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Having brain fog or feeling like your memory is slipping when you’re in your 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, or even in your 80s is common, but it’s not normal. If you live to the age of 85, you have a nearly 50% chance of being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. Taking action early to reduce the risk factors that contribute to dementia can help you reduce symptoms of cognitive dysfunction. Before we dive into details, it’s important to note that “brain fog” isn’t an official medical term, nor is there a test or measurement for it. Rather, it’s a loose term used to describe chronic mental fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and cognitive dysfunction. It is not a disease, but rather a reaction to specific circumstances (which we’ll explore later).

  • Multiple sclerosis is a chronic inflammatory disease where lesions on the central nervous system can affect motor function, emotions, cognition, or how clearly you think.
  • Many people may experience the occasional bout of brain fog if they haven’t slept well, or if they have allergies and have taken antihistamine medication, for instance.
  • Hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis can lead to hormone imbalances.
  • So it seems as you first enter menopause, you may feel more brain fog.

When you’re confused, you’ll likely have a hard time focusing and making decisions. You may also feel disoriented, lost, and unable to turn thoughts into words. You may not hear someone when they talk to you or notice traffic when crossing the street.

Causes of Brain Fog

You may feel confused or disorganized or find it hard to focus or put your thoughts into words. When you have chronic fatigue syndrome, you’re more than a bit sleepy. You’ll feel an ongoing sense of tiredness that interferes with your day-to-day life. No matter how much you sleep, you won’t shake this feeling of exhaustion. You should not ignore your symptoms because if left untreated, brain fog can impact the quality of your life. Once the underlying cause is addressed, your mental clarity can improve.

  • In the following sections, we’ll explore the symptoms, causes, and solutions for brain fog.
  • We look at the results of each patient’s functional Neurocognitive Imaging scan (fNCI) — a test that can show concussion dysfunction — to design a treatment plan for that individual’s specific areas of injury.
  • Other patients adapt their lifestyles to try to avoid anything that triggers their brain fog.
  • This is a condition doctors call postural tachycardia syndrome (POTS).

Is there someone who can do the shopping and cooking for you? Maybe cooking in bulk and freezing individual meals could help you through the rougher days. You don’t need to be told that good nutrition is necessary for good health.

How to Help Young Adults Struggling With Mental Health Issues

Get helpful tips and guidance for everything from fighting inflammation to finding the best diets for weight loss…from exercises to build a stronger core to advice on treating cataracts. PLUS, the latest mush brain news on medical advances and breakthroughs from Harvard Medical School experts. An underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) can lead to weight gain, sluggishness, and depression, according to the NIDDK.

What to do when your brain is mush?

  1. Do less. If you are exhausted and mushy-brained, it is a clear sign you are doing too much.
  2. Do one thing at a time.
  3. Take time out for some mindfulness.
  4. Take a break.
  5. Prioritise sleep.
  6. See your doctor.
  7. Ask for help.

Brain fog may get worse during multiple sclerosis flares and can be exacerbated by heat on a hot day, in a hot room, or when you have a fever, Costello said. “It’s not that games can’t challenge your brain, but if you play the same games all the time, you figure them out. You can anticipate what comes next and your brain is less engaged,” says Dr. Shinto.

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Note that hitting the snooze button once your alarm goes off won’t make you feel more rested, but instead increases the likelihood of you falling asleep, only to be disrupted again. In the case of blue light exposure close to bedtime, the blue wavelengths decrease the hormone melatonin that is essential for deep REM sleep. Both REM and non REM sleep is required to consolidate and process memories from the day. During the hours of 10pm and 2am is when your body and brain detoxify the most, so remaining in an active state during this time disrupts the body’s natural detoxification process and can contribute to fogginess. Our patients show an average of 75% improvement in brain function as measured by their before and after fNCI scans.

You lose concentration, and the world seems like it’s moving faster than you can keep up with. According to Dow, when it comes to the brain, the phrase “use it or lose it” really rings true. So turn off the mind-numbing TV for an hour and play some solitaire, do a crossword, or play a brain game (preferably one with a memory element) instead. Even learning something new—as long as it’s engaging and not stressful—can give your brain a much-needed tune-up. Many women find it’s harder to remember things during pregnancy. Carrying a baby can change your body in lots of ways, and chemicals released to protect and nourish your baby may bring on memory problems.