Have you ever walked to the other side of your house and upon entering a new room, forgetting your purpose in being there? Or how about friends constantly saying, “I told you this yesterday!” as you stare at them in confusion, with zero recollection of the conversation. You have? Us too. But you’re not just spacy, you’re suffering from brain fog.
While brain fog is not an official medical term or condition, it is a mental dysfunction. Brain fog can manifest itself in many ways - causing forgetfulness, an inability to focus and a challenge to remember everyday knowledge, among other symptoms - for several days in a row.
If you find yourself forgetting the four-digit code to your gym locker or having difficulty recalling information stored in your short-term memory, both of these are an indication of brain fog. A lack of clarity surrounding basic mental processes is a huge indicator.
Everyone has days where they struggle to focus on one task for several hours, or when they forget a common phrase in conversation. But when you begin experiencing these mental lapses on a consistent basis, it is a hint that you are experiencing brain fog, not just having a “slow” day.
Repetition of these thought patterns will start to take a noticeable toll on your everyday life. When daily tasks begin taking longer than they have in the past or when your overall GPA begins to decrease, you know your mental exhaustion is brain fog.
Just like any medical issue, brain fog symptoms can be rooted in several causes. From rudimentary behaviors like sleeping pattern and diet to chronic illnesses and medications, the causes of brain fog have a wide range.
It is no surprise that your diet can have an impact on your mental well-being. If the ingredients you are using to fuel your body with energy are unbalanced and unhealthy, you will not feel good. Eating a balanced diet in which you absorb the proper amount of vitamins and nutrients is crucial. However, some of these vitamins have a larger impact on your proneness to brain fog than others.
Vitamin B complex assists hundreds of chemical reactions in your body. A lack of Vitamin B has proven to increase your symptoms of anxiety and depression, both of which are heavily linked to brain fog.
As your stress level increases, your body’s immunity to sickness and fatigue decreases. This is the perfect combination for mental exhaustion, leaving you feeling extremely foggy.
3. Poor Sleeping Schedule
8-9 hours of sleep per night is crucial. It gives your body time to unwind from the day, your short-term memory is converted to long-term memory, and your body becomes rejuvenated and ready for a new day. Without the opportunity to rest properly, your brain will divert to a state of exhaustion once more, leaving you foggier than ever.
While medicine can help prevent and treat unwanted symptoms throughout your body, it can also have negative side effects. Medication is a foreign ingredient entering your system, and if it is incompatible with your body, one of your first indications will be symptoms of brain fog.
5. Medical Conditions
Brain fog is a common symptom for several medical conditions, so if you have a pre-existing condition, it can absolutely be a source of your brain fog. However, it also works the other way around…brain fog can be an indication of another disease present in your body. For this reason, we recommend you get checked out by a doctor to be sure you understand the source of your brain fog and to seek further treatment.
Like all medical conditions, your best plan of action is to seek the opinion of a medical professional. They can help locate the source of your brain fog and will point you to a treatment that is best for your body. But there are a few things you can do to help minimize your symptoms in the meantime.
1. Eat the ABC’S
Your diet should contain large amounts of Vitamin B Complex, particularly B12. Achieve this by eating breakfast cereal, beef, clams, dairy, and even fish! Salmon is also a great option.
2. Handling Stress
No matter who you are or what you do for a living, life can be stressful. Find a productive way to manage your stress in order to minimize the negative effect it can have on your brain. Exercise five times a week, go to yoga, practice meditation and be sure you’re getting enough sleep. If you’re well-rested, your brain has a much better chance of functioning at 100%.
3. See a doctor
Whether you have pre-existing medical conditions, take medication, or have just started feeling a little “off,” seek the help of a medical professional. They will help pinpoint what is going on in your body and make a healthy treatment plan. Never adjust your medications yourself.
Play Mind Games...the Good Kind: Sodoku, word unscrambler, and word searches are just a few of the games you can play daily that will help stabilize your cognitive functions, no matter your age.
Don’t let brain fog put a damper on your day, know the symptoms and be active about treating them.
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