Do you ever find yourself in a condition where you can’t think clearly? Everything just feels slow, clunky, and hazy?
You may be experiencing a phenomenon commonly referred to as brain fog. Knowing ways to deal with it could help you overcome recurring bouts of impaired cognitive functioning.
What is Brain Fog?
Brain fog isn’t an official medical condition. You won’t ever see a doctor diagnose a patient with it. There are probably no scientific papers on the source of brain fog and how it’s dangerous for our health and well-being.
Yet common sense tells everyone, including doctors and researchers, that brain fog is a real phenomenon. Whether we’ve recognized it or not, we’ve all experienced brain fog at some point.
It’s a type of cognitive dysfunction that involves such symptoms as:
- Memory lapses
- Lack of mental clarity
- Poor concentration
- Inability to focus
- Overarching sense of confusion
Brain fog is best described as a condition of mental fatigue. In severe cases, people are unable to perform work-related tasks, schoolwork, or other essential duties.
Brain fog typically comes and goes, but it can settle for hours or days at a time. It’s believed to be caused by a combination of stress, lack of sleep, hormonal changes, diet, medications, and underlying medical conditions.
How to Prevent Brain Fog
Despite not being an orthodox medical diagnosis, brain fog can be avoided through smart and healthy decision-making. Here are some ideas, suggestions, and theories about how to prevent it.
- Disconnect From Digital Devices
How much time do you think you spend in front of a screen each day? Make sure you include your phone, computer, tablet, and TV.
If you guessed six hours, you’re probably wrong. Nine hours? That may not even be close.
Try 12 hours per day. When you recall that the average person is awake for only 18 hours roughly, that means we are spending 66 percent of our waking hours staring one screen or another.
The problem is that staring at a screen typically requires very little mental aptitude or cognitive processing. Immersed in a universe of bright lights and flashy graphics, the brain doesn’t have to think.
It glazes over and kicks into autopilot. Then it may have trouble switching gears when it comes time to think and process information at a meaningful level.
So the first piece of advice is to disconnect from digital devices. Start by reducing 12 hours to 11. Then shoot for eight hours a day. Getting your daily screen time below six hours should be the goal.
- Get More Exercise
What will you do with all of this new time? You could get some exercise. Not only is a workout good for your physical health, but it has a profoundly positive effect on your mental health.
Studies have shown the parts of the brain that control thinking and memory have greater volume in people who exercise compared with those who don’t. In other words, physical exercise enhances your cognitive abilities.
Try to get at least 30 minutes of moderately intense physical exercise every day.
- Work Out Your Brain
Spend time directly exercising your brain, too. The brain’s plasticity enables it to adapt and change over time. If you engage in mental exercise, you’ll find that your brain becomes less susceptible to brain fog.
Here are some ideas:
- Teach yourself a new language
- Write short stories by hand
- Do crossword puzzles, Sudoku, and other brain challenges
- Read books regularly
You don’t have to do all these things every day to improve your brain. Just make sure you regularly pursue habits that stretch your brain and empower you to process new and challenging information.
- Improve Your Diet
There’s a strong correlation between gut health and brain health. Improving your diet can have a direct and positive impact on your ability to focus.
In addition to cutting out unhealthy foods that are high in saturated fats and refined sugars, you should integrate healthy nutrients into your daily food intake. If you find that you can’t get all the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients you need from food, try taking natural supplements such as fish oil, B-vitamins, phosphatidylserine, ginkgo biloba, ashwagandha, bacopa monnieri, L-theanine, and other nootropics.
- Get More Sleep
Our fast-paced society disdains sleep and preaches the virtue of working hard for long hours throughout the day. Given the presences of so many distractions that compete for our attention, sleep too easily gets shoved to the back burner.
This compromises health in more ways than one. If you want to combat brain fog, you should aim to get at least seven or eight hours of sleep on a nightly basis.
Set a consistent bedtime and wake-up hour. This will enable you to develop a proper rhythm of rest and rejuvenation, and as a result, you’ll function better at both the physical and cognitive levels.
Live Healthy, Be Happy
Brain fog is typically a sign of other underlying physical and mental health issues. So if you address your brain fog head-on, you’ll also tackle other health issues.
As a result, you should find yourself living a happier and healthier life.