Does it feel like the answer to every question is always on the tip of your tongue, but you can never recall it? Or does it seem like you’re still in a dreamy haze by noon, even after mocha number three? Or how about just feeling like you’re stuck in a forgetful, confused fog all day long? If you experience any of these sluggish side effects on the regular, then chances are you (like so many of us) struggle with brain fog.
While it’s not a “technical” medical condition, brain fog is a widely recognized term that sums up all the unpleasantness of not feeling on your A-game. It’s more than just being groggy in the morning. It’s feeling like you’re never fully awake or “there,” even when you’re well rested (and properly caffeinated). It can also be associated with fatigue, anxiety, irritability, insomnia, and difficulty feeling motivated. And more than anything, it’s incredibly frustrating.
If you do suffer from brain fog, the good news is this: most causes of this hazy condition can be quickly remedied. And it’s easier to clear your head than you think. Read on to see if any of these little lifestyle changes may cure your brain fog for good.
Here are 7 things that will fix up your brain fog.
1Cut the sugar
Surprise, surprise: sugar overload is often responsible for your brain fog. Because on top of sending your energy levels into a nose dive, too much sugar can cause your blood glucose to drop off post-sugar high. And when your brain is deprived of glucose, it tends to be on the unhappy side, which often translates to cold, hard brain fog that prevents you from slaying on the regular.
2Take a B12 supplement
Vitamin B12 is crucial to healthy cell production, DNA production, energy levels and so much more. A deficiency can mean bad news for your brain, and one of the key symptoms is brain murkiness. And considering an estimated 40 percent of the population isn’t getting enough B12, adding a daily supplement might be the cure to your cognitive woes.
3Eat a little dark chocolate
A little dark chocolate can go a long way, as the flavanoid-rich food can rescue you from mental limbo. But please, pace yourselves. Since dark chocolate does have sugar, your attempts to thwart this mental cloudiness may backfire if you eat too much dark chocolate. Your best bet is probably to go for the darkest kind of chocolate, such as the 85 percent kind, which will have minimal amounts of sugar. Enjoy!
4Steer clear of gluten
As the gluten-free movement has gained momentum, many people have discovered they have an allergy (often caused by celiac disease) or even a sensitivity to wheat. On top of causing the obvious stomach pains, this common affliction can cause impaired cognition. Plus, Mayo Clinic researchers have discovered a link between celiac disease and dementia/impaired brain function. So if there’s a chance you may have celiac disease or just be gluten-sensitive, it’s best for you (and your brain fog) to skip the bread and pasta.
An apple away will keep the doctor away, and apparently, ample water will keep the brain fog at bay. Yep, your brain functions in tip-top shape when properly hydrated, which you probably already knew. So if you’re feeling mentally fatigued, grab a glass of water and start hydrating. Experts estimate that up to 75 percent of Americans are chronically dehydrated, so there’s a pretty good chance that your mental fatigue may be due to a lack of H2O.
6Log some treadmill time
It’s no secret that the benefits of regular exercise are vast. But what you might not know is that studies show regular (and healthy amounts) of cardio also stimulates neurogenesis, AKA the production of new brain cells, which helps improve cognition. Plus, exercise triggers the production of endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. And happy people just don’t get as much brain fog (get our Elle Woods reference there?).
7Actually get enough sleep
Again, this may seem like a bit of a no-brainer, but hear us out. Lack of sleep does some seriously wacky things to your body, producing similar side effects to intoxication. “Poor sleep has an adverse impact on thinking,” Harvard Medical School instructor and sleep expert, Dr. Lawrence Epstein, explained. “You really can make up for lost sleep and restore focus and clarity. You can lose the brain fog within a week. But start now; the longer you have bad sleep, the longer it will take to catch up.” To put it simply: adequate sleep equals less brain fog.