Quick fixes for brain fog can work pretty quickly unless there is an underlying condition. In which case, it’s worth investigating further with your GP or healthcare provider. Although brain fog can happen to us all, it’s the persistent and constant brain fog which can cause a lack of confidence and unhappiness that I am addressing here. This can be related to post-Covid infection, menopause, fatigue, too much screen time, diet, blood sugar balance and insomnia. Here are some quick fix solutions that can help.
– yes, I know I keep bringing this up! If you eat foods that spike your blood sugar (and whatever goes up has to come down), you will then get a dip and reach for more food to compensate. This leads to a day of roller-coasting insulin and peaking and slumping energy levels. Sugar spikes and dips hinders mental capacity, memory and focus. It also makes it harder for you to concentrate on anything for a long period of time. High spikes raise serotonin and GABA to the point of sleepiness, and hormones such as cortisol, glucagon, and adrenalin are produced to try and mitigate the rapid drop in blood sugar – and cortisol and adrenalin can leave you feeling wired (even though you are tired) i.e. in fight or flight.
Solution: include protein, fat and fibre in every meal i.e. not just cereal for breakfast or pasta for lunch. Snack on nuts and seeds. See more on flattening blood sugar spikes or cut the carb cravings
Blue light and sleep
Blue light is connected to disruption in sleeping patterns. Specifically, people who view screens in the evening hours are inhibiting the production of a hormone called melatonin, which regulates our desire for sleep. Looking at a mobile device for an extended period of time before bed has been shown to result in greater drowsiness, lower energy, brain fog and inability to focus next day.
Solution: limit viewing of mobile phones, laptops, TVs especially one hour before bed. Purchase some blue light filter glasses. I bought mine from Foxman Frames
Brain and inflammation
An excessive amount of inflammation can cause the blood-brain barrier to become more permeable, leading to brain inflammation. A study carried out at University of Birmingham concluded that “…. there’s a very specific part of the brain network that’s affected by inflammation and this could explain ‘brain fog.”
There appears to be a link between long Covid and brain fog. In this case, there may be an underlying immune imbalance and a possible connection to the Epstein Barr Virus. In this case, it’s worth discussing it with your GP or other health care provider.
Solution: balance blood sugar (see above), reduce stress, consume anti-inflammatory spices: turmeric, ginger and cinnamon. Eat oily fish which contain Omega 3 (sardines, mackerel, anchovies, salmon) or take a supplement.
A healthy microbiome is essential for normal cognitive function. An impaired digestive system may not only manifest as intestinal symptoms (for example, diarrhoea and bloating) but can also cause non-digestive issues like brain fog.
These gastrointestinal conditions are commonly associated with brain fog:
- Celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity
- Crohn’s disease
- Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth
- Leaky gut
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) like ulcerative colitis
Solution: refer to a nutritional therapist or kinesiologist to discuss your diet and digestive health, look at eating high fibre foods, include fermented foods in your diet, take a probiotic. NB If you suffer from some of the above conditions, eating high fibre foods may not be appropriate till you’ve addressed some of the underlying causes of your condition.
Quick fixes for brain fog
- Get up and Cross Crawl once or twice a day (this balances the left and right brain hemisphere, improves concentration and memory). How to Cross Crawl (see image below): march bringing your right hand to your lifted left knee. Do it in an exaggerated form. Do the same with the opposite side and repeat alternating about 20 times.
- Massage the soft tissue between the shoulder blades (the outer side of the arm pit going upwards – in other words the places where your rucksack straps would be at the front). This invigorates the neurolymphatic points of the brain.
- This next technique helps switch the brain back on so you can think more clearly:
place the finger and thumb of one hand around the navel and press them into the body. With the thumb and 2 fingers of the other hand, rub the hollows under the collarbone. Then move the thumb and 2 fingers to just above the top lip and below the bottom lip and rub these points too. Swap hand and repeat.