Six Ways to Beat Back Brain Fog

yawning_catMaybe you’ve nodded off during a meeting or fallen asleep at your desk. And maybe you’ve even done it more than once. Or you might just suffer from reduced concentration, and have trouble learning new things and finding the right words. In any case, your work performance is definitely being affected.

Even though you might not get fired for your offenses (co-workers may have been too nice and/or embarrassed to mention them at all), there’s a good chance that the office gossips are keeping the memories alive for you. So instead of letting a reputation as a lazy layabout silently haunt you as you sleepily climb the corporate ladder, here are six ways to stay sharp and alert all day.

Fix it now

  1. Sit wisely and stand often. Whether or not you have a standing desk, you’re going to have to sit sometimes. Sitting can drag you down mentally as well as physically, so aim for optimal posture. Adjust your chair so that your knees are at 90-degree angles and your feet are flat on the floor. And yes, we all know it, but don’t forget how a little sunlight and fresh air can elevate your mood, so get outside and save lunch at your desk for a rainy day.
  2. Get your energy circulating. Recharge with a little above-the-shoulder workout. Make neck circles. Firmly press the pads of your fingers against your scalp and massage your scalp in circular motions. Tap on your jaw joints. Massage your ears between your thumb and index finger. Holistic practitioners often use the scalp or ear to treat the entire body—next time you’re at your acupuncturist, ask about ear seeds to amp up your self-massage.
  3. Okay, have some coffee. Though probably not the best choice, there’s no doubt that caffeine can get you going again. So if you indulge, at least have something on your stomach to cushion the blow. Eating something with your latte is easier on your digestion, allowing your body to absorb the caffeine more evenly. And take it easy on the iced coffee—that can be a shock to anyone’s system.

Lifestyle changes

If brain fog rolls in as often as the mists of San Francisco, you probably need to make some long-term changes.

  1. Add on a half-hour of sleep. The closer you get to 8 hours of sleep, the better your brain is going to function. Going to bed 15 minutes earlier and getting up 15 minutes later is an easy way to add an extra 30 minutes to your resting time.
  2. Look into smart drugs. Also known as nootropics, these substances enhance focus, learning, and memory. From tyrosine, to piracetam, to modanifil, there are a number of different types, all which require self-assessment and adjustment. This can be quite the deep rabbit-hole, so look to your healthcare provider or vocal proponents like Dave Asprey for advice and guidance.
  3. Get checked for blood imbalances. From thyroid hormone imbalance, to high blood sugar, to wonky cortisol levels, there are a number of indicators in the blood that can help you pinpoint the exact cause of your lack of mental clarity.

In an age of smartphones and binge-watching, it’s easier than ever to slide into sleep deprivation—but thankfully, it’s almost as easy to get yourself out. Let these guidelines act as a wake-up call; each step you take is one step closer to being the sharpest person in the office.

The posts on this blog are for information only, and are not intended to substitute for a doctor-patient or other healthcare professional-patient relationship nor do they constitute medical or healthcare advice of any kind. Any information in these posts should not be acted upon without consideration of primary source material and professional input from one's own healthcare professionals.