Helpful Tips to Clear Your Brain Fog
By Heidi Baldwin, MS, Holistic Health Coach
We’ve all been there… Sometimes we feel unorganized, tired, and unable to concentrate or get our work done. There are certain medical situations that seem to exacerbate brain fog, such as tick-borne illness, autoimmune disorders, diabetes, fibromyalgia, allergies, different medications and chemotherapy, hormonal changes, certain foods or drinks (especially caffeine and alcohol), a diet high in sugar, and lack of proper sleep to name just a handful of triggers. Sometimes it just seems like the day brings it on, especially during weather changes that affect the barometric pressure. While brain fog is undoubtedly inconvenient and frustrating and depending on your situation it may be more persistent, there are some things you can do to help clear your mind.
Here are some natural ways to help get rid of brain fog, or at least improve its severity:
Eat Enough Healthy Fats
Our brains thrive off healthy fats. Omega-3 fatty acids, specifically DHA, are the building blocks of the brain cell. Structurally, they are part of the cell membrane and play a role in neurotransmitter communication. Omega-3s improve cognitive functioning, allowing you to learn more, focus, and improve memory. Omega-3s are in healthy sources of fats, such as nuts and seeds, avocados, and fatty fish such as salmon and tuna. If you were conditioned during the ’80s to believe that fat-free is the way to go, you may wish to reconsider and add some healthy fats into your diet.
Move Your Body
Sometimes, brain fog occurs when we don’t get enough exercise. Physical activity increases blood flow, which allows more oxygen and nutrients to travel to the brain. This helps improve cognitive functioning and memory. Exercise also improves mood, which may put you in a better headspace to focus and work. You don’t need to spend hours at the gym each week (but if that’s your thing, do it up)— find an activity that gets you moving that you enjoy, such as walking, biking, dancing, rebounding, or rollerblading. Exercise also reduces stress levels, which is another way you can get rid of brain fog.
Get Enough Sleep
We all know the consequences we pay after a sleepless night— difficulty focusing, fatigue, irritability, forgetfulness, and the list goes on and on. It sounds a lot like brain fog! Many of us are not getting enough sleep, and our brains are paying the consequences. Set a sleep schedule and get at least 7-8 hours of good quality sleep each night. Put away your phones and screens at least an hour before bed, and create a routine for yourself that helps you wind down and signal to your brain that it’s time to sleep. Make sure you don’t have a TV or computer in your bedroom as blue light disrupts your body’s natural melatonin production cycles, and causes your brain to believe it’s daytime – time to get ready to be awake and focused! It’s no wonder you’re lying awake thinking all night if you’re exposed to this unnatural light source after the sun goes down.
Lower Your Stress Levels
Stress is detrimental to both physical and mental wellbeing. Too much stress hormone increases inflammation and the accumulation of free radicals that damage cells (including brain cells). Short-term stress can also cause brain fog— when we feel anxious or stressed, it’s difficult to concentrate on the task we have at hand. Most of us can think of a time that we were too stressed or overwhelmed by something to be able to “think straight,” and this is not a place anyone wants to find themselves in for any duration of time. Find activities that help you relax and wind down, such as reading a book, cooking, or journaling. Meditation and any other mindfulness activities are also effective ways to decrease stress levels. Moving your body, as mentioned above, can also help decrease your stress levels, and many people find walking to be a form of meditation.
Brain fog is sometimes the result of a nutrient deficiency, so you may want to consider taking some natural supplements and vitamins after checking with your doctor or health care practitioner. Fish oil supplements are commonly taken for brain health because they are full of omega-3 fatty acids. Vitamin B12 gives us energy, helps with memory and concentration and boosts our moods. Vitamin B12 deficiencies are common— especially in individuals who don’t eat meat. Lastly, vitamin D is another excellent supplement for combating brain fog. Be sure to check with your physician before taking any supplements to be sure you’re taking the appropriate supplements for your situation, and to be sure there will be no unwanted interactions with medications you may be taking.
In addition to the above changes you can implement in your life, we also offer Neurofeedback at IM of CNY that can help tremendously with brain fog. You can learn more at https://www.imofcny.com/im-of-cny-neurofeedback and you can call us at 315-741-5774 to speak to one of our Neurofeedback specialists.