What Is Brain Fog? Understanding the Feeling

What Is Brain Fog? Understanding the Feeling

Brain fog often manifests as the inability to concentrate, absorb information, or multitask no matter how much you know you need to get something done.

Brain fog is one of those things that we’ve all experienced at one time or another in our lives – usually while at school or work, if we’re being honest. It can feel like your mind is just slugging along or like your head feels fuzzy when you try to focus on something. And it can often feel like you’re lacking mental clarity, especially when it results in the inability to get anything done – whether that be your daily work or even a fun project or craft you had planned.

While it may seem silly in the moment, recurring brain fog can actually be a common symptom of many other health and medical conditions, including pregnancy, anxiety, and depression. Which is why it’s important to get to the bottom of what can cause brain fog and a number of other questions such as:

  • What is brain fog?
  • What does brain fog feel like?
  • How does brain fog affect your mental clarity?
  • How do you know if you’re experiencing brain fog?
  • Can lack of sleep cause brain fog?
  • How to get rid of brain fog?

What Does Brain Fog Feel Like?

Brain fog can feel like a jumble of a few different things, from an inability to concentrate to headaches and even to an excess of energy that just won’t let you sit still long enough to get anything done. Especially if you’re already struggling to focus on the task at hand.

Maybe you’re struggling to hold on to a specific train of thought or having trouble explaining a certain idea? Both of these are common symptoms of brain fog. More or less, brain fog is that moment when your mental clarity suddenly goes *poof* and you’re left standing in a room without knowing why you walked into it or stuck in the middle of a conversation without any idea of what you were about to say.

We’ve all experienced brain fog at one time or another, so it’s nothing to be ashamed of or worried about. That being said, if you find yourself experiencing one or more of the symptoms of brain fog, there are a few relatively easy things you can do about it.


The symptoms of brain fog aren’t always immediately apparent. Sometimes it can feel like you’re just avoiding something you know you need to get done. Other times it can mean having to re-read the same sentence or paragraph over and over again because the information just won’t stick. A lack of mental clarity can feel like different things to different people, which is part of what makes it difficult to identify at first.

That being said, some of the most common symptoms of brain fog are:

  • An inability to focus on an idea or thought
  • Trouble absorbing information
  • Avoiding the task at hand
  • Having a hard time multitasking
  • Struggling to recall information
  • Mental exhaustion
  • Headaches
  • Increased grogginess

A man scratching his head with his hand

What Causes Brain Fog and How Do You Fix It?

There are quite a few different factors that can lead to brain fog and a lack of mental clarity, including anything from mild dehydration to seasonal allergies or, most often, a lack of quality sleep. And more often than not, brain fog is caused by a combination of factors, so it’s important to keep in mind that the “fix” may not be a simple “just do this” or “just do that.”

Because some of your current prescribed medications, or even over-the-counter medications, can also play a role in your constant or recurring brain fog, it’s important to discuss any possible reactions to new medications with your doctor.

Lack of Sleep

As we mentioned above, a lack of sleep, or more specifically a lack of consistent and quality sleep, is a major cause of brain fog. Because adults need an average of seven to nine hours of sleep a night, and most often live busy lives with various obligations, getting the right amount of sleep every night can be tricky.

Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to develop healthy sleeping habits, such as reducing your caffeine and alcohol consumption (especially in the hours before sleep) and going to bed, and getting up at a consistent time every day. If you’ve established a healthy sleeping routine and you find that you’re still experiencing brain fog and having trouble with your mental clarity, it’s time to take a look at and consider other factors.

Other Possible Causes

Dehydration, seasonal allergies, increased feelings of anxiety, stress, or depression, and a fluctuation in your hormone levels can all lead to a recurrence of brain fog. Which is why our advice is that you focus on and rule out one factor at a time by making sure you eat a healthy diet, drink enough water throughout the day, and, as always, talk to your doctor if your brain fog worsens or continues for a long period of time.

Unfortunately, brain fog can also appear as a result of burnout. Especially if you are overworked and aren’t taking enough time off to let your mind settle and move out of “work work work” mode. Many employers have even begun to insist their employees take time off in order to decrease the risk of burnout and improve productivity overall by improving your mental clarity.

How to Get Rid of Brain Fog

A man sleeping in a bed with his phone alarm sitting on a nightstand set for 5:30 am

As we mentioned above, there are a few things you can do to increase your mental clarity, starting with a regular sleep schedule, staying hydrated, and eating a healthy diet. But you can also practice mindfulness techniques such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, and listening to calming music to help reduce your anxiety and stress levels. Regular physical exercise throughout the week is another great way to increase your endorphins.

Supplements can also play a key (and most importantly, easy) role in eliminating brain fog. For example, did you know that B vitamins, omega-3s, and even CBD can help regulate your mood throughout the day? Minimizing the likelihood of brain fog really can be as simple as adding an extra vitamin or supplement to your daily self-care routine.

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