Brain fog is something that everyone has dealt with from time to time and it can be a very frustrating thing to experience. One of the most frustrating aspects of brain fog is oftentimes how unpredictable it can be. When you aren't sure as to why you are experiencing brain fog, or where it's coming from, it can create feelings of frustration or even hopelessness.
What Exactly is Brain Fog
Before going further, let's take a look at what brain fog actually is. A recent post from the Mayo Clinic stated that brain fog, as a possible side effect of what is known as long-covid, is not categorized as a medical condition however it does have very real symptoms. Brain fog itself is a term that is used to describe a feeling of mental cloudiness.
When a person experiences brain fog they can have trouble concentrating on a single specific subject. Feelings of mental fatigue and a high propensity to get distracted are also common with brain fog. Oftentimes, a person experiencing these unpleasant symptoms may simply want to just take a nap or stay in bed, which can be very frustrating if there are tasks that demand attention.
While brain fog isn't anything new, there are certain steps that you can take that will help you deal with it appropriately. One of those steps is learning about the possible causes that could be behind your brain fog. When you know what could be causing this condition, it can help you to find ways of mitigating its effects by either avoiding certain foods, habits, or activities or modifying them appropriately.
If you have been wondering what causes brain fog, here are two reasons you need to know about it!
1. Lack of Sleep
One of the main reasons that a person can experience brain fog and feel groggy is simply a true lack of sleep. The body is designed to specifically need rest and sleep itself is a dynamic process that is composed of different stages that provide rest to various parts of the human anatomy.
Sleep is made up of four stages known as N1, N2, N3, and lastly, REM sleep. These four stages make up what is called a sleep cycle and each stage of the sleep cycle has a very specific purpose that serves the body. The early stages of a sleep cycle are associated with the bridge between waking and sleeping and involve the initial drift into unconsciousness as well as paralysis of the body.
The last stage of the sleep cycle, REM sleep, is considered the most important step as it deals with the neurological benefits of sleep. This is where the brain gets to rest and re-set from a long day. Because it's possible for someone to experience incomplete sleep cycles, if a person doesn't get enough REM cycles in their sleeping period, they can often times wake up feeling groggy and tired despite having no memories of being 'awake'.
Getting enough good, quality sleep is one of the best ways to mitigate annoying brain fog and stay sharp throughout the day.
2. Your Metabolism - Eat Your Fats!
Yep, you read that right, your metabolism can actually have a huge effect on what is commonly called 'brain fog'. Your metabolism is made up of several different factors and systems of your body, but it refers to a person's physical ability to turn food and nutrients into energy. A person with a low metabolism may struggle to process food and get the same amount of energy out of it as someone who has a high metabolism.
The important thing about metabolism is that while each person has a unique metabolic rate, everyone has the same opporutniy to have a healthy or unhealthy metabolism. For example, a person with a high metabolic rate may need to consume a huge amount of calories to put on desired weight gain such as lean muscle mass, while someone with a lower metabolic rate may need to consume less. The key isn't how much a person needs to consume, although that is important, the key is 'what' a person consumes.
In order to maintain a healthy metabolism, you need to be giving your body all the nutrition it needs, which includes healthy fats. Fats like pentadecanoic acid (C15:0) actually help to keep a person's metabolism healthy and running well. Often times when people start to take their nutritional intake seriously, they can be confused about the role that fats play. While there are a lot of unhealthy fats out there, strong, dietary fats like C15:0 and Omega-3, and 6, are vital for a strong metabolism.
While there are certain areas like healthy exercise, emotional health, and even medications that can help improve the symptoms of brain fog, sleep and metabolism are two foundational aspects that need to be taken seriously. If you aren't getting enough sleep, and you aren't giving your body the proper nutrition, including healthy fats, to maintain a good metabolism, you may experience brain fog more than you want!