The complete guide to brain fog
Feeling sluggish, hazy, dazed, and confused? Sounds like a classic case of brain fog.
Brain fog can disrupt your ability to think straight, process emotions, make memories, and squeeze the juice out of life—in short, it’s not ideal. Thankfully though, once you understand the causes and triggers, you can start to work towards banishing brain fog for good.
What is brain fog?
Brain fog isn't a medical condition or diagnosis (yet), it's the name for a group of symptoms characterised by confusion, forgetfulness, or disorientation, and is often caused by poor sleep, tension, or burnout.
Understanding brain fog, where it comes from, why it persists, and how best to treat it, can help you bring back some mental clarity—that’s where we come in.
What does brain fog feel like?
Brain fog symptoms change depending on the person—brain fog symptoms include:
Inability to think clearly
Short-term memory loss
Trouble finding the right word when speaking
Get your Brain Health Score in 4 minutesTake the quiz
What causes brain fog?
Brain fog is caused by a number of different factors, including:
Poor sleep habits Not getting enough sleep can make you feel groggy, unable to think clearly, and you may have a harder time functioning properly—these are all classic signs of brain fog. To get a good 40 winks, try cutting down on screen time before bed, and stick to a consistent sleep schedule throughout the week.
Tension High levels of tension can take a toll on your brain and body, which over time, can lead to feelings of fogginess and confusion. Chronic tension can be deadly, so it's important to get to the root of the cause while managing the symptoms—try practicing mindfulness, meditation, and supplements are tried and tested techniques.
Medical conditions Various conditions have been linked to brain fog. If you have a medical condition, it can be hard to control or mitigate the side effects. Practicing braincare is a good way to keep brain fog under control whether you have an underlying condition or not, so remember to stick to the 5 braincare behaviours.
Medications Some medications can cause brain fog as a side effect (that's why it's important to always read the labels). If you're taking something you suggest is causing you to feel hazy or a little brain-foggy, talk to your doctor and explain the symptoms you're experiencing.
Poor nutrition Eating a diet consisting of processed foods, as opposed to nutritious grains, fruits, and vegetables, can lead to brain fog. Try swapping out starchy carbs for complex carbs, and grab a handful of berries or nuts if you fancy a snack.
Dehydration Not drinking enough water is one of the most common causes of brain fog—even slight dehydration can affect cognitive performance. Try keeping a bottle on your desk while you're working, and if you're feeling bored of water, it's fine to grab the odd tea or fruit juice instead.
What is Covid brain fog?
Brain fog is one of the most common side effects from Covid, and persists with those suffering from long-Covid. Covid brain fog symptoms are the same, and can be just as debilitating as brain fog brought on by tension or sleeping issues.
The causes of Covid brain fog aren’t clear. Brain fog was a common side effect even among those who didn't contract Covid, instead it was the mental discomfort of multiple lockdowns that brought on similar symptoms.
How to get rid of brain fog
Brain fog can be difficult to manage—especially given the complications it can cause on a daily basis, such as feeling tired or worried. However, there are some things you can do to lessen the effects and clear the fog:
1. Get enough z's Sleep is crucial for brain health, so be sure to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep every night, and if you're struggling, try slipping in the odd afternoon nap.
2. Drink plenty of H2O Dehydration can bring on a serious bout of brain fog. Be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day, and if you're bored of water, try fruit juices and teas.
3. Get some exercise Exercise has many benefits for body and brain health. Even a moderate amount of regular exercise is beneficial for banishing brain fog and clearing your mind.
4. Eat a varied diet Eating a nutritious diet is super important for your overall health, and a varied diet, rich in minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants can improve symptoms of brain fog.
5. Limit alcohol Drinking too much alcohol can cause symptoms of brain fog, usually contained in the subsequent hangover. If you want to drink the odd alcoholic beverage, do so in moderation.
6. Manage tension Even a small amount of tension can worsen the effects of brain fog. Be sure to take time for yourself, learn to relax and unwind, and do things you enjoy to feel calmer.
How can vitamins help with brain fog?
You need to get plenty of vitamins to keep your brain in good health (we call it braincare), so it makes sense that digesting plenty of vitamins, either through food or supplements, can lessen the effects of brain fog symptoms.