Brain fog is a productivity killer. You can’t think straight, you feel disorganized, and you struggle to recall information – usually when you need it most! Here are the best natural remedies for brain fog to clear the cobwebs and get your cognitive health in order again.
Brain fog can be pretty troublesome. Its heavy mist blankets your cognitive ability, causing cloudiness, confusion, a lack of mental clarity, and reduced cognitive function. You may have difficulty concentrating on the task at hand, as well as recalling and memorizing information.
We tend to think that sometimes brain fog is just a part of everyday life. But it needn’t be. There is quite a lot you can do to overcome it and give your mind a bit of clarity, many of them easy and natural.
Getting enough sleep is vital for maintaining optimal cognitive function. When we sleep, our brains undergo crucial processes that support memory consolidation, learning, and problem-solving abilities. If you don’t get enough sleep, you can see a decreased attention span, reduced ability to concentrate, and impaired decision-making skills.
We should be aiming for around seven to nine hours of nightly sleep.
Quality sleep matters, too. Good sleep hygiene can lead to a better quality of sleep, including going to bed and waking up at the same time every day. This will help your body to better regulate its internal body clock.
Aim to ditch the screens a couple of hours before bed, don’t drink caffeine after around five pm, and don’t go for a hard workout just before bed. If getting to sleep is your weakness, consider using natural sleep supplements – they can be the perfect solution for helping you soothe into slumber and get into a better sleep routine.
Though it helps not to train hard right before bed, living an active lifestyle is so incredibly important to our bodies, including our cognitive health. Taking part in regular physical activity is very good for your cognitive function. Benefits for your brain include promoting neuroplasticity, increasing blood flow, and promoting the growth of new brain cells.
Research suggests that moderate-intensity exercise can enhance cognitive function and reduce brain fog, as it helps to boost oxygen and nutrient delivery to the brain. It can release endorphins, which in turn will help in boosting mood, reducing stress levels, and improving sleep. All of these should have a good knock-on effect for your cognitive abilities.
Aim for around half an hour of moderate-intensity exercise daily, or at least most days, for these benefits. This can include a brisk walk, slow jog, swimming, cycling, or dancing.
Manage stress levels
Chronic stress can have a significant impact on our mental clarity and cognitive function. In turn, it can contribute a great deal to brain fog.
If you find yourself under prolonged periods of stress, your body will release stress hormones like cortisol, which can interfere with brain function and impair your ability to focus and think clearly. Happily, though, there is plenty you can do to combat chronic stress levels.
I personally value meditation for stress, including practicing focused attention and mindfulness. Research has shown that regular meditation can mitigate stress levels, improve your attention span, and enhance cognitive function.
Deep breathing plays into this incredibly well, as do similar practices like progressive muscle relaxation and guided imagery. They can help to activate the body’s relaxation response, reducing stress and, as a result, promoting mental clarity.
Activities that promote relaxation or happiness can also help keep your stress levels on point. I would suggest reading, listening to music, spending time in nature, practicing yoga, or taking part in hobbies that you enjoy – painting, gaming, anything that helps you switch off that stress mode.
Water is so good for the brain. Keeping topped up really does help maintain our cognitive function and keep brain fog watered down.
Being dehydrated can have a significant impact on the brain. Without enough water, blood volume decreases, which means a reduction in blood flow, and thus nutrient and oxygen delivery, to the brain. Knock-on effects are obvious – without proper oxygen and nutrients, you can expect to see cognitive abilities, such as memory, attention, and decision-making, impaired.
Symptoms of dehydration-related brain fog may include difficulty concentrating, decreased alertness, and slower reaction times. Not enough water can also lead to headaches, fatigue, and mood changes, which all further exacerbate brain fog.
Do you drink plenty of water throughout the day? Don’t abandon this simple way of keeping your brain healthy. I get it – if you don’t drink it habitually, it can be hard to prioritize your water intake throughout an already busy lifestyle. But the health advantages are sensational, not to mention essential – and it’s simple once you do it routinely.
Though the amount you will need will depend on a few different factors – age, body mass, activity levels, climate, and so on – a good baseline will start at around 8 glasses of water (that’s 240ml per glass) per day.
In addition to water, eating foods with high water content, such as fruits and vegetables, can also help.
Eat a balanced, healthy diet
A balanced and nutritious diet is essential for supporting brain health and reducing brain fog. You will need to eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, and lean proteins, to give your body the nutrients necessary for optimal cognitive function.
Some nutrients have been particularly strongly linked with brain health. Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fatty fish like salmon, as well as walnuts and flaxseeds, have been associated with improved attention, memory, and cognitive performance.
B vitamins, such as folate, B6, and B12, play a crucial role in brain function and may help reduce the risk of cognitive decline. Good food sources of B vitamins include leafy green vegetables, legumes, eggs, and lean meats.
These should all help to lessen brain fog.
Antioxidants, like vitamins C and E, can help to protect the brain from oxidative stress caused by free radicals. Foods rich in antioxidants include berries, citrus fruits, nuts, and seeds. Additionally, a diet high in fiber should help to promote a healthy gut microbiome, which has been linked to improved cognitive function.
It isn’t all about what you do eat. What you don’t eat also matters. Specifically, too much sugar and/or processed foods can lead to inflammation in the body, including the brain. This inflammation can interfere with cognitive function and contribute to brain fog.
Instead, nourishing your body with whole, unprocessed foods can help to reduce inflammation, whilst also giving your brain the essential nutrients it needs.
Make use of herbal supplements
Some herbal brain supplements have been traditionally used to support cognitive function and reduce brain fog. These include some of my personal favorite ingredients, like ashwagandha, ginkgo biloba, and Rhodiola rosea, all of which you will typically see in market-leading nootropic supplements.
Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb that is traditionally believed to enhance memory, improve focus, and reduce stress-related cognitive impairment. Some studies have shown that ashwagandha may have neuroprotective effects, supporting brain health and cognitive function.
Ginkgo biloba is another popular herbal supplement used for cognitive support. It is taken from the leaves of the ginkgo tree and is thought to improve blood flow to the brain and reduce oxidative stress. Studies have suggested that ginkgo biloba may greatly benefit memory, attention, and cognitive performance.
Rhodiola rosea, also known as golden root, is an adaptogenic herb that is thought to improve mental performance and reduce fatigue. It has long been used to enhance concentration and reduce brain fog. Research suggests that rhodiola rosea may provide adaptogenic and neuroprotective benefits that can help how our brains function and reduce mental fatigue.
You can take ingredients like these on their own or as parts of a broader plan or formula. For example, I often use nootropic supplements to help me get rid of brain fog – the ones I go for, like NooCube and Mind Vitality Focus, include plenty of herbal ingredients like these to help keep me alert and clear headed.
Limit caffeine and alcohol consumption
Though caffeine can be useful in the short term for cutting through brain fog (I lean on it myself a fair amount, though I probably shouldn’t!), it can have a pretty detrimental impact on our brain health and that troublesome brain fog.
As most of us know, caffeine is a stimulant that can temporarily increase alertness and improve focus – hence we often use it to cut through brain fog. It works by blocking adenosine receptors in the brain, which in turn helps in reducing tiredness. In moderation, caffeine can provide a quick boost to cognitive performance.
However, excessive consumption over time – and caffeine dependency, which I’ve suffered with in the past – can be pretty catastrophic for our cognitive function.
While it may offer temporary relief from brain fog, consuming too much caffeine can cause irritability, nervousness, restlessness, and sleep disturbances. Sleep disturbance alone can single-handedly contribute to cognitive impairment, as we’ve seen, and worsen brain fog in the long run.
Try to drink no more than an amount equal to around 2-3 cups of coffee per day most days, and don’t consume caffeine within at least six hours of going to bed.
I’m no party-pooper, but obviously alcohol will never be a good thing for our cognitive health. While small amounts of alcohol may lead to relaxation and a welcome loss of inhibitions, excessive amounts of it can cause significant cognitive decline.
Alcohol is bad news for our attention, concentration, memory, and overall mental processing speed, and has been shown to have damaging effects on the brain, leading to cognitive deficits and brain fog.
A better idea is to drink alcohol in moderation – no more than a couple of units per day for most people. For the premium mental health package, forego it entirely. There really isn’t much of an upside to drinking it regularly, and there is plenty that can go wrong.
Do note that everyone’s tolerance for caffeine and alcohol can be different, so it’s crucial to pay attention to how your body and mind respond to these substances. This being said, though we may all feel different on different amounts, the same baseline is true to all of us: no more than 2-3 cups of coffee, no more than a couple of units per day. Any more, and anyone will start to feel the negative effects.
A final thought
Brain fog can significantly impact our cognitive function, productivity, and overall quality of life. However, as we have seen, there are various strategies to clear brain fog and enhance mental clarity.
And they’re all pretty simple yet highly effective solutions – exercise regularly, sleep plenty, eat well, supplement well.
There is a lot you can actively forego, too. Keeping a tab on our stress levels, replacing those extra cups of coffee with vitalizing water, and working on a healthier sleep routine to give our brains time to memorize and replenish.
Brain fog doesn’t have to be part of our lives. All these natural remedies can be easily implemented into everyday life, for a healthier, clearer mind.
James Dixon is one of the key players in the SOMA Analytics’ team. He is a personal trainer and is educated to Masters level in Philosophy. He is a published author and is a keen advocate of high quality nootropic supplements.
James enjoys helping others to reach their peak both physically and mentally and believes that expressing his knowledge through his writing is an effective way to positively impact the wellbeing of others on a larger scale.