Do you often feel forgetful, disoriented, or cloudy? If so, you may be experiencing brain fog.
This type of cognitive impairment has become even more rampant ever since the Covid-19 pandemic hit—for many reasons.
So, if you have been wondering how to help with brain fog, know that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to it, but there are many things you can do to help improve your symptoms.
In this article, we will discuss seven simple ways to help with brain fog and improve your cognitive function in the long run.
Let’s get started.
What is brain fog, exactly?
Brain fog or mental fog is a type of mild cognitive dysfunction that can cause a variety of symptoms, including:
- low mood
- difficulty concentrating or focusing
- mental and physical fatigue
The causes of brain fog are many and varied. For some people, it may be caused by an underlying medical condition, such as:
- sleep disorders
- chronic fatigue syndrome
- cancer and cancer treatments (i.e., chemo brain)
- lupus (i.e., lupus brain fog)
For some, it may be the result of medications they are taking or recent trauma. And still, for others, brain fog may simply be the result of stress and fatigue.
In our fast-paced, always-on society, it’s no wonder that so many of us are dealing with brain fog on a regular basis.
Some people may deal with brain fog for only a few days, while others struggle with cognitive impairment for months.
Fortunately, there are many things you can do to help with brain fog and enhance your brain function in the long term.
How to Help with Brain Fog
There is no one-size-fits-all brain fog treatment, but there are a number of things you may do to alleviate it.
Here are seven simple ways you should start trying:
1) Prioritize sleep
Getting enough quality sleep is crucial for overall health and well-being, and it is especially important if you are struggling with brain fog.
When you don’t get enough sleep, your body doesn’t have a chance to rest and recover properly.
Also, studies show that sleep deprivation can lead to the immune system weakening and increased levels of stress and anxiety, which can cause brain fog.
To help reduce stress, improve the central nervous system, and ease brain fog, aim to get at least seven to eight hours of good quality sleep each night.
If you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, there are a number of things you may do to improve your sleep quality, such as:
- Establishing a regular sleep schedule and sticking to it as much as possible
- Creating a relaxing bedtime routine (e.g., relaxing baths, deep breathing)
- Limiting caffeine intake, especially a few hours before bedtime
- Avoiding screen time in the hours leading up to bedtime
- Exercising during the day
- Practicing meditation or relaxation techniques
If you constantly struggle with sleep despite making changes to your lifestyle, it may be worth talking to a doctor about the possibility of a sleep disorder.
You can also try some natural supplements to help with sleep, such as:
- Valerian root
- Chamomile tea
- Lavender oil
Just remember that supplements are not regulated by the FDA and should be used cautiously.
Be sure to talk to your doctor before taking any new supplement, especially if you have underlying health conditions or take medications on a regular basis.
2) Eat nutritious meals
What you eat has a direct impact on how you feel, both physically and mentally.
When you are struggling with brain fog, it is especially important to fuel your body with nutritious foods that will support brain function.
Some brain-boosting foods to include in your diet are:
- Omega-rich foods (e.g., fatty fish, flaxseeds, chia seeds)
- Antioxidant-rich foods (e.g., dark leafy greens, berries, nuts)
- Probiotic-rich foods (e.g., yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut)
- Vitamin B-rich foods (e.g., eggs, poultry, legumes)
- Iron-rich foods (e.g., red meat, dark leafy greens, beans)
- Magnesium-rich foods (e.g., dark chocolate, avocado, almonds)
Of course, it is also important to avoid unhealthy foods that can cause brain fog or worsen it and impair your brain function, such as:
- Processed foods
- Sugary drinks and foods
- Too much caffeine
- Trans fats
- Artificial additives
By eating a healthy diet and avoiding processed and sugary foods, you can help improve your overall health, which may help reduce brain fog.
If you need help making dietary changes, talk to a registered dietitian or nutritionist who can create a personalized meal plan for you.
3) Consider taking supplements
In addition to eating a nutritious diet, you may also want to consider taking supplements to help with brain fog.
Some supplements that have been shown to be helpful for cognitive function are:
- Omega-three fatty acids
- B vitamins (e.g., B12, folate)
- Iron (to increase red blood cells flowing through your brain)
- Antioxidants (e.g., Vitamin C, E)
- Ginkgo biloba
This is by no means an exhaustive list, so be sure to talk to your doctor before taking any new supplements. They can help you determine if a particular supplement is right for you and if there are any potential risks or interactions to be aware of.
Just remember that supplements are not regulated by the FDA and should be used with caution.
Some supplements may interact with medications you are taking or have other side effects, so it is always best to talk to your doctor before starting anything new.
4) Get regular aerobic exercise
Exercise is not only good for your physical health, but it can also have various positive effects on your mental health and brain functions.
In fact, research has shown that regular aerobic exercise can help improve brain fog and other symptoms of mental fatigue.
Some of the recommended aerobic exercises include:
- playing tennis
You don’t have to do all of these activities, nor do you have to exercise for long periods of time to see the benefits.
Just 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise a few times a week can help improve brain fog and other symptoms of mental fatigue.
So, if you’re feeling foggy-headed, consider getting some exercise. Even a short walk outdoors can help improve your energy and focus.
If you’re not used to exercising, start slowly and gradually increase the frequency and intensity of your workouts.
And be sure to talk to your doctor before starting any new exercise routine, especially if you have underlying health conditions, such as chronic fatigue syndrome, systemic lupus erythematosus, or thyroid disorders.
5) Rehydrate well
Dehydration can cause a number of symptoms that may contribute to or worsen brain fog.
- trouble concentrating
Therefore, it is important to make sure you are staying hydrated throughout the day.
The recommended daily water intake is about eight glasses or 64 ounces.
However, this may vary depending on your individual needs and factors, such as exercise, climate, and overall health.
So, if you’re feeling foggy-headed, drink a glass of water and see if that helps improve your symptoms.
You can also try adding some electrolytes to your water, such as sodium, potassium, or magnesium.
These minerals are essential for hydration and can help replenish any that you may have lost through sweating.
If you don’t like the taste of plain water or find it hard to drink enough throughout the day, there are a few things you can do to make it more palatable.
Try adding some fresh fruits or vegetables, such as lemon, lime, or cucumber slices.
You can also try infused waters, which are waters that have been flavored with fruits, herbs, or spices.
There are many different recipes available online, so you can find one that suits your taste.
In addition to drinking more water, you can also help prevent dehydration by eating foods that are high in water content.
Some of these foods include:
So, if you’re struggling with brain fog, make sure you’re drinking enough water and eating foods that are high in water content.
6) Train your brain
Just like you train your body, you can also train your brain.
There are many different ways to do this, but some of the most popular methods include:
- memory games
- brain teasers
- card games
- board games
- video games
You can find many of these activities online or via mobile apps.
There are also a number of websites and apps that offer brain-training programs.
So, if you’re looking for ways to improve your brain functions, consider giving some of these activities a try.
Just like with physical exercise, you don’t have to spend hours doing brain-training activities to see the benefits.
One study found that just ten minutes of brain training per day can help improve brain function in older adults.
So, if you’re feeling foggy-headed, consider spending a few minutes each day training your brain.
You may find that it helps improve your symptoms and overall cognitive function in the long run.
7) Take a real break
In our fast-paced world, it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
But sometimes, we need to take a step back and just relax.
Taking a break can do wonders for your mental health and may help reduce symptoms of brain fog.
There are many different ways to take a break, but some of the most popular methods include:
- tai chi
- relaxation techniques
There are many different resources available to help you get started with these activities.
For example, there are a number of meditation apps that can help guide you through the process.
So, if you’re feeling foggy-headed, consider taking a break and doing something that relaxes you.
You may find that it helps improve your symptoms and makes it easier to focus and think clearly.
The Bottom Line
Brain fog can be quite debilitating, especially if it lasts for months like it usually does.
Not to mention the negative impact it brings on your productivity at work, the quality of your relationships, and your overall motivation and energy for your daily tasks.
Thankfully, there are several things you can do naturally to fight brain fog and even improve your brain function like the ones listed above.
If you want to learn more about achieving mental clarity and improving your overall brain health, we have plenty of articles on the topic.