Overwhelmed Asian man rubbing his eyes under his glasses.

Brain fog is a general term that people use to describe a cluster of cognitive symptoms. It can manifest as struggles with focus, memory recollection, and reaction time. Some sufferers report more frequent episodes of losing their trains of thought or experiencing fatigue and a sense of “cloudiness.” It heavily impacts one’s executive function, which is the set of mental skills required for planning, organizing, and multitasking.

This phenomenon can make it harder to perform daily tasks and maintain a . Are you dealing with a persistent case of brain fog? Learn more about its causes and remedies, so you can figure out a game plan for clearing your mind. Here'sthe 101.

What Causes Brain Fog?

As debilitating as it is, brain fog isn't considered a medical condition or diagnosis in and of itself. Instead, most physicians regard it as a symptom of bigger issues, including chronic stress, anxiety, and certain illnesses. Sometimes, you can even develop it because of jet lag or hormonal changes. Here are a few of its potential causes and associated conditions.

1. Nutrient deficiencies can affect brain function.

Certain nutrients are more critical for brain function than others. These include vitamins B12 and D, iron, and magnesium. For example: in some cases, vitamin B12 deficiency can cause confusion and memory troubles. Meanwhile, iron deficiency is a common cause of microcytic anemia. It can also lead to neurological symptoms, like fatigue and dizziness.

2. Chronic stress and sleep deprivation cloud the mind.

It's no secret that lack of sleep and can impact your ability to think clearly. According to neuropsychologist Dr. Krishnan of the Cleveland Clinic, “Chronic stress can have secondary effects. It impacts your sleep, your nutrition, and your physical ability. Those secondary issues can lead to or be associated with psychiatric disorders.”

3. Mental health conditions worsen brain fog.

Dealing with depression and anxiety can drain your mental resources. Someone with these conditions can have trouble concentrating on anything other than their ever-swirling thoughts. As a result, they can feel foggy and fatigued. These conditions can also affect one’s sleep and , which further aggravates brain fog symptoms.

4.COVID-19 may have lingering effects.

Brain fog has also been heavily associated with “long COVID” symptoms. In an article for Harvard Health, Dr. Andrew E. Budson explains how COVID-19 affects the brain. “[Some] effects may be more subtle, such as the persistent impairment in sustained attention noted by Chinese researchers. [...] Damage to [certain organs] can impair thinking and memory.”

How Do You Clear Brain Fog?

Unfortunately, there’s no universal remedy for brain fog. Not everyone who experiences it suffers from the same underlying conditions. However, a few tweaks to your personal routine can help put you on a path to a sharper and more focused headspace.

1. Get better quality sleep.

Make it easier to go into by establishing a consistent ritual around your bedtime. Stick to a schedule, create a relaxing environment, and avoid stimulating distractions – especially screens. Electronic devices like phones and laptops emit blue light, which can interfere with your sleep-wake cycle. Leave them across the room an hour before tucking yourself in to lessen the temptation to mindlessly scroll.

2. Exercise regularly.

promotes blood flow and the release of endorphins (a.k.a. happy hormones), which can improve cognitive function and mood while relieving stress.

You can even pair your workout with a cold shower to boost alertness. Want to increase your chances of making it to the gym? Have a men's personal hygiene kit ready to go. It'll serve as a reminder to show up for yourself every day.

Made-for-men bath and shower products are no longer limited to 3-in-1 concoctions. Try the CLEAR Cool Sport Menthol Anti-Dandruff Shampoo for Men for a change: it thoroughly removes grime, grease, and dandruff while cooling your scalp with uber-fresh menthol.

3. Eat a balanced diet.

Now that you know how essential some nutrients contribute to proper brain function, be diligent about . Fill up on B12 with poultry, eggs, and dairy. Eat fatty fish for a vitamin D boost. Red meat, legumes, and dark leafy greens are a few sources of iron. As for magnesium, get it through nuts and seeds, whole grains, and certain fruits.

4. Engage in mindful self-care.

promotes overall well-being by decreasing stress. And, no, you don't have to book a vacation to feel like you're taking care of yourself. Sometimes, it can be as simple as practicing daily hygiene tasks as an opportunity to recharge.

Start by changing your mindset: For example, skincare for men doesn't have to be all about efficiency. Invest in products that make self-grooming less like a chore, such as the POND'S Men Facial Wash Energy Charge. With invigorating , it’s the pick-me-up you never knew your skin needed!

5. Seek professional help.

Most people will have bouts of brain fog now and again. It's not usually a cause for alarm, especially if a few lifestyle changes prove effective at remedying it. However, if your symptoms persist for weeks or months, or make it extremely difficult to live your life, don't be afraid to see a medical professional. There's no shame in seeking help, especially for your health.

Dealing with brain fog can be tough and worrying, but there's no shortage of ways to tackle it and regain mental clarity. Start by prioritizing sleep, exercise, and getting your fill of brain-boosting nutrients. Remember to carve out time for self-care. And if your brain fog starts to impact your life in troubling ways, find a doctor to help you get to the root of the issue.