It’s a sad truth that many of us struggle to feel sufficiently energized and clear-minded, especially in the morning. This can be due to several factors. Age, stress, illness, mental exertion, or simply poor lifestyle habits leave us feeling drained and fatigued.
Whatever the root cause of your brain fog is, there’s a variety of tips and tricks that you can use to revitalize your mind and bring back mental clarity.
Although the tips listed here are valued for their naturally fast-acting results, it’s important to note that their true power lies in repetition. The act of physically creating a habit is part of what makes these mental-sharpening practices that much more effective.
If you can consistently commit to one or two of these healthy mental habits each morning, it will be much easier to maintain a sense of mental sharpness and clarity throughout your daily life.
Expose Yourself To Natural Light
Natural sunlight plays a critical role in the regulation of your circadian rhythm. Since the dawn of humankind, we have learned to wake up in response to the rising sun. Exposure to sunlight causes a spike of adrenalin and helps our bodies to naturally transition from being asleep to awake.
A 2022 study found that participants were happier and less sleepy when exposed to bright, warm light. Combat your morning mental fog by opening up your curtains as soon as possible, or gazing out the window for a minute or two. This should help kick-start your brain and get you feeling energized.
Play A Brain–Stimulating Game
The reason you feel cloudy and fatigued is usually because of an influx of sleep-promoting hormones or chemicals, such as melatonin. While melatonin is crucial for falling and staying asleepwaking up may require something to disrupt that restful state and introduce some stimulation.
Playing a brain-stimulating game such as Sudoku, crosswords, word games, or even a little bit of math forces your mind to think clearly and logically. Once you’ve applied your mind in this way, it will be a lot easier to feel focused and energized for the rest of your day.
Take A Cold Shower
Cold showers are great for both the mind and body. On a physical level, they increase circulation, reduce muscle tension, and promote glowing skin. Because of the circulatory boost, cold showers can also improve your oxygen intake and bring a swift onset of mental alertness.
Even a tepid or warm shower is likely to help you wake up your brain, no matter what time of the day. Some people even recommend taking cool showers before an exam or important task because of how quickly and effectively they can activate mental clarity.
Write Morning Pages
If you thought morning pages were just for angsty artists and poets, think again. There’s a reason why so many creatives swear by the act of writing stream-of-consciousness style journal entries at the beginning of the day, it’s because they are scientifically proven to boost mental activity.
Also referred to as “brain dumping”, writing morning pages is more about the process than the content. Just write whatever comes to mind, no matter how silly, moody, or uncoordinated it might read. The aim here is to get your mind thinking and reflecting in a constructive way.
Listen To Fast–Paced Or Classical Music
Throughout history, studies have shown that music can have a profound impact on our mental state. Sometimes called the “Mozart Effect”, listening to classical music, in particular, decreases stress levels and regulates circulation.
Fast-paced music such as rock, punk, or pop also has its merits, though. Your brain will do its best to synchronize with whatever sounds you’re feeding it, so listening to upbeat tunes can promote mental alertness and energy.
Nourish Your Body
The reason we consume food and water is so that we can convert them to energy for moving, thinking, and functioning at an optimal level. If you’re feeling fog-brained and low on energy, it might be due to a simple case of being under-nourished. Maybe your diet needs a reboot? Or perhaps you need to join the growing number of people taking supplements to boost their nutritional intake, well-being and immunity?.
Proper nutrition will give your body the tools it needs to feel stronger and more alive. Drinking enough water will do the same. Don’t forget that your body can only perform at its peak when these two fundamental boxes get ticked.
Engage In Mindful Movement
Exercise isn’t just beneficial for getting a good night’s sleep. it’s also one of the best ways you can start your day. Everything from light stretches to yoga to a full-on workout will wake up blood cells, send oxygen throughout your body and support your mind in becoming energized.
The term “mindful movement” simply means to move with mental presence and awareness. When you move mindfully, you exercise greater control and flow between different actions. This can help facilitate a stronger mind-body connection and give you a workout plus meditation in one go.
Work On An Incremental Skill
Are you a big crochet fan? A doodler? A linguist? Incorporate that into your waking-up routine. Whether you are knitting a scarf or learning how to speak Japanese, committing to a short burst of practice when you are trying to wake up will boost your mental energy and enhance your skill set at the same time.
Incremental spurts of practice for any skill are critical in the habit-forming process. Doing something that you are interested in and activates your mental state is a great habit that will continue giving numerous benefits over the course of your life.
Get Proper Sleep
Quality sleep not only makes you feel better and full of energy, but it is also key to how your brain functions. Your brain is in “go-mode” while you snooze the night away.
While you sleep, your brain is hard at work solidifying memories and what you’ve learned from the day. Sleep also allows your brain the time to remove waste products from your brain cells so you can think and not feel foggy the next day.
Sleep disorders or deprivation can impair the parts of your brain that control cognitive abilities and behavior. Science shows us through brain imaging technology just how much sleep matters to how we function daily.
During an fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging), the brain of an individual who sleeps normally will show normal metabolism and blood flow to multiple areas of the brain. An individual who is sleep-deprived will show reduced metabolism and blood flow to multiple areas of the brain.
These reductions in metabolism and blood flow have been linked to difficulty focusing, forgetfulness, lack of concentration, problem paying attention, short attention span, irritability, lack of impulse control, mood swings, depression, learning difficulties, and risky behavior.
Your brain truly depends on a good night’s rest so that you can function during your awake times. Your brain suffers greatly when you fail to get at least eight hours of sleep or if your sleep quality is poor from an undiagnosed sleep disorder.
While the ideas on this list may be quite different, they all share the same goal: to stimulate your mind or body. From exercise to punk music, whatever works for you, works for you.
Any practice that really activates or engages your brain is going to help you develop a stronger foundation for sustainable mental clarity that positively impacts multiple areas of your life.
Remember that quantity and quality of sleep can have a major impact on your health and well-being. If you are suffering from attention and memory deficits, it is critical to talk to your physician about whether a sleep disorders is the cause. We understand that if you aren’t sleeping well you aren’t learning and focusing well. Call one of our experts at the Alaska Sleep Clinic so you can get control of your sleep as well as your attention.