Ever feel a bit forgetful, unfocused, or like your thinking is a bit sluggish? You’re not alone. Brain fog is a common complaint that effects many people. And while it may feel like it happens out of nowhere, there are actually a number of things you can do to beat brain fog naturally.
What Causes Brain Fog?
Occasional brain fog can be caused by a number of factors. Chronic stress, too little sleep, poor diet, certain medication, and hormone fluctuations during pregnancy or menopause can all contribute to the occurrence of brain fog. But the good news is that with some simple tweaks to your daily lifestyle, you can help reduce occasional brain fog.
Natural Ways To Beat Brain Fog
Sleep 8-9 Hours Every Night
When life gets stressful and your to-do list feels unmanageable, sleep is often the first thing to suffer. But sacrificing sleep in an effort to get things done typically ends up backfiring. That’s because even one night of poor sleep can have negative effects on your memory, concentration, judgment, mood, and ability to handle stress.
That’s why getting enough sleep every night is one of the best ways to combat brain fog naturally. It allows your brain (and body) the time it needs to rest and detox so that you’re able to be more productive and efficient during the day and less likely to hit that wall of fatigue after lunch.
Feed Your Brain
As with all things, your diet directly impacts your brain health. Whether it’s food sensitivities or allergies, too much sugar and refined foods, or a diet lacking in key macro and micronutrients, if your brain isn’t getting what it needs, it’s likely to become fatigued faster.
Because your brain is around 60% fat, foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids (like fatty fish) are great for brain health. Foods that are high in antioxidants are also a great option, like berries, cacao, spices, cruciferous vegetables, and green tea.
Manage Your Stress Levels
In addition to all the other negative effects of chronic stress, it can also cause mental fatigue. And when your brain is fatigued it can feel much harder to focus, remember, reason, make decisions, basically anything that involves thinking. Add to that the constant stimulation from your smartphone and it’s no wonder your brain is begging for a rest.
There are lots of things you can do to help manage your stress levels but a couple options that are specifically helpful in fighting brain fog are meditation and screen-free time. Try meditating for 10-12 minutes every day and commit to putting your phone down for a least a few hours a day (before bedtime is optimal).
While multitasking may seem like the fastest way to get a lot of things accomplished, it actually does just the opposite. In fact, multitasking has been found to actively harm your brain, leading to memory problems, increased distractibility, increased stress, and decreased productivity.
Instead of trying to do as many things as humanly possible at once, focus on finishing one task at a time before moving on to the next. It’s easier said than done and will likely take a bit of practice, but you’ll end up getting more accomplished and feeling less stressed in the process.
Give Your Brain A Break
The fact is, your brain is not meant to deal with constant stimulation and activity. It needs opportunities to rest in order to function properly. One way to do this is to take short five minute breaks a few times throughout the day to let your mind rest. You can close your eyes and sit quietly, spend time outside and notice the trees, go for a quick walk — basically anything that allows your brain to zone out for a bit.
Another option is to break up your work into intervals. Studies show that the brain can work optimally for about 90 minutes before it needs a break. So set a timer to work for 90 minutes and then get up and take a 15 minute break. You’ll feel refreshed and ready to focus when you get back to work.
Try Something New
Just like with your body, your brain needs regular exercise in order to stay healthy. And the best way to exercise your brain is by trying something new. Whether it’s a new way of doing a task you’ve done a hundred times, taking a different route to the grocery store, or trying a new hobby, giving your brain something new to learn is good mental exercise.
Another option is playing games. Whether it’s solitaire, crossword puzzles, sudoku, or even a board game, having fun while engaging your brain can help boost your brain’s health.
Move Your Body
While it might not seem directly related to brain health, physical activity increases endorphins, gets oxygen flowing, and reduces cortisol in the body. All of these things have positive effects on brain health and can even help stimulate the formation of new brain cells.
You don’t have to commit to strenuous hour-long workouts to reap the benefits. Any activity you enjoy that gets your body moving and your heart pumping can be an effective way to improve the health and function of your brain. Just make sure to participate in the activity regularly.
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