Written by Dr. Valentina Quintana MD on
August 23, 2021
Reading Time: 6 minutes

Medically Reviewed by our Medical Affairs Team

Written by Dr. Valentina Quintana MD on:

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Is coffee the answer to your brain fog? It’s a question that many of us have asked at some point.

Brain fog is an unpleasant, unsettling feeling that can make it difficult to complete our everyday tasks.

This blog post will answer the frequent question “does coffee help brain fog?” and what caffeine does for your brain in general. We’ll also discuss the side effects of coffee on the brain, as well as different doses of caffeine beneficial to the mind!

Let’s get started.

What is Brain Fog?

Brain fog is a feeling of mental confusion and unclear thinking that can make it difficult to complete everyday tasks.

The brain does not feel as sharp, the memory does not work as well, thoughts are harder to organize or remember, and concentration becomes a struggle.

The feeling of ‘brain fog’ is common in those who have been up for too long during nighttime hours without sleep, as well as those with chronic illness, which does not allow for the brain to operate at its peak.

What does caffeine do for your brain?

Caffeine is a stimulant found in coffee and other beverages such as tea, soda, or energy drinks that can help your mind feel more awake and alert.

A cup of coffee does not just give you a caffeine boost; it also increases your mental focus and improves the ability to retain information as well.

Caffeine does have some side effects which are often overlooked:

– Your heart will be racing faster because of how caffeine stimulates your central nervous system. This can then lead to an irregular heartbeat or other heart complications, so it’s essential to be careful with caffeine consumption.

– Too much caffeine will cause the body to become dehydrated, which can lead to a variety of other side effects, including headaches and muscle cramps.

In addition, too much coffee does not give you any additional energy boosts – if anything, it leads to more fatigue as your body tries to metabolize the caffeine.

How does coffee affect brain fog?

The effects of coffee on brain fog are not as clear-cut or easy to understand as you might think.

Some studies have shown that people who drink at least one cup of coffee a day can experience an improvement in cognitive function, while others show no effect whatsoever.

In order to answer the question “does coffee help brain fog,” it’s important to find out the right dosage of caffeine beneficial for your mood and cognitive function.

The general consensus is that you should drink about 200 mg a day of caffeine in order to get an energy boost without significant side effects on how your mind feels—more than this can lead to feeling jittery, anxious, or too stressed out.

Do coffee and brain fog go hand in hand?

There does not seem to be a clear connection between caffeine intake and its relationship with improved cognitive function for those who experience brain fog symptoms.

Some studies have found that drinking one cup of coffee does help the mind feel more awake and alert, while others show no effect.

It is also worth noting that for those who experience ‘brain fog,’ there does not seem to be a clear connection between coffee and its improvement in brain fogginess.

Depending on the dosage, caffeine does have some side effects when consumed too frequently or in large amounts: heart rate may increase, and the body will become dehydrated, which leads to fatigue and headaches.

The general consensus is that you should drink about 200 mg a day of caffeine in order to get an energy boost without significant side effects on how your mind feels—more than this can lead to feeling jittery, anxious, or too stressed out.

What causes brain fog?

The exact cause of brain fog is not clear, but it is often linked with lack of sleep, chronic illness, or other mental health disorders such as anxiety.

Brain fog can also occur when you have been up for too long during nighttime hours without rest and when your mind does begin to feel fatigued.

If you are suffering from a persistent feeling of confusion and unclear thinking, which makes it difficult to complete day-to-day tasks like remembering where your keys are or paying attention in meetings at work, then the chances are that you may be experiencing ‘brain fog.’

Here are other recognized causes of brain fog:

Sleep Apnea – if you stop breathing for a brief moment during your sleep, this can cause brain fog or fatigue.

Narcolepsy – frequent daytime drowsiness and sudden attacks of sleep that do not seem to be triggered by anything in particular.

Chronic pain – chronic pain often leads to more intense headaches and feelings of confusion from being unable to focus on the task at hand due to constant discomfort and distress.

Medication side effects – certain medications such as chemotherapy drugs may have short-term cognitive side effects, which also include brain fog symptoms like headache and nausea (these types of side effects are temporary).

Mild traumatic head injury – when someone experiences a mild concussion, it is common for them to feel exhausted or confused because they cannot focus on the task at hand.

Nutritional deficiencies – this is a common cause of brain fog in those who do not eat a balanced diet.

Stress – too much stress does often lead to feelings of anxiety, confusion, or lack of focus, which are all symptoms that can be mistaken for brain fog.

Depression- depression does have side effects such as fatigue and an inability to concentrate on the task at hand—this could also result in feeling confused or having difficulty remembering things.

More Studies on Coffee and Brain Fog

In a study of coffee and its effects on cognitive function, it was found that caffeine does not have any significant side effects in those who consume 200 mg or less per day.

The researchers noted that there is no apparent connection between coffee consumption-related benefits to cognitive performance when the dosage does not exceed this amount.

It was also discovered through research studies and surveys that drinking more than one cup of coffee does not lead to improved cognitive function.

However, it does seem like caffeine does have some benefits for those who suffer from chronic fatigue syndromes, which are linked with brain fog symptoms such as lack of energy and concentration.

In another study about the effects of caffeine on memory recall, it was found that there are no significant benefits when consuming 200 mg or less per day.

However, the researchers did note that “caffeine might be a helpful stimulant in individuals experiencing low-level sleep deprivation.” 

This could help them concentrate better during tasks at hand without feeling tired or fatigued—it also protects against headaches and other physical side effects related to having a decreased level of focus because they were up too long during nighttime hours.

Other Drinks That Can Help You Clear Brain Fog

Here are some of the most popular drinks that help fight brain fog other than coffee and water: 

Chamomile Tea – does not contain caffeine but does have a mild calming effect.

Lemon Balm – also does not contain caffeine but can be used as a sleep aid or to calm down during times of anxiety and panic attacks.

Valerian Root Extracts – this is an herbal supplement that does help promote relaxation for those who suffer from stress-related symptoms such as brain fog or difficulty sleeping.

Kava Kava – this non-stimulating herb has been shown in studies to reduce feelings of stress while promoting relaxation and improved mood—it is often marketed as the answer for people with insomnia because it provides restful sleep without needing any medication (there are no significant side effects).

Ashwagandha – this is a plant-based supplement that does not contain any caffeine and has been shown to be helpful for those who experience chronic anxiety.

So, does coffee help brain fog?

Coffee does have some caffeine benefits regarding the effects it has on the body but does not seem to make any significant difference when consumed in small doses of 200 mg or less per day.

There are also other side-effects associated with increased levels of caffeine, such as headaches and decreased sleep quality which can lead to feeling fatigued or unfocused without having a medical disorder that is explicitly linked with caffeine intake (like chronic fatigue syndrome).

Side effects from high levels of consumption may include anxiety, insomnia, nausea, and vomiting—though these symptoms do usually fade once you’ve stopped drinking too much coffee.

It seems like there might be one benefit for those who experience short-term brain fog symptoms from chronic fatigue syndrome, which is that caffeine makes them more alert and engaged when it comes to completing tasks.

In the case of headaches or other physical ailments such as sleep deprivation, there are also some treatments for reducing brain fog, such as the following:

  • taking a break from work-related activities (to allow time for rest)
  • drinking plenty of water throughout the day
  • taking nutritional supplements if you have been dieting recently without getting all the necessary nutrients in your system.
  • talking to a doctor about any medications they might be on since these may have side effects related to memory loss or confusion.

There are many factors that can contribute towards feeling unfocused or having difficulty concentrating or overall brain fog. 

Some examples include: coffee addiction (which does lead to withdrawal symptoms when you stop drinking coffee), anxiety, depression, or chronic fatigue syndrome.

Get rid of brain fog right off the bat by consuming moderate amounts of coffee and other beverages. 

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