Written by Dr. Savannah Muncy, Pharm.D on
May 25, 2022
Reading Time: 6 minutes

Medically Reviewed by our Medical Affairs Team

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

You know that feeling when you walk into a room and can’t remember why you’re there? Or when you can’t think of the word you want to use, even though it’s on the tip of your tongue? How about when you just feel so sluggish it’s hard to get up and start your daily routine? 

We’ve all been there. And it’s not just an age thing–though let’s be honest, that doesn’t help. Brain fog can strike at any time and for a great number of reasons. In this article, we’ll go over what brain fog is, the most common reasons for the pesky condition, and give you some tips to combat the symptoms. 

So here we go, 11 common reasons for brain fog and how to treat them!

What is Brain Fog, Exactly? 

When you can’t seem to focus on anything and your brain feels like it’s smothered by thick clouds, that’s brain fog. It’s not an official medical diagnosis, but it’s a real phenomenon that can affect anyone–even people who are usually perfectly clear headed. 

Brain fog can be caused by stress, lack of sleep, poor diet, or certain medical conditions. It can make it hard to think clearly, remember things, or stay motivated. 

The good news is that there are plenty of ways to fight back against brain fog. Taking breaks throughout the day, eating a balanced diet, and getting enough exercise are all great starting points. 

Let’s take a closer look at what causes brain fog and how you can fight the fatigue. 

11 Common Reasons for Brain Fog

There are plenty of reasons why you may find yourself suddenly foggy. Here are 11 of the most common reasons for brain fog: 

1. Impaired sleep quality 

Sleep is important for many aspects of brain function, including focus, concentration, and memory. When you don’t get enough sleep, or if your sleep is disrupted, it can lead to problems with these cognitive functions. This can manifest as brain fog, making it difficult to think clearly or remember things.

2. Stress 

Chronic stress can take a toll on your mental and physical health. When you’re constantly on edge, it can lead to problems with focus and concentration. You may find yourself feeling foggy-headed, or unable to think clearly. 

3. Diet 

They say you are what you eat, and to be honest, there’s quite a bit of truth in that statement! When you eat poorly, you feel poorly. When you eat healthy, you feel healthy! But what you eat can also have a big impact on your brain function. A diet that’s high in sugar and refined carbs can lead to problems with focus and concentration. On the other hand, a diet that’s low in essential nutrients can also cause brain fog. 

4. Hormone imbalance 

Hormonal imbalances can cause a variety of problems, including brain fog. When your hormones are out of balance, it can lead to problems with focus, concentration, and memory. 

5. Nutrient deficiencies 

Certain nutrients are essential for brain health. When you’re deficient in these nutrients, it can lead to problems with brain function. Common nutrient deficiencies that can cause brain fog include vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids, and B vitamins. These nutrients can be found in foods like oily fish, eggs, and leafy green vegetables.

6. Depression 

Depression is a common mental health disorder that can have a profound impact on your thinking and behavior. Depression can make it difficult to focus, concentrate, or remember things. You may also find yourself feeling foggy-headed or sluggish, the main symptoms of brain fog

7. Early signs of dementia 

In some cases, brain fog may be an early sign of dementia. Dementia is a general term for a decline in mental ability. Early signs include problems with memory, concentration, and focus. If you’re experiencing these symptoms, it’s important to see a doctor. 

8. For women, pregnancy 

Pregnancy and postpartum can both lead to brain fog. This is likely due to the hormonal changes that occur during these life stages. Pregnancy and postpartum can also be accompanied by sleep disruptions, which can further contribute to brain fog. 

9. For women, perimenopause or menopause 

Perimenopause is the transition period leading up to menopause. Menopause is the point in time when a woman stops ovulating. Both of these life stages can lead to hormonal imbalances, which can cause brain fog. 

10. Other underlying health conditions 

There are many other underlying health conditions that can cause brain fog including thyroid problems, anemia, and Lyme disease. If you’re experiencing brain fog and it just won’t leave you alone, it’s important to see a doctor to rule out any underlying health issues. 

11. Medication or treatment side effects 

Certain medications and treatments can cause brain fog as a side effect. These include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and some types of antidepressants. If you’re experiencing brain fog and you think it may be due to your medication or treatment, be sure to talk to your health care professional.

Common Symptoms of Brain Fog 

Brain fog can be caused by a number of things, including stress, fatigue, poor sleeping habits, and certain medical conditions. It can also be a side effect of certain medications. 

No matter the cause, brain fog can be frustrating and even dangerous if it interferes with your ability to function normally. Some of the most common symptoms of brain fog include: 

  • Difficulty thinking clearly or concentrating 
  • Trouble remembering things 
  • Feeling confused or disorganized 
  • Feeling “foggy-headed” or “spaced out” 
  •  Feeling fatigued or tired all the time 
  • Having difficulty multitasking 
  • Having trouble finding the right words to say 

How to Treat Brain Fog Naturally 

If you’re experiencing brain fog, don’t worry! you don’t need some grand, expensive medical treatment to cure you. There are plenty of natural treatments you can try before seeking medical help. 

Here are a few ways you can try to fight the dreaded brain fog: 

Get enough sleep 

This one is important! Make sure you’re getting enough sleep every night, aim for 7-9 hours. When you get your full beauty sleep, you don’t only feel refreshed but you’re actually giving your brain that time it needs to reset, refresh, and recoup in order to fire at full capacity! 

Maintain a healthy diet 

What you put into your body definitely has an effect on how you feel and think. Make sure you’re eating plenty of whole foods, including fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and healthy fats. Avoid processed foods, sugary drinks, and excessive amounts of caffeine. 

Consider supplementation 

If you’re not getting enough of certain vitamins and minerals from your diet, you may want to consider supplementing. Some good options to help with brain fog are omega-3 fatty acids, B-vitamins, magnesium, and iron. 

Stay hydrated 

Drinking plenty of water is important for overall health, but it’s also essential for a healthy brain. Make sure you’re drinking at least 8 glasses of water a day to keep your brain functioning properly. 

Exercise regularly 

Exercise has so many benefits, and one of them is improving brain function. Getting your body moving, even if it’s just for ten or fifteen minutes at a time, helps increase blood flow to the brain and can also help reduce stress levels. 

Try new things 

It’s easy to get stuck in a rut when you do the same things day in and day out. But trying new things can help keep your mind active and can also help reduce stress levels. So go ahead and try that new recipe, sign up for that pottery class, or take a weekend trip to somewhere you’ve never been before!

Avoid multitasking 

When you’re trying to do too many things at once, it’s easy to feel scattered and disorganized. If you’re feeling brain fog, try to focus on one thing at a time. This will help you avoid feeling overwhelmed and will also help you be more productive overall. 

Exercise your memory skills 

You can help improve your memory by doing things like playing memory games, learning a new skill, or reading more often. Exercising your memory muscles will help keep your mind sharp and can also help reduce the symptoms of brain fog. 

Take mental breaks 

When you’re feeling foggy-headed, it’s important to take a break. Step away from whatever you’re working on and give yourself some time to relax. Take a few deep breaths, stretch your body, or take a walk outside. Taking mental breaks will help you clear your head and can also help improve your focus when you return to your task. 

Practice your attention span 

Working on your attention span can help improve your focus and concentration. There are a number of attention span exercises you can do, such as yoga, meditation, and mindfulness practices. 

Stay socially active 

It’s important to stay socially active, even when you’re feeling foggy-headed. Talking to friends and family, going out on dates, or joining a club can help improve your mood and can also help reduce stress levels. 

Engage in deep thoughts 

Taking time to engage in deep thoughts can help improve your thinking skills. Some ways you can do this are by writing in a journal, brainstorming ideas, or doing puzzles. 

Meditate 

Meditation has a number of benefits, one of which is improving cognitive function. Meditation can help improve your focus, concentration, and attention span. It can also help reduce stress levels and can even help improve memory.

The Bottom Line

Brain fog can be frustrating and debilitating. But don’t worry, there are plenty of things you can do to help treat it. In this article, we’ve listed 11 common causes of brain fog and provided tips on how to treat them. We hope that by following these tips, you’ll start to feel more clear headed and focused. 

If you still find yourself struggling with brain fog, we encourage you to reach out to our online community for support. We also have plenty of other informative articles on your health and well-being and, of course, ways to avoid a foggy brain! 

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