The whole concept of Brain Fog really touches a nerve with me. I’ve never felt so weak and powerless as when I was having a ‘Brain Fog Day’. I felt as is everything I’d ever learned at school had somehow vanished and that all my brain cells had magically disappeared. I felt like a complete idiot- why am I getting my words mixed up? Why can’t I concentrate for 2 minutes? How do I treat Brain Fog? Even if your body is having a good day, you can often be left with this horrible, numb feeling in your head. For me, it felt like there was a big heavy grey cloud around my brain, that’s the only way I can describe it.
What causes Brain Fog?
Although the exact causes are unknown, contributing factors include:
- A lack of sleep or disruptions to your sleep cycle
- If you’re experiencing pain, you might be mentally distracted by this for a prolonged period, which triggers a ‘numb’ feeling
- Abnormal blood flow to the head
- Interactions with medication
What are the Symptoms of Brain Fog?
For anyone who isn’t clear on what Brain Fog is, some of the symptoms include:
- Becoming easily confused
- Lack of ability to concentrate
- Lack of ability to multi-task due to lack of concentration
- Inability to recall words during a sentence (this was the main one for me!), forgetting why you started the sentence or mixing words around and not noticing
- Short term memory problems
- Inability to carry out simple calculations or mathematical problems
- Losing things and not being able to find them, as you usually would
- Becoming easily lost and disoriented in places you usually know well
Brain Fog generally tends to get worse when you are anxious, worried, rushed or dealing with too much information at once. It can also occur when you’re dealing with sensory overload, for example, too many bright lights or too much noise. I used to get completely overwhelmed in shopping centres and supermarkets, and would feel panicky and closed in. Once this had happened a few times, my parents knew to only offer to take me shopping to get me out of the house if they knew it was going to be quiet.
Help! I’m fed up of this! How can I Treat Brain Fog?
Luckily there are some things you can do to treat brain fog and go easy on yourself if you wake up and realise you’re having a ‘Brain Fog Day':
- Recognise that today is a Brain Fog Day and sink into it. Don’t try and fight it, relax into it and let it go. Work within your limits, take regular time out and don’t get mad at yourself. Be patient and keep things simple. If you have to, tell people you’re having ‘one of those days’- they’ll appreciate and respect your honesty.
- Drink as much fresh, filtered (if possible) water as you can. Sometimes, you might just be dehydrated. I constantly forgot to drink enough water when I was ill, it just seemed like too much effort. Water is incredibly important for our brain and bodies. You need to stay hydrated before you are thirsty- by the time you feel thirsty, it’s too late.
- Avoid caffeine or energy drinks. It’s so tempting to just grab a coffee to alleviate Brain Fog and feeling tired, even just for a moment, but you’ll feel worse later on, and maybe even into the next day. Do it gradually, don’t go cold turkey all at once, but cutting out caffeine was one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself.
- Get enough sleep. Sleeping for at least 8 hours is crucial. However, and I know this is so difficult to keep to if you’ve got CFS, don’t sleep too much or rely too much on sleeping tablets. You don’t want to do anything that’ll make you feel more Brain Fog the next day. Read this article for more bedtime tips.
- Eat a nutritious diet, or if your appetite is a bit patchy, take a good multivitamin. Juices and smoothies can also really help when your appetite isn’t there, as well as these easy recipes. Your brain and body function on the nutrients you give it- let them thrive!
I hope these tips help you in some way. I know how terrible Brain Fog can feel and how much of a step back you think you’ve taken when you’re feeling like this. Know this this is your body’s way of healing and respect what it’s telling you. Once you accept this, you Brain Fog will lift as quickly as it arrived.
Love and lucidity,
Sounds like me on a good day
Aww, bless you my darling- sending you lots of love xx
Just stumbled upon your blog and it’s just what I needed! Thank you Funnily enough I saw an endocrinologist 2 days ago who just suggested I drink more coffee to get through the afternoons at work. Needless to say I won’t be rolling with that recommendation, ha!
Hhhhm, yes- maybe not Fran! xx
WOW have just stumbled upon your blog and it has lifted me no end,thank you so much for listing just how I feel lately. Wonderful blog
Thank you so much Sam- great to have you here! x
Dear Katie a friend of mine sent me the link to your blog, I’m sooo glad she did. When I have brain fog it’s embarrassing, someone will ask me something and I just stand and look at them frantically trying to find the words I need. It’s great to find someone talking sense who really understands the way M.E. Steals so much. I look forward to reading more from you, you are a beautiful soul.
Linda, welcome to the blog my darling! I hope you find some things that resonate with you.
Yes, brain fog can be terribly embarrassing. I always used to start off sentences, but couldn’t remember the words to finish them. After a while, you come to realise that a sense of humour can sometimes be a great thing!
Thanks beautiful and welcome again- xx
Thanks so much for sharing this! I regularly experience brain fog and it can really slow me down.
I’m sorry to hear this Nicola- yes, brain fog can be really frustrating! xx
So glad I found your blog! Law of attraction I’m struggling with brain fog today
Sending you lots of love, Jennifer- brain fog is incredibly frustrating. Be gentle with yourself- xx
Thank you Katie. I found Louise Hay’s videos on YouTube. Getting me through my rough patch. xo
THANK YOU So Much for sharing this! It’s such a relief to find out I’m not really just stupid!
There’s no way I’ll ever be able to express with words how much I appreciate your articles, it’s pure gold, my friend! I think you’re an angel cause you’re really helping so many people around the world feeling more informed and less lonely and misunderstood. YAY YOU!!
Awww, thank you Simona- you’re such an angel! No, you’re definitely not stupid, although I remember feeling very stupid myself when I had CFS.
Glad you’re here, my love- xx
Superb post! I’m a sub-editor so having brain fog is having a huge impact on my job but I’ll take your tips on board! Thank you for this!
No worries, Luke- I can imagine that brain fog doesn’t help with your job!
For me , my brain fog is due to depression and I am getting better now enshalla
So pleased to hear this, Hişam- thank you.
Try Magtein. This is a magnesium which can be absorbed into the brain. It will help lessen the brain fog. Take 2-3 tablets on empty stomach before bed. After sometime, you may be able to drop down to one table for maintenance. You will notice the difference if you stop taking it.
Thanks for the suggestions, Prioris- as I mention here, I’m a big magnesium fan too!
I find truth in this blog. I have been doing Naturopathy for years and most of my clients who complained about “brain fogs” suffers from poor diets and lack of sleep which in turn would worsen especially when they are doing tasks at work. I usually tell them to eat more healthy foods lessen oily or fatty foods. I also encourage them to meditate and get heaps of a relaxing massage whenever they can.
Nice work Katie on this article.
Thanks so much, Priya! x
I think brain fog is the symptom I find the most frustrating and difficult to get my head round. I can cope with physical pain and fatigue to a certain extent, but a really bad foggy head day makes me feel so down, hopeless and sometimes depressed. I am slowly learning how to ride out the bad days and cling on to the feeling that good days are ahead. Your blog is such a positive and helpful place – we need more CFS blogs like this!!
Thank you, Victoria- you’re so kind! I think brain fog is the symptom that knocks your confidence the most- it always made me feel like I’d lost a few IQ points. Not a nice feeling!
Brain fog day was very hard concept for me to implement. I thought about it many times before too but often it is hard to let go. The longer you suffer from condition like Chronic Fatigue there more guilts you feel and the more intense you want to hold on to whatever control you can grab. 10 years ago I had mild signs of Chronic Fatigue and it actually got worst after I graduated from University. It got worst because I started drinking coffee instead of carrying a large bottle of water around like I used to as a student, and started using computer everyday which made me sleep very erratically because of the blue spectrum light emitting from the screen.
Now I am much better as I work on my sleep apnea, filter out the blue light from screens at night, drink water, green vegetable broth, cut coffee, cut sugar, and on multiple vitamins in the form of Cod liver Oil, B-complex liquid, Butter oil (vitamin k2)
Good for you, Steve- it sounds like you’ve made some real progress.
This has been really helpful and I thank you so much for starting this blog. Just found it and find so many criteria apply to me so its nice to find others that can put into words the way I feel
Thanks for your work!
Thank you for reading, JB- welcome to the blog!
I definitely agree that getting enough sleep is crucial to brain function. My sister has the hardest time recognizing this, and she’s working two jobs and attending school full time! She gets about two hours of sleep each night, and I think she’s starting to feel it affect her ability to function mentally. I’ll have to show her this to see if it helps her!
My goodness, I’m not too sure if I’d be able to function on two hours sleep!
Thanks for your comment, Georgia- x
I am so glad I happened upon your page! I describe my brain fog like as if the is a heavy wet blanket covering my brain, weighing it down smothering it. Thanks for the tips!
That’s a pretty good description, Jessy! Hope you’re as well as possible, lovely one- xx