Brain Fog: Tips & Causes
Brain fog is not a medical or scientific term. It's a term used for specific symptoms that can affect cognitive abilities. The symptoms are usually linked to an underlying condition or an enervating lifestyle habit. While there is no one contributing factor, it is important to understand which symptoms might be affecting you.
Common symptoms of brain fog include difficulty concentrating, feeling "out of it", taking a longer than usual time to complete routine tasks, fatigue, forgetfulness, and being easily distracted are common symptoms. In more severe cases, you may experience headaches, nausea, and problems with your vision.
Common Causes of Brain fog include:
-acute and chronic disease
-lack of movement
-overload of toxins
While not all-inclusive, the list above can serve as a jumping-off point to understanding how these conditions affect our cognitive functioning. Brain fog and anxiety go hand-in-hand. While there are specific behavior changes we can make to give ourselves the best shot at waking up with a “fully charged” mind, we also only have so much brain power allotted for each day. If we spend our energy ruminating and worrying, we empty our precious reserves that are needed to carry out other more important functions such as decision-making. Anxiety is an energy vampire - it is not interested in what other plans you had for yourself that day. Powered mostly by fear, an anxious mind can quickly drain our batteries.
How do we go about getting rid of brain fog?
Adequate sleep is what helps us ensure we start each day with a full tank of brainpower. Unplugging from electronics well before you lay down helps the brain begin to unwind for a full night of sleep. Eliminating blue light sources and swapping for soft yellow or orange lights in the evening sends a signal to the brain that it’s almost time to power down. Making sure you get a full 8-10 hours of uninterrupted sleep is best.
Nutrition and Supplements
A brain fog diet, or foods that eliminate sources of inflammation, is another good place to start. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and healthy fats help to minimize inflammation, leading to increased anxiety and increased brain fog. A diet high in processed foods leaves us feeling lethargic, which means we need more coffee and sugar to make it through the day; then, when it’s time to sleep, the battle of the body vs. the brain begins. Our bodies are ready for sleep, and our brains are still wired. Eliminating or cutting down on artificial sweeteners, gluten, and alcohol is a step in the right direction. Instead, reach for the leafy greens, naturally sweet foods like fruit, and healthy fats like nut butters.