Let's be honest; most of us stopped being able to recall what day it is with any great deal of accuracy somewhere around March 15, 2020. At the same time that many of the traditional markers that give form to the weeks and months of our life have been stripped away, our brains are contending with an exponential increase of content, force-fed to us by increasingly pushy devices. The common use of responding with "100%!" when we agree with someone or complaining that we don't have the "bandwidth" is just more proof that our metamorphosis into half-man, half-machine has commenced. But technology and monotony are not the only factors behind brain fog. Read on to identify some common causes and learn how to banish it for good. As always, talk to your doctor on the off chance your hazy shade of winter stems from a more serious issue.
Nothing allows brain fog to blow in faster than a lack of sleep. Fatigue disrupts the conversation our normally chatty brain cells engage in, causing a lag in our neurons' ability to translate visual input into conscious thought. Ensure your brain cells keep riffing by banking seven to nine hours of sleep each night. Need some help in getting there? Promising studies suggest Reishi might help increase sleep time while magnesium glycinate can help regulate melanin production and has been found to improve sleep quality.
Chances are you're experiencing more stress than usual these days. While stress can improve our concentration for a short time (thanks to an extra dose of adrenaline pumped into our bloodstream,) it's a losing game. During stress, the limbic system, the part of our brain that acts as the dispatcher for reactions and feelings, goes into overdrive, overriding the part of our brain that normally calls the shots. This can make it difficult to focus and control our impulses, as well as cause inflammation. For a one-two punch, try Lion's Mane, which, in addition to reducing inflammation, has been shown to lessen symptoms of anxiety and depression in mice and improve the functioning of the hippocampus (the area of the brain which processes emotions and memories.) And don't forget about meditation! A meta-analysis of over 200 studies concluded that meditation is especially effective for reducing anxiety, depression, and stress.
Human beings are social animals who don't fare well when kept alone. A 2019 study of more than 11,000 people found that those who considered themselves increasingly socially isolated displayed an above-average decline in memory function within two years of being surveyed. And recently, researchers found that, for the first time, American baby boomers scored lower on a test of cognitive function than previous generations, with loneliness, as well as poor diet, lower wealth, and lack of physical activity, a likely culprit. Don't go against our very nature, reach out and connect with a real live human being. And when that's not possible, go into nature! Studies show spending time outdoors improves memory and attention and can improve mood.
If we want our brain to function at the top of its game, we've got to give it the fuel to do so. Several studies have found a link between a diet high in refined sugars and impaired cognitive function. Instead, reach for foods high in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, like fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats found in fish, avocados, and olive and coconut oils.
And for an added boost, try our organic mushroom lattes and chocolate bars. In addition to receiving the cognitive boosting properties of functional mushrooms, you’ll get a dose of caffeine without the jitters.