Having a bit of trouble remembering that address you needed? Or maybe you can’t remember if you already paid the electricity bill. What you’re experiencing might actually be brain fog. Brain fog is a common and very tedious symptom of menopause that can spring up when you least expect it. And no, brain fog does not mean literal precipitation passing through your brain, though it might feel like it at times.
Is Brain Fog A Real Thing?
The short answer is yes. Brain fog is indeed a real thing, and it usually starts to affect you in the perimenopause stage right before your period stops with menopause. With brain fog, you may have issues concentrating or feel like you just can’t remember things like you used to. Now, if you’re anything like us, you’re probably wondering, how in the world can I fix this or get rid of it altogether?
Well, in terms of banishing brain fog, we wish it could be as simple as clicking our red heels together and saying “Brain fog be gone.” Although we’re not wizards, and we’re not exactly in Kansas, we’ve still got a few tips up our sleeve when it comes to banishing this fog. So keep reading to find out what you can do to get to clearer skies.
#1 Get Enough Sleep To Avoid Brain Fog
We’re not going to complain about this one. Who doesn’t like getting a few extra zzzs? Lack of sleep can leave you cranky and forgetful. This is a great reason to get some extra beauty sleep. Try for a full 7-8 hours of sleep and see if it makes a difference with your memory and brain fog. We won’t tell if you want to go a little overboard, too.
#2 Exercise Your Body And Mind
Exercising the mind seems like a given if you want to fight this fog. You can keep your mind nice and strong by doing crossword puzzles, reading your favorite book, and maybe even trying an instrument like the piano. But, moving your body can help your brain too. Believe it or not, research has shown that exercising can help clear up menopausal brain fog. So call a girlfriend, hit the gym, and get those endorphins pumping because that fog is not going to work itself off on its own!
#3 Drink A Glass Or Two Of Red Wine
WAIT, WHAT? We’re running to the grocery store for our favorite bottle of red after typing this. You know, for preventative reasons. Research shows that red wine contains resveratrol, which keeps free radicals from damaging brain cells and causing trouble to the mind. Drinking more than the recommended amount can have the opposite effect and inhibit you, so just be sure to remember the cutoff limit. If you’re not much of a drinker, check out turmeric. This mighty spice may help with brain fog, as it’s packed with antioxidants.
#4 Keep A Cool Head
If you’re suffering from hot flashes , then you may be even more susceptible to brain fog. One study found that hot flashes might be associated with a loss of verbal memory or forgetting certain words and their meanings. So, whenever you feel a hot flash coming on, we’d recommend finding a way to manage your symptoms immediately. Grab your fan, a nice glass of ice water, crank up the AC and take a moment to rest, and let the moment pass. By keeping a cool head, you’re keeping your mind at ease, too.
#5 Don’t Stress It
It’s easier said than done, but when you keep your stress levels down, you’re helping your brain. When you stress out, your body releases cortisol, which can harm the part of the brain that is responsible for memory. So if you need another reason to not stress out, remember the effects that it can now have on one of the most important tools in your toolbox (i.e., your brain). Want to de-stress? Run a nice bath, eat some chocolate, meditate, and refer to tip number 3 on this blog. You know, for health reasons, obviously.
Banishing Brain Fog 101
Brain fog is one of those symptoms of menopause that we tend to forget about. We’re more focused on hot flashes, the huge change that comes over our bodies, and the emotional aspect, too. But brain fog is, unfortunately, more common than you think. Fortunately, there’s a lot of research being done on this pesky little symptom, and a bunch of new tips on how to handle this fog are being introduced all the time.
By Jessica Thomas, MPH