You’ve probably experienced brain fog before—that unsettling sense of making your way through the day in a haze. It happens when we’re tired, when we’re hungry, when we’ve eaten something processed and when we’re stressed, and put simply, it’s a damn pain to deal with when you’ve got stuff that needs to be done.
Pretty much yet another symptom of our fast-paced lifestyles which sees multiple ‘tabs’ open in our brains at once, the mental cloudiness and lack of clarity that brain fog represents is something that needs to be tackled before it becomes a bigger issue. In the same way that an iPhone slows down and performance is compromised when too many tabs are open—your brain’s ability to focus can be affected too.
Here’s what you need to know about that niggling inability to focus and sense of burn-out.
Yup, here it is rearing its ugly little head again. Thought by some experts to be the root of all modern disease, inflammation of the brain is likely to blame for your foggy headedness too.
And, like with many other diseases—particularly ones which affect mental health—the gut is at play here too. When the gut is inflamed, the lining of the tract becomes home to microbes, and the microbiota is altered. This can lead to defects in our immune function, and thus make us vulnerable to inflammation and subsequent brain fog.
Surprise surprise, sisters! The dreaded S word that wreaks havoc on your sleep, your immune system, your skin and your general sense of wellbeing can also be to blame for your cloudy-headedness.
Stress management skills like yoga, exercise, meditation and dedicated time away from screens are crucial to managing brain fog—and you know what they say; if you feel like you don’t have enough time to meditate, you need to be doing double the recommended amount. Being strict with yourself and setting time aside to manage these things is the only way to regain that mental clarity you’re craving.
We know that advice to ‘take deep breaths’ can feel about as useful as a chocolate teapot in times of extreme stress, but trust us, it really helps.
As with most things, diet also has a role to play in causing (and therefore remedying) brain fog. Simple carbohydrates, sugars and dairy can all contribute to a foggy brain, and predictably, it’s vegetables, complex carbs and healthy fats that’ll keep it at bay. As previously mentioned, we need to be kind to our guts if we’re suffering from brain fog, so a probiotic and prebiotic-rich diet is also essential.
In addition to what you eat, it’s also important to leave ample time for digestion after a meal and minimise snacks. You could consider practising intermittent fasting if you feel like it might help you.
Staying in tune with your circadian rhythm is essential to preventing brain fog—so make sure you’re getting up and going to bed at around the same time each day. Deep sleep is so important for mental and physical health and wellbeing—so don’t let it be the first thing to slip when you get busy. Prioritising sleep will inherently manage your stress levels too, making it doubly as important.