Why You Have Brain Fog & How to Get Rid of It


Written by Dr. Michael Breus

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Brain fog. We’ve all had it–I know I certainly have. It goes beyond typical fatigue after a little lack of sleep or a long day. I’ll tell you the number one reason why you may be experiencing brain fog, other possible causes, and how to get rid of brain fog once and for all.

What Are the Symptoms of Brain Fog?

You Have a Hard Time Concentrating

The hallmark symptom of brain fog is general difficulty concentrating. Whether it’s a task for work or even following a conversation, you may find it more difficult to focus, recall, or concentrate.

You’re Disorganized

Constantly forgetting where you placed your car keys? Having to check several times what day it is? That could be brain fog. Of course, it’s important to rule out cognitive disorders, if you are concerned that might be the case, consult your physician.

This goes behind excessive daytime sleepiness. Chronic fatigue is something you experience emotionally and physically. No matter how much sleep you get, you just can’t get excited about things, or the energy you once had.

What’s the Number One Reason Behind Brain Fog?

The number one reason I see clients suffering from brain fog is simple: going against your natural chronotype.. Think of your chronotype as your biological clock. It tells your brain when, and how much to sleep.

Going against your unique chronotype can lead to a continued production of melatonin, the sleep hormone, meaning you’ll wake up groggy instead of refreshed.

How Do I Get Rid of Brain Fog Caused by Going Against My Chronotype?

The first step I want anyone experiencing brain fog to take is try to start scheduling sleep like you’d do anything else. But there are steps you can take in the morning, too.

Go outside and get 15 minutes of sunlight within 20 minutes of waking up and drink about 20 oz of water. This will help you naturally wake up and reduce symptoms of brain fog!

Not only does your chronotype define your sleep schedule, it can also predict your ideal productivity and creativity hours.
Dr. Michael Breus

What Other Things Cause Brain Fog?

If following your chronotype, getting sunlight and hydrating doesn’t do the trick, consider these other possible causes of brain fog.

You Have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, you’ll notice flu-like symptoms, from joint pain, sore throat, headaches, and general exhaustion. Research suggests that CFS means your brain uses more energy than usual for everyday activities, which explains why you feel so tired.

You’re On Medication

The common culprits, mood stabilizers, antipsychotics, and sleeping pills, can also be behind your brain fog.

Your Hormones Are Unbalanced

I’ve written about how menopause affects sleep. Hormone fluctuations, whether it’s menopause or pregnancy can really be draining. And lower levels of estradiol, a form of estrogen, may even mean performing worse on memory tests

You’re Using Cannabis

Cannabis is an exciting new trend as a sleep aid, but it’s not without its side effects. If you don’t know why and how to use cannabis for sleep, chances are you’re using too much or too close to your wake up time. That can lead to the dread brain fog or cannabis hangover.

You’re Depressed

Mood disorders, but depression especially, can cause anyone to have a sense of brain fog, with a loss of interest in everyday activities, lack of concentration, and fatigue.

How Do You Treat Other Causes of Brain Fog?

Rule Out Serious Health Conditions

The first step you need to take to get rid of brain fog is to have a medical professional check you out. If you’re experiencing symptoms beyond general fatigue and trouble concentrating, ask your doctor if your condition could be something more serious such as Alzheimer’s disease.

Change Your Medication

Prescription medications sometimes are a necessity for managing conditions. If that’s the case, you should still ask your doctor about your dosage or alternative medicine is possible.

Sleeping pills are another story. Under medical guidance, wean yourself off and try alternative sleep remedies, like natural supplements. I know that seems a little counterintuitive but it should definitely be a consideration and conversation with your doctor.

Manage Fluctuating Hormones

Night sweats can lead to insomnia, but by investing in a bed temperature control system, you can stay cool and sleep through the night. You can also check out my suggestions for managing menopause with natural supplements.

Get Your Depression Assessed

Sleep, mood disorders and nagging brain fog are all linked. If you’re facing symptoms of hopelessness, lack of interest in everyday activities, and lethargy, it’s time to get help from a professional.

About The Author

Dr. Michael Breus

Clinical Psychologist, Sleep Medicine Expert

Michael Breus, Ph.D is a Diplomate of the American Board of Sleep Medicine and a Fellow of The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and one of only 168 psychologists to pass the Sleep Medical Specialty Board without going to medical school. He holds a BA in Psychology from Skidmore College, and PhD in Clinical Psychology from The University of Georgia. Dr. Breus has been in private practice as a sleep doctor for nearly 25 years. Dr. Breus is a sought after lecturer and his knowledge is shared daily in major national media worldwide including Today, Dr. Oz, Oprah, and for fourteen years as the sleep expert on WebMD. Dr. Breus is also the bestselling author of The Power of When, The Sleep Doctor’s Diet Plan, Good Night!, and Energize!

  • POSITION: Combination Sleeper
  • TEMPERATURE: Hot Sleeper

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