What Is Brain Fog?

Everyone has experienced cerebral haze and has been frustrated at the resulting loss of productivity and creativity.  It can be stifling, especially when you need to be on your A game. 

I personally encounter brain fog when I’ve had little sleep or if I’m off the “health” wagon.  A night out to dinner with friends and skipping the gym can really offset my cognitive balance. For me, brain fog is strongest in the morning, right when I’m trying to set the pace for my day.  

Brain fog isn’t a medical term but is often used to describe the feelings and symptoms associated with confusion, absent-mindedness, and lack of focus and mental clarity.  Unfortunately, in today’s age, brain fog isn’t that uncommon but that doesn’t mean that it is normal.

There can be many contributors to this frustrating feeling from food, stress and medical conditions.  Here are the top 5 tips to prevent or lessen the fuzzy symptoms:

Food & Nutrition

You’ve heard that term “you are what you eat.”  It’s true. Our mind and body is one machine, so unsurprisingly what you eat directly impacts how your brain functions.  Avoid eating food that is processed, high in sugar and contains MSG. The best is to switch your diet to real food, rich in vitamins.  Eat for your mind and your belly.

We recommend adding nootropics to your daily regimen.  Nootropics are brain vitamins.  They improve cognitive function, particularly your memory, creativity and motivation.  They won’t make you smarter, but they will make you perform at your optimal level.

Higher Mind was created for this very reason - to give you the brain boost you need in an all natural and delicious form.  A Higher Mind drink can easily be incorporated into anyone’s lifestyle, as a morning wake-up before you start the day to the afternoon go-to for combatting brain fog.  It’s a no-brainer!

Sleep

Sleep is food for the brain and many Americans are sleep malnourished. Gallup Poll reported that as many as 40% of Americans don’t get enough shut-eye, 7-9 hours.   

Not achieving your optimal sleep level can have major consequences to your brain and overall health.  Our mind goes through various sleep cycles and they play a role in “consolidating” memories in the mind. If you don’t get enough sleep, you won’t be able to remember what you experience or learn during the day.  A 20-hour stint of wakefulness has the same debilitating effect on reaction and reasoning times as drinking a bottle of wine.

To be at the top of your game, you need to consistently sleep at your optimum level of at least 7 hours of sleep.  If sleep is challenging, try removing electronics from your routine and replace them with a nighttime meditation and light reading, but I don’t recommend a page turner.

Physical Activity

There is another scientifically proven way to clear those cobwebs and even make your smarter.  Go for a walk.

In recent studies reported by the NY Times, “exercise appears to build a brain that resists physical shrinkage and enhance cognitive flexibility.”  For most of us, each year we lose about 1% volume of our hippocampus, which is related to memory and certain types of learning.  Similarly to our muscles, exercise seems to slow and even reverse the brain’s physical deterioration. 

When you are physically active, your body increases endorphins and increases glucose, brain food, and oxygen flowing to the brain.  It also burns of cortisol, a stress hormone, and stimulates new brain cell growth.

To be at the top of your game, make sure you budget time to move your body.  It doesn't have to be a marathon, just as a little as a 20 minute walk a day can be preventative tactic as well as a quick fix to think more clearly.

Stress

Quality of life and balance is key to keeping a healthy mindset. Unfortunately, as Americans, we are obsessed with work and have the stress to show for it.  On any given workday, the majority of our workforce is stressed. This a nationwide health crisis.

Stress can worsen almost any health condition you can think of and severely impacts brain function.  Stress creates cortisol that can damage brain cells and even cause them to prematurely commit suicide.  It can also interfere with the formation of new brain cells.

There isn’t a quick fix to manage stress.  It starts will living a healthier lifestyle and maintaining positive relationships.  Start small with changes that you have control over like your diet, physical activity and meditation.  Also, find moments to really unplug, yes that means your phone, and focus on me-time. 

Toxins

Eight years ago, the President’s Cancer Panel publicized that “only a few hundred of the more than 80,000 chemicals in use in the United States have been tested for safety.”  This is appalling and we know that these chemicals lead to significant health problems, including brain fog, fatigue and memory loss. 

While you can’t control the air at work or outdoors, you can control your exposure to toxins at home.  We spend 90% of our time indoors and 65% of our time inside our homes, according to the National Safety Council. Switch to natural cleaning products and personal care products, include air purifying plants in your home, unplug air fresheners and run a HEPA filter air purifier in your bedroom.

To sum it up, be proactive and adopt a brain-healthy lifestyle by following the guidelines mentioned above.  Brain fog is symptomatic of a bigger issue. Your body is telling you that something is wrong, so listen to it and take steps to fix it.

I would like to point out that this article does not touch on medical issues that can lead to brain fog.  If your lack of concentration persists, please seek out your doctor’s guidance, as it may be related to a medical condition.