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Finding yourself struggling to focus and organise your thoughts? You may be experiencing brain fog, a symptom used to describe a general feeling of confusion, lack of focus, forgetfulness and loss of mental clarity. Although brain fog itself is not a medical condition, it can be a symptom experienced by people suffering from chronic pain or fatigue, mental health challenges, or simply stress or sleep challenges. We’ve outlined our top 5 tips for a foggy brain below, to help you combat these symptoms and feel 100% again!
1. Prioritise Sleep
Ideally, people need 7-9 hours of sleep a night for their brains to function well. If you’re finding it hard to reach this, you may need to look at your day-to-day life to identify what could get in the way of lengthy, quality sleep. You could try avoiding caffeine from midday onwards or putting your phone and computer away an hour before bedtime.
Although alcohol can help some people with falling asleep, it may be causing you to wake during the night, so you could try avoiding alcohol for a time if this is your challenge.
You also want to create a restful sleep environment that encourages your body to relax and be ready for sleep by making your bedroom cool, dark and quiet. A sleep schedule could also help you get better sleep — get up at the same time each day, and go to bed at the same time each day.
2. Move Your Body
You may just need to schedule a daily 30-minute walk around the block to combat your brain fog. Exercise can help reduce physical pain, increase blood flow to the brain, and improve cognitive function. It helps the body to re-energise itself and releases adrenaline in a healthy way. When this energy and adrenaline combine in our brains, our memory is enhanced.
If stress is another contributing factor to your brain fog, exercise has been proven to reduce the number of stress hormone receptors in the brain, meaning it lowers the impact of stress.
Exercise doesn’t need to be high-impact — you could try to help your brain with walking, tai chi, swimming, or yoga.
If you are struggling with chronic pain, exercise may not be the best option for you, so speak with a doctor about what your best options might be.
3. Manage Stress Levels
Stress causes our body to release cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones make our heart rate increase, which makes us more alert. This can make it difficult to fall asleep, which leads us back to point one about how important a good night’s rest is for beating brain fog.
Try to identify what the source of your stress is — is it just temporary stress related to work or are you dealing with chronic stress? If you’re having trouble identifying the source of your stress or dealing with chronic stress, therapy may assist you in managing your stress. Our doctors can also advise you if medicinal cannabis may help you with stress management. Other things you can do to try to manage your stress levels include meditation, spending time doing things you enjoy, catching up with friends and family, and eating a healthy diet.
4. Focus On One Thing At A Time
Life can be demanding. You may be stretched between work, family, chores, community responsibilities, and more. It can be tempting to try to do multiple things at once or go between different tasks on your to-do list quickly to try to get tasks completed or to avoid completing other tasks. Unfortunately, this means you’re constantly having to refocus on each task as you switch, and you actually end up achieving less when multitasking than you could if you had picked one thing to focus on one at a time.
One suggestion is to create a list divided into three sections, ‘to do’, ‘doing’ and ‘completed’. You can use sticky notes to write each task down and move them along the chart as you go. By keeping only one or two tasks in the ‘doing’ column at a time, you’ll find focusing on that task comes easier.
5. Talk With Your Doctor
If you’re continuing to experience brain fog after following our recommendations above, we’d advise you to speak with your doctor about the symptoms you’re experiencing. Brain fog can also be due to medications you may be on, or perhaps there is an underlying issue that needs treating.
We also encourage you to reach out to us to see if medicinal cannabis may be a suitable treatment option for you. Recent research has indicated that cannabinoid compounds produce an anti-inflammatory and anti-stress response in the brain, helping combat brain fog. Research has also indicated cannabinoids may improve brain function, and relax the mind and body. Stress and anxiety can contribute to experiencing brain fog, so the benefits of medicinal cannabis align with combating those factors.
If this is an option you’re considering, our team of health professionals will help you on your journey to better health and well-being. Book an appointment with one of our experienced doctors to discuss whether medicinal cannabis is right for your medical journey.
Are there any natural remedies or lifestyle changes that can help combat brain fog?
Yes, prioritising sleep, exercising regularly, managing stress levels, and focusing on one task at a time can all be natural remedies for brain fog.
Can medicinal cannabis be an effective treatment for brain fog, and how does it work?
Medicinal cannabis has shown potential as a treatment for brain fog due to its anti-inflammatory and anti-stress effects on the brain, as well as its ability to improve brain function and promote relaxation.
Disclaimer – medicinal cannabis and CBD oil are unapproved medicines in NZ which means that there is no conclusive evidence for their effect, apart from Sativex. Many doctors do not routinely prescribe cannabis medicines. The above article was written for general educational purposes and does not intend to suggest that medicinal cannabis can be used to treat any health condition. Please consult with your healthcare provider.