What is Brain Fog?
Also known as brain fatigue, it is a condition of mental confusion that can be a mild episode or severe and recurring. A person who suffers from brain fog usually experience sudden confusion, lack of focus, decreased memory (even short-term memory loss) and reduced mental acuity.
While most of the episodes would be short and temporary, if left untreated, this can considerably affect one’s personal and professional life. It is therefore important to pay attention to this silent-killer, observe when and how often it occurs and finds out the possible causes that triggered it. Brain fog can be treated effectively with a combination of medications and lifestyle changes.
Causes of Brain Fog
Scientists have different opinions and observations on what exactly causes brain fog. One of the common facts about brain fog is that it is not an actual problem in itself but a symptom or side-effect of another major illness. The factors that cause this condition in one person would be different from that of another. One of the common triggers is the lack of proper sleep. Another one is a leaky gut. Even a simple vitamin or mineral deficiency can also trigger brain fog. There are scientists who claim that brain fog could be part of some of the autoimmune conditions such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, lupus, multiple sclerosis, etc. So one needs to interrogate their lifestyle and habits to understand the root cause of it to facilitate effective treatment and cure.
Factors That Cause Brain Fog
Below are some of the common factors that cause brain fog and possible solutions. The reason for brain fog would be different for different people. So, understand what is causing you to experience it and then seek help to get fast and effective results.
Many scientists refer to gut as the “second brain” and for a good reason. When a fetus is growing in the womb, the gut and brain evolve from the same fetal tissue. This means they have the same characteristics and properties and are connected throughout one’s lifetime. One of the specialist doctors for gut related issues says that if you have any type of digestive issues such as gas, bloating, loose bowels, diarrhea, irritable bowel movements, it can affect your brain and cause mental problems such as brain fog. People with leaky gut syndrome have found to develop various mental ailments including brain fog.
Solution: The best way to deal with a problematic gut is to eat clean and healthy. Avoid processed foods completely. It usually takes 11-21 months of healthy eating to heal your gut naturally. Understand that cleaning your gut and maintaining it healthy is not a short-time or one-time process but a lifestyle change. Detox your body every single morning and watch what you put inside your stomach throughout the day. A healed and healthy gut will reduce the chances of brain fog and slowly eliminate it altogether. It will also reduce all the associated mental and physical troubles associated with leaky gut.
Stress and its impact
Everyone knows how it is to be stressed and none of us are fond of it. The fast-paced world brings with it a number of stresses that we need to face on a daily basis. While productive stress helps us to achieve our goals, negative stress can affect our body, mind, and soul.
When you are stressed, the body releases stress hormones such as adrenaline, norepinephrine, and cortisol. Among these three, cortisol is the most dangerous hormone. Because, when you continuously worry on a single or set of problems, the body keeps releasing cortisol. Too much of this hormone can suppress your immunity, increase blood sugar level and cause serious mental issues such as anxiety, depression and brain fog.
Solution: There are many different ways to deal with unwanted stress. Categorizing stress based on priority and duration can be effective. Make a list of things that emotionally and mentally drain you and prioritize it. Deal with the short-term ones first as it might be easily manageable. Work out a plan for long-term stresses such as a house loan, financial obligations, family affairs, etc. Identify those that are not in your control, brush it off and let time do the healing. The key here is not to ignore stress but to observe them and work on it. Yoga and meditation have been scientifically proven to reduce stress and associated brain fog and other issues.
Lack of Sleep
This is one of the key reasons for brain fog. But again, lack of sleep is not a medical condition in itself except cases like insomnia. A person can be sleep-deprived due to one or many reasons such as stress, losing a loved one, work overload or a general habit of being a “night owl.” Whatever be the reason, having a regular sleep cycle and 7-8 hours of sound sleep every night is essential for the body’s smooth functioning. Sleep-deprived people will usually be grumpy, lack focus and concentration, and lose their attention to detail at work and life. All the above symptoms are what we call as brain fog.
Solution: Ensure that you follow a specific time schedule for sleep. It doesn’t matter if you have 15 hours of interrupted, untimely sleep. Your mind will still be cloudy and foggy. On the other hand, going to bed daily at a particular time and having even 6-7 hours of peaceful, uninterrupted sleep can make a huge difference. So if you are feeling the brain fog recently, observe your sleep pattern. Are you getting enough sleep? Do you spend the entire night binge watching your favorite TV show and then wake up tired? It might be brain fog, and you need to prioritize sleep over the show.
From all the above factors, it is pretty clear that brain fog is not a medical condition per se but a problem associated with many other medical conditions. People who are suffering from inflammatory diseases such as fibromyalgia, RA or digestive issues such as a leaky gut, irritable bowel syndrome are prone to experience brain fog. The only way to deal with it is through proper diet, exercise and leading an active and stress-free life. Avoid alcohol and smoking. Reduce the consumption of caffeine. Seek medical help to diagnose and get treatment. Unlike severe mental issues like chronic anxiety and depression, brain fog is temporary and can be cured easily.