How to Get Rid of Brain Fog

Brain fog, also known as brain fatigue, can be a mild to severe episode of mental confusion that can strike without warning. When this occurs, it is common to experience a lack of focus, poor memory recall, fuzzy feeling in head, and reduced mental acuity. While the medical and mental health establishments don’t generally recognize brain fog as a condition, it’s a surprisingly common affliction that affects people of all ages.

Fortunately there are some ways in which a person can learn to get rid of brain fog. Some individuals may respond well to making healthy lifestyle changes such as getting proper sleep, while others may respond better to pharmaceutical intervention as with psychostimulants.


Causes of Brain Fog

Brain fog is a sign of leaky brain or brain on fire. In other words, brain fog is a sign of inflammation.

Inflammation in the brain causes neurons to fire more slowly, slowing down mental acuity, recall, and reflexes. Sluggish neurons also shut down the production of energy in the cells. This means that cells fatigue easily, and you may lose your ability to focus for long periods of time.

Brain fog can be caused by a range of factors. In all cases, getting to the heart of what causes the brain fog is the key to overcoming this debilitating condition. Common causes of brain fog include:

  • Stress
  • Lack of sleep
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Neurological disorders
  • Side effects of medications
  • Diabetes
  • Menopause

If you have severe brain fog to the point that it’s affecting your ability to function in society, you need to learn how to get rid of it.

How to Get Rid of Brain Fog

In order to get rid of brain fog, it’s crucial to take broad steps to control overall inflammation. While your whole body will benefit from less inflammation, you will also find that you may boost your energy, clarity, and motivation.

1. Improve Your Diet and Digestion

Nutrition affects every system in the body, but especially the brain. If you aren’t providing your brain with the nutrition that it needs, your clarity of thinking and focus will suffer. Although you’re probably sick of hearing about gluten free, celiac disease and gluten sensitivity are common causes of brain fog. A study of 11 newly diagnosed individuals found a gluten free diet improved attention, memory, and verbal fluency.

In addition, simple sugars and trans fats cause inflammation and impair cognitive function.Dehydration and low-fat diets can also lead to cognitive decline. Drinking too little water leads to an unhealthy gut causing constipation or diarrhea. Worse, insulin dysfunction — usually related to chronically elevated blood sugar from an unhealthy diet — is a major risk factor in dementia and cognitive decline.

A number of nutrient-dense foods with specific anti-inflammatory qualities, such as green vegetables, sprouted grains and legumes, and healthy fats, are shown to support brain health and cognitive function.

In addition to a nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory diet, certain herbs and nutrients, such as cardamom, pomegranate, cinnamon, galangal, chromium, and zinc, support digestion and nutrient absorption and help reduce inflammation.

Be sure to incorporate healthy, brain foods into your diet as well.


2. Avoid Alcohol and Drugs

Alcohol is known to be a CNS (Central Nervous System) depressant, meaning it reduces your arousal, affects judgment, and motor skills. Over the long-term, frequent consumption of alcohol will alter brain functioning and neurotransmission – making it difficult to maintain optimal focus.

If you are trying to get rid of brain fog, you should reduce (or stop) your alcohol consumption. Additionally, other illicit drugs as well as prescription drugs that depress the CNS should be avoided.

3. Exercise

Studies show that one of the most important things you can do for your brain is to get up and move around — go for regular walks, take bike rides, get out in nature. In many cases getting enough exercise can improve our ability to think and learn new things. Additionally, cardio exercise is known to be associated with neurogenesis (the growth of new brain cells); this is thought to be healthy for the brain.

Getting adequate exercise can significantly reduce foggy thinking. Just make sure you aren’t overexercising as this could contribute to worsened brain fog.

4. Detoxify Your Body

A major factor in brain fog is oxidative stress, caused by unstable molecules in the body called free radicals. Free radicals fuel inflammation and damage brain cells and DNA. Heavy metals and toxins like mercury and lead, pesticides, and pollutants can also accumulate in the body, contributing to inflammation and weakening cognitive function over time. So be sure to pack in antioxidants, which scavenge harmful free radicals, reduce inflammation, and help detoxify the body.

Berries and dark greens and other richly colored fruits and vegetables are good choices, as they contain powerful antioxidant compounds that defend against oxidative stress. Other powerful antioxidants that help detoxify the body are vitamin C, lipoic acid, N-acetyl-L-cysteine, and selenium.

5. Sleep Better

Sleep is a critical component for a healthy brain. Sleep studies suggest that sleep quality is more important than sleep quantity. The brain forms new pathways during sleep in preparation for upcoming information. Regulating and maximizing your sleep will improve attention, memory, and mood.

Lack of sleep has severe health consequences, including brain fog and anxiety, but too much sleep is also bad for your health. While common sense tells us that 8 hours of sleep is the right amount, some people only require 6 hours for ideal performance. Find out what the right amount of sleep is for you by tracking your nightly sleep.

Here are some recommendations on improving your quality of sleep:

  • Regulate bedtimes and wake up times
  • Nightly ritual or habit that includes winding down
  • Cool, dark, quiet room
  • Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, and heavy meals close to bedtime
  • Comfortable bedding
  • Exercise daily
6. Control Stress

Chronic stress can impair mental function. Think of how difficult it was to study the night before a test—sometimes the facts just don’t stick. In addition, chronic stress can cause glucose imbalances, destroy brain cells, increase fatigue, and fuel depression.

It’s important to take time to enjoy life. Meet up with friends, go to a show, get a massage. Enjoyment relaxes us and can have a powerful impact on both our mental and physical health.

There are also a number of practices that have been shown to reduce stress and benefit the brain, especially yoga, tai chi, and meditation. The breathing that is so essential to these disciplines increases oxygen throughout the body. These exercises are also shown to reduce inflammation and help calm an overactive nervous system.

7. Stop Overworking

If you are overworking yourself and aren’t getting enough time to recover, you may need to cut back on work to regain some energy and peace of mind. Some people may be able to tolerate a large workload, but many people burn out and the “burn out” is what leads to brain fog and reduced mental performance. If you need to scale back on the number of hours you are working, it may be beneficial for your mental health.


If brain fog persists, see your doctor. In serious cases, it can signal an underlying neurological or inflammatory condition, such as Lyme disease, fibromyalgia, or diabetes. Most importantly, don’t let brain fog become your normal state. With the right support, you can stay sharp and protect brain health — at any age.

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