditions can cause brain fog.

For example, research shows that people with anxiety and depression are more likely to experience brain fog.

This is why it’s crucial to reduce anxiety, fix sleep problems, and fight inflammation and other factors that cause brain fog.

So, if you have any health conditions, make sure that you’re getting them under control. This may involve taking medication or seeing a therapist or a doctor.

Some common health conditions that can cause brain fog include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Heart disease
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Thyroid problems
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Multiple sclerosis

Concluding Thoughts

Brain fog can be an overwhelming and debilitating condition that impacts your quality of life day-to-day.

A lot of people experiencing brain fog for months and even years suffer a significant loss of their productivity and general enthusiasm in life.

Thankfully, there are steps you can take to keep brain fog away. We hope that this article has helped you to better understand the condition and how to get rid of it.

If you want to learn more about taking good care of your brain health and combating brain fog, we have plenty of helpful resources in our blog.

Also, feel free to join our online community for more support and share this post with family and friends to help them fight brain fog.

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