Brain Fog 101 – The Complete Guide

In this article: Learn about Brain fog, it’s cause and potential solutions. It’s time to get clear, get focused, and improve productivity by removing your brain fog.

Brain fog affects nearly everyone at some point their lifetime. However, some people suffer a lot more and for longer periods. This issue causes dysfunction, confusion and some real frustration. 

There are several reasons for brain fog, including stress, hectic lives, medications, depression, pregnancy, and lack of sleep among others. 

The good news is that there are many things you can do to alleviate brain fog and return to being productive, highly focused and mentally energetic. 

What is Brain Fog?

The brain is a fascinating and mysterious organ. It is capable of so much, and yet is it also fragile, and if we do not take care of ourselves, serious problems can occur. 

According to WebMD,

“Brain fog” isn’t a medical condition. It’s a term used for certain symptoms that can affect your ability to think. You may feel confused or disorganized or find it hard to focus or put your thoughts into words.”

Brain fog is a common ailment that can be caused by hormonal imbalances, leaky gut syndrome, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, brain inflammation, stress, anxiety, depression, overwork anemia, thyroid dysfunction like hypothyroidism, diabetes, certain nutrient deficiency, multiple sclerosis (MS). 

Brain fog leaves you feeling groggy, slow, and hazy. It can make it hard to focus and easy to forget. It makes it rather difficult to function in your normal daily life. 

Three Types Of Brain Fog

  • Brain fog related to lifestyle
  • Brain fog related to a medical condition
  • Brain fog that results from a certain medication

Signs And Symptoms

Inability to Process Information Quickly

One of the most common symptoms of brain fog is not being able to process information quickly enough. If you’ve ever been hungover, this is very similar to how you feel then. It takes a little longer for you to get the joke after the punch line has been delivered, for instance. A math problem that would typically be easy for you is taking you far longer to complete.

This can make it hard to function at work, school, or even just your normal daily life. 

This can make it hard to complete everything you need to get done in a day, lowering your productivity. It can be extremely frustrating in a number of ways, making it even harder to get things done and adding to your stress. 

This can also cause your brain to feel foggy and hazy. This symptom is part of the reason brain fog has earned the name it has.

Poor Memory and Forgetfulness

Another common symptom of brain fog is poor memory and forgetfulness. In addition to it taking you a little longer to get things, it’s also easier to forget them. This can add to your frustration as you struggle to keep up with what you were saying, remember what’s been said, and participate in a conversation.

As you can imagine, this can be extremely frustrating and also lead to a productivity issue. As you struggle with getting things to click, you’re also struggling to remember how to do it. This symptom is part of the reason that brain fog makes it so hard to function in your daily life.

Lack of Focus

A really annoying and common symptom of brain fog is a lack of focus. You just find yourself getting distracted easily. It’s a struggle similar to that those with ADHD face quite regularly. The worst part about this lack of focus is that it isn’t due to a want to do something else; you’re not distracted because it’s a pretty day outside or because you’d rather be doing anything else but work, you can’t help it. 

This lack of focus, like the two symptoms mentioned above, can make it hard for you to be productive in your work, schoolwork, or housework. It makes your day incredibly more difficult to get through, especially if you have to adhere to a tight schedule.

Mental Grogginess

This symptom is a big part of how brain fog got its name. Mental confusion and grogginess can cause the first two symptoms we mentioned: inability to process information quickly and poor memory and forgetfulness. It leaves you feeling disorganized, disoriented, and confused. It can cause you to feel groggy and tired as if someone woke you during a deep stage of sleep.

This can make it hard to focus and get your work done. It can also make you a little slower in figuring out new tasks or remembering how to do old ones. This can contribute to your frustration when experiencing brain fog which, unfortunately, can make the condition worse.

Lack of Motivation

The lack of motivation caused by brain fog is not all that dissimilar to that those with depression experience. It makes it hard to enjoy doing things you previously enjoyed and to push through those you don’t but have to do anyway. 

This lack of motivation is hard to get past sometimes. It can also lead to a sense of depression as you find it hard to get motivated to even do things you previously enjoyed doing. It can also contribute to some level of frustration as you struggle to stay on task and complete the things you need to do.

Poor Performance

All of the above symptoms contribute to overall poor performance in a number of ways. First off, it can cause you to get less work done than you would typically get done, as it’s taking you far longer to do it. 

It can also cause you to produce a worse final product for the work you get done. As you struggle to focus and remember what it is your doing, your usual standard of work starts to decline. This is why many people opt to take the day off if possible when experiencing brain fog.

Lastly, it can cause you to get highly frustrated easily. This makes it even more difficult to produce good work and can even cause you to second-guess the work you’ve done, driving you to throw it out and redo it, wasting your precious time. Not to mention the fact that the more you redo it when you’re in this state of mind, the higher the chances that the work will just be worsening in quality.

Decline in Productivity

A decline in productivity is often people’s first sign that somethings off, even though it comes as a result of all the other symptoms. It can often be difficult for us to notice the other symptoms in ourselves, but when it results in poor work or lower productivity, others bring it to our attention and not always in the way we want them to.

As we experience brain fog, we have a tendency to let our work slip as we get distracted, struggle to figure out what we’re doing, struggle through the confusion, and stress about not being motivated. 

All of these struggles can ruin your productivity and keep you from getting done what you need to get done.

What Causes Brain Fog

According to WebMD, causes include:

  • Overwork/Overwhelm
  • Lack of sleep
  • Stress
  • Pregnancy
  • Depression
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)
  • Certain Medications
  • Menopause
  • Cancer treatment

These are a few reasons why someone would develop severe brain fog symptoms. When the nervous system and Immune system is compromised, anything can go wrong mentally, and this is usually the case. The body is the mind so whatever is affected internally, can result in mental disturbances.

Lack Of Sleep

Depending on age range, 6-8 hours of quality sleep per night is essential for good physical and mental health. A lack of sleep can cause so many issues from the obvious brain fog symptoms to greater chances of heart disease, obesity, and mental disorders.


Stress causes the body to weaken due to excessive release of endorphins and adrenaline. Now, these are not actually bad for the body when excreted in normal amounts but when excessive, it will cause many issues in the body.

Digestive issues are another big side effect of excessive stress. Gut health is related to mental health and this is why it’s important to consume healthy foods and Probiotics to restore gut health. 

Brain fog is often a big result of stomach issues so it’s vital to improve your health in this area of mental struggle.


Many women go through hormonal changes during pregnancy and this is an obvious cause of brain fog.


But anyone can experience it if sleep is not ideal, or you experience immune system changes through stress disorders which weaken your bodily functions significantly. Finding new ways to look at life and most importantly making big lifestyle changes will reduce these depressive symptoms dramatically.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

There’s no real understanding of why CFS occurs in certain people but many believe it to result from several factors.

Some include:

  • Viral infections
  • Immune system disorders
  • Psychological imbalances

Viral Infections 

The cause of CFS can be related to any type of viral infection. There has been no conclusive evidence as to an exact virus type causing this disorder.

These are actually what many health professionals believe to be the cause of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Often times sleep doesn’t help without other forms of treatment. There is no known cure for CFS.


There are several types of medications which can bring on brain fog symptoms. Many mind-altering medications are an obvious culprit but if you feel these symptoms while taking any medications, stop and consult a physician.


Menopause can really affect the mind around a year after a woman’s last period (usually after age 50).

The side effects can be intense including hot flashes and many other hormone-related issues.

Cancer Treatment

Chemotherapy is rough on the brain’s ability to work. “Chemo Brain” as they call it results from the treatments which can cause lots of mental confusion, memory loss etc.

Brain fog is an unfortunate side effect of a certain type of trauma the body experiences, regardless of how severe. Remember that the body experiences changes due to physiological changes.

Fortunately, brain fog can be alleviated and even diminished completely if proper care is taken to identify the main issue.

We discussed some causes for brain fog but how do we undo it? Is it just a mental thing? Well, sometimes the human body goes through a process of imbalance and we already know how connected this is to the mental aspect of health.

Much of the brain fog we experience on a daily basis really is just a result of our mental state. Now, of course, certain illnesses can cause brain fog but who’s to say the mind isn’t involved with how we handle it. The mind is an extremely powerful thing which can certainly change the way one feels and even cure many ailments.

Lifestyle choices are also a big reason in the amount the brain fog we experience as well. It’s not fair that the pharmaceutical and medical industry gets to label every symptom with the root problem requiring a pill or surgical intervention.

Certain diseases are hereditary of course but to what extent? Can there be something done within one’s self-conscious mind to prevent these issues? The mind creates nearly all physiological feeling we experience daily, and this is true in reverse as well. So, if this is true, then we weaken our immune systems and central nervous system by the long-term mental habits we have developed resulting from our physical state of being.

Why? Because the stresses we acquire occur first in the mind. If we’re stressed, anxious or depressed, it’s because we have associated our feelings with experiences in life. If we are fearful, we associate fear with a certain emotional feeling which we don’t like, and this triggers stress and/or anxiety.

So, you see how brain fog can develop when our minds are at dis-ease.

The body is your subconscious mind so the problem with the thinking that the mind is the issue is false. What we perceive physically causes our reactions and this, in turn, causes our physical symptoms.

Medications and Brain Fog

Medications are used to change the body chemistry to a certain degree to combat some form of illness, and sometimes the side effects are brain fog. 

Solutions For Lifestyle Related Brain Fog

The good news is there are solutions.Don’t get stuck in the mindset of there being no relief because, with the right plan of attack, you can ease brain fog and become more productive and focused. 

Most brain fog situations are caused by lifestyle choices and our mental state of being. While it’s not always possible to cure the conditions causing brain fog and thus brain fog itself, there’s a lot of solutions that will help to ease your struggle so you can function at an optimal level. 

Solutions range widely from person to person so there’s not just one simple solution although it is simple in nature once you realize why you are dealing with brain fog. 

Available Solutions

  • Mindfulness
  • Meditation
  • Changing your circumstances
  • Medication-free therapy
  • Medications for Brain Fog
  • Seeking Help
  • Develop True Mental Strength
  • Diet
  • Sleep
  • Exercise
  • Regular Relaxation
  • Stress Relief

These solutions can rid you of the brain fog you suffer with daily. Why will they help you? Because most of the brain fog you experience is because you’ve allowed your mind to develop certain habits. These habits then, control your body because you have allowed an experience to determine your response to a stimulus.

Since most physical and mental issues occurs due to lifestyle habits, you must choose to change your identity if you want to be the person who can focus and not let brain fog come into your life to disrupt your productivity.


Mindfulness is absolutely crucial for rewiring your brain through neuroplasticity (Brain plasticity). You can absolutely train your brain to no longer find certain stimuli and lifestyle habits with the symptoms of brain fog. 

Neuroplasticity is an amazing finding since so many people suffer from mental and physical ailments all caused by undesirable patterns in the brain.

This is where meditation shines for being able to restructure brain patterns in order for the body to adapt to new healthy habits.


Meditating can be done in so many ways that anyone can practice mindful meditation. Simply slowing your body down with deep breathing and expressing gratitude for your life can rid those little anxieties and mental build up responsible for the majority of mental struggle.

Meditation should be done in a quiet place where you can focus on inner awareness. Being aware of your conscious mind will directly impact your subconscious mind. 

Meditation is very important for neuroplasticity because if you close your eyes and think of something happy, your mind and body don’t know the difference from your thoughts and experiences which occur in your reality. This is great news and you can change your bad habits just though thoughts alone.

If we think about pain and expect it to be there as often as we do, it will show up without delay. You need to be meditating daily before you can fall into your self-imposed and punishing routine. 

Just take 10 minutes in the morning and at night to meditate on the positive changes you want to make, and you’ll soon notice a physical manifestation of your thought process.


We are what we eat, and this is the truth. Our second brain is the gut and if we can feed ourselves with proper nutrients, we will be able to function at the highest level possible.

Not sure which foods are best for gut health?

Here are the foods you should be eating if you want that “second brain” to benefit you in the best way possible.

  • Greens (Kale, Spinach etc.)
  • Fiber (Whole Grains, beans etc.)
  • Fruits (Berries, Bananas, Apples etc.)
  • Fermented foods (Sauerkraut, Kefir, Tempeh, Miso etc.) yogurts are also fantastic because they contain healthy bacteria necessary for restoring the gut.

You can also use take Probiotic supplements to make sure you’re giving your stomach the proper bacteria.

Limit Caffeine and Sugar

Caffeine can make you jittery and on edge. It can contribute to your frustration, stress, and make your brain fog worse. It’s a good idea to limit your caffeine intake in general, as it’s neither the best nor the healthiest thing for our bodies, but it’s an especially good idea when you’re experiencing brain fog. Switch out your morning coffee for a nice glass of tea on those days. It’ll do you good.

Sugar, similar to caffeine, leaves you feeling jittery. With both of these foods/beverages, you end up suffering a hard crash later, as well. Too much sugar in your diet can cause mood swings, headaches, chronic fatigue, and skin problems not to mention all the effects it can have on your overall health.

Limiting caffeine and sugar can lead to headaches and mood swings at first, but this will pass. Stay strong and keep limiting your intake of these foods; your body will thank you for it in more ways than just helping your brain fog.

Diet is extremely vital to overall good health and well-being and many people neglect this aspect of good health.


Getting the body moving and endorphins releasing is a great way to rid yourself of all that brain fog. We need activity to be healthy as we are made to move and be active. Join a gym, run at the park, pick up a sport/hobby.

All these activities are fantastic physical and mental health and they are not an option if you want to get rid of the brain fog. When we’re active, we are ridding ourselves of toxins and preventing chronic disease of all sorts.

Make a daily exercise routine for yourself and set a time to get up and get active.

Stress Relief

Stress only makes brain fog worse. If you’re dealing with brain fog, minimize the stressors. Organize and plan your work before you do it so that, if you forget what you’re doing or get distracted, you can easily refer to your plan and know exactly where you were and the point you were making.

Another way you can work to minimize your stress is by not giving yourself too much to work on and worry about during the times you’re dealing with brain fog. 

Try to delegate some of your work to someone else or ask someone to help you by taking a responsibility off your hands. It’s ok to say no; your health and mental health are important.

Regular Relaxation

Regular relaxation is one of the key solutions to easing your brain fog. Brain fog itself causes you to produce worse work, lower productivity, and much more, but it also causes you to become overly frustrated a lot quicker. This frustration leaves you feeling irritated and flustered and actually worsens the problem.

When you find yourself getting overly frustrated when dealing with brain fog, it’s best to try and relax in those times. Put the work you’re doing aside for just a moment and allow yourself the chance to breathe deeply. Deep breathing exercises and meditation can help you truly relax in those moments of high stress and frustration, allowing you to clear your mind a little.


Rest can really help to clear up brain fog struggles. Not sleeping well can frequently even leave you feeling like you’re dealing with brain fog first thing in the morning. Cut yourself some slack, give yourself a break, take it easy, and get some sleep. You’d be amazed how much of a difference resting, relaxing, and getting a little extra sleep can make.

Sleep is underrated but if you get enough of it, you’ll be on your way to perfect health and healing. Everyone needs around 6-8 hours of quality sleep per night to function properly and correct any physical ailments. Sleep is necessary to repair and recuperate and without it you’ll be a walking mess.

If more people would just understand that they need more shuteye, there’s be less sickness in the world. Sleep is the body’s maintenance time and so it makes sense to really focus on getting more of it. Now, many people have trouble sleeping and this must be tackled so you can allow your body to find healing.

There are many ways to improve your sleep quality…

  • Drink Herbal Teas (Valerian, Lemon balm, Passionflower)
  • Use essential oils (Lavender, Chamomile, Cedarwood)
  • Try natural supplements (L-theanine, Melatonin, Valerian, Magnesium)
  • Avoid electronic devices two hours before bedtime.
  • Exercise during the day.

These are all great ways to improve sleep quality and most importantly, fall asleep without tossing and turning.

Limit Alcohol While Experiencing Brain Fog

As we said above, brain fog is a similar feeling to being hungover from drinking too much alcohol. Whether inebriated or recovering, alcohol can cause symptoms not all that dissimilar to brain fog. 

If you’re experiencing brain fog, it’s a good idea to limit your alcohol or cut it out completely on the days you’re struggling.

It’s important, whether cut out alcohol or just limit it, to stay hydrated. The proper amount of water can do some amazing things for your body and overall health. Your body needs hydration. Make sure you’re getting the proper amount of water each day and increasing that amount when drinking alcohol or doing something to cause you to sweat.

There are many conditions that can cause brain fog to occur, but it doesn’t make it any easier to deal with. We hope this article helped you to identify the signs of brain fog, so you know what you’re dealing with and that the solutions offer you some relief. While there is no current treatment for brain fog other than to cope, your doctor may be able to offer you some guidance and assistance in easing your struggle.

If you have one of the conditions mentioned in the introduction and experience brain fog, mention it to your doctor to see what they recommend. If you think you’re experiencing brain fog and don’t have any of those conditions, it is crucial that you speak with your doctor; this could be your sign that something else is wrong.

Medication-free therapy

Therapy is one of the greatest resources we have today and it’s a smart idea to take advantage. Licensed therapists are trained to help you deal with your mental health strategically and effectively. We need to use the resources we have been given because it can be a lifesaver.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) involves techniques to learn ways to manage and alleviate your issues. It’s never more necessary to have someone to talk to when you feel like your mind is getting out of control.

Changing Your Circumstances

Complacency and toxic living can result in brain fog. You must make the decision to get your mental health straight by changing your lifestyle.

Sometimes we get complacent and don’t do anything about our situation. However, this is a big mistake and only allows for the bottled-up feelings to develop within oneself to an extreme extent. Brain fog can be caused by confusion due to mental stress and complacency of not living a happy, fulfilling life.

Consider Your Life Circumstances That Maybe Contributing To Brain Fog

  • Consider the things that weight heavy on your mind. 
  • Consider your schedule, is too hectic?
  • Consider your exercise and diet habits.
  • Consider how well you take care of yourself. 
  • Consider what you can eliminate from your life that is causing you overwhelm or stress?
  • If you need to surround yourself with different people, then do so. People can really influence us and cause more stress in our lives than anything because we as human beings connect with others. However, the wrong company is harmful to our health.

Focus On Mental Health

Considering and taking care of your mind is important. Make a conscious effort to do so and make a conscious decision that you will make your mental health a priority. 

Medications For Brain Fog

In certain cases, medications maybe necessary, talk to your doctor. 

Resources For Seeking Help

The resources we have access to today are limitless. We have books, the internet, support groups. Doctors, etc. Don’t be ashamed or embarrassed if you can’t seem to get your mind right as we are all here to help each other.

An important first step is learning how the human body works. Educate yourself on what the body is capable of and how powerful the mind is. Your mind creates your reality without fail and it does so for everyone else as well.

Choose To Live A Healthy Lifestyle

We can solve many modern health problems by deciding to live healthy lifestyles.

  • Eat healthier
  • Be active
  • Meditate
  • Manage your stress
  • Have a healthy social life

This is a simple formula to a healthy mind and in turn, a healthy body. The problem in our society is that we have succumbed to the belief that we cannot completely control how we think and feel and it’s only getting worse as mental health medications are being prescribed at alarming rates.

We have so many “expectations” we must live up to these days that the pharmaceutical industry is making a fortune. If the expectations to be like someone else didn’t exist, do you think we’d develop brain fog? Probably not. 

What about the stresses of making more money or pleasing someone else? The noise and craziness of our society is a big contributor to brain fog. When you learn to manage your stress, and do so on a regular basis, you become a better you.

The unhealthy foods we eat causes brain fog because these substances are toxic to our wellbeing. Many foods contain addictive chemicals, processed ingredients, and artificial components which make up a product. The difference is obvious between healthy and unhealthy foods and the way they make us feel.

For instance, if you eat processed/fried foods, you don’t feel very well at all afterward if you eat too much of it. Both the body and mind need healthy “food.” If we feed it negativity and junk food, we compromise our health and we experience brain fog and sickness.

Your lifestyle choices are your own. Take care of yourself and your mind and body will take care of you.

Final Thoughts

If you can find a natural solution to lifestyle related brain fog, then that is your best option. The most important way to improve your brain fog is to take a look at your lifestyle and make changes for the positive. 

Most people don’t really understand how powerful the mind is in causing and curing the severest of ailments, and this needs to be addressed on a larger scale. We do have control in not allowing a hectic world to dictate our level of health. 

Brain fog is simply a symptom of an underlying issue and although some people may need chemical help, it’s still good to eventually get to the root of the real problem.

Practice natural methods of healing and watch how your mind starts to become more focused and your thoughts just pass through. If you need urgent help, then see a doctor immediately.

Don’t let brain fog bully you! Fight back and overcome it!