Understanding Fatigue & Mental Fog | Botanic Tonics

Understanding Fatigue & Mental Fog | Botanic Tonics

Reviewed by Jamal Bouie

Understanding Fatigue & Mental Fog

Do you ever wake up feeling exhausted? Like no matter how much rest and sleep you get, you can’t focus on your responsibilities—or on anything, for that matter?

If so, you may be struggling with fatigue and mental fog. And you’re not alone. 

Just over 20% of adults report suffering from fatigue,[1] while 600 million people around the world struggle with the cognitive dysfunction typical of mental fog.[2]

Luckily, you don’t have to feel isolated in your foggy brain. If you’re tired of feeling tired, we might be able to help. We’ve put together this explainer on fatigue and mental fog to explain the difference between the two, the typical causes—and what you can do about them.

Fatigue and Mental Fog, Explained

Both fatigue and mental fog are not health conditions in and of themselves. Instead, these are symptoms that may be caused by an underlying problem.

Let’s explore these symptoms in more detail.

What is Fatigue?

Fatigue is defined as “extreme tiredness.”[3] It’s the feeling of being overtired, and it can make it hard to get out of bed and tackle the day’s tasks.

Of course, it’s natural to experience some fatigue; we all feel tired sometimes. But if you’re constantly feeling sluggish and sleepy, even after a long night of rest, you may be experiencing chronic fatigue.

What is Mental Fog?

Also called brain fog, mental fog is a feeling that your brain isn’t working at full capacity. Think of it as fatigue in your mind, or mental fatigue.

Unlike fatigue, “mental fog” is not a scientific or medical term. However, it’s often used to describe mental difficulties like:[4]

  • Confusion
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Forgetfulness
  • Dissociation
  • Cognitive “slowness”

Causes of Fatigue and Mental Fog

Fatigue and mental fog can make it challenging to excel in the office, at school, and in social situations. When your brain and body aren’t operating at peak performance, you can feel like you’re falling behind.

If you want to solve these issues, you need to understand where they’re coming from. That’s because, as we mentioned, these experiences are symptoms rather than medical conditions.

So, what are the root causes of fatigue and brain fog?

It’s not always easy to say. When you’re suffering from a tired and foggy brain, several possible causes could be at play. These might include:

A Lack of Sleep

Without enough sleep, your body can feel physically tired. You’ll also feel mental fatigue  with poor sleep habits, which may lead to classic brain fog symptoms like difficulty making decisions and poor concentration.[5]


One of the most common causes of mental fog and fatigue is stress. According to neuropsychologist Kamini Krishnan, PhD, brain fog may be the result of a chronic stress response.[6]

Essentially, when your brain is stressed out, it’s focusing on your stressors—not cognitive functions like memory, which in turn causing cognitive difficulties like memory loss.

Medication Side Effects

Both prescription and over-the-counter medications, including antihistamines, can cause mental fog during and after use.[7]

Additionally, some medical treatments can also contribute to fatigue and brain fog.[8] Patients undergoing chemotherapy for cancer report “chemo brain,” memory problems and brain fatigue related to the treatment. 

Medical Conditions

Certain diagnoses, such as anxiety, can lead to mental fog.[9] Anxiety takes up mental resources that should be devoted to regular brain functions, leading to cognitive difficulties like memory loss.

Hormonal Changes

Hormones affect how your body feels, so it makes sense that a change in your hormones can lead to unwanted effects on your cognitive functions.

In particular, hormonal “events” like pregnancy and menopause can often lead to brain fog. For example, pregnancy has been found to impact cognitive functions like memory and language skills.[10]

Five Tips for Addressing Fatigue and Improving Mental Focus

With so many potential causes, how are you ever supposed to erase your symptoms? Well, don’t give up hope yet.

The good news is there are just as many ways to conquer chronic fatigue and brain fog. With a few simple lifestyle changes, you may be able to kick that foggy feeling for good. Take a look at the following recommendations.

#1 Get More Sleep

When you don’t get enough sleep, you’ll feel it—physically and mentally. Waking up after a night of poor sleep can have you feeling foggy and out of sorts.

If you want to feel alert and at your best, you need to get the recommended hours of sleep. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the amount of sleep you need depends on your age; their suggestions are as follows:[11]

  • 13–18 years old – The CDC recommends 8–10 hours of sleep per 24 hours.
  • 18–60 years old – The CDC recommends 7+ hours of sleep per night.
  • 61–64 years old – The CDC recommends 7–9 hours of sleep per night.
  • 65+ years old – The CDC recommends 7–8 hours of sleep per night.

If you’re having trouble squeezing in enough sleep, consider creating a better sleep environment, going to bed earlier, and setting aside your devices before bed.[12] Having a consistent sleep schedule can also help. You might be surprised at how much better you feel in the morning.

#2 Use Natural Supplements

Sometimes, you need a little help reaching your wellness goals. Certain dietary supplements have been shown to address fatigue and brain fog—and they’re easier to find than you might think.

In your quest for supplements that help with fog and fatigue, we recommend looking for:

  • Kava – This plant from the South Pacific has long been used in ceremonies and rituals for its ability to elevate your mood and help with brain functions like focus.
  • Lion’s mane – This shaggy-looking edible mushroom is said to sharpen focus and is a mainstay in Chinese medicine.
  • Rhodiola – This Eurasian herb has traditionally been used as a treatment for mental fatigue. Rhodiola lowers cortisol, the hormone responsible for triggering your stress response to give your brain a break from worrying. See more in our guide: Does Rhodiola Lower Cortisol? 

You can find all these ingredients in a Botanic Tonics plant-based energy tonic.

Both products are also formulated with 100mg of caffeine per serving to help give you a boost of energy—without the crash that comes from sugary energy drinks. The caffeine in feel free® tonics and capsules is derived from the kola nut, a fruit that has long been chewed in West Africa for its stimulating properties.

Just one serving of a feel free® tonic or its capsule counterparts can bring about a calm, focused energy. As such, you may be able to reduce your mental fog by adding these plant-based powerhouses to your diet.

As always, talk to a healthcare professional before trying new dietary supplements.

#3 Switch Up Your Diet

As you probably already know, what you put into your body affects how you feel. This fact extends beyond supplements to include all food and drinks.

Certain foods, due to their nutritional content, may be able to give you some extra energy and mental clarity. Foods that may help you beat body and brain fatigue include:[13]

  • Almonds
  • Bananas
  • Chia seeds
  • Eggs
  • Kale
  • Oats
  • Spinach
  • Watermelon

Of course, no single vitamin or nutrient will help you power up your body—so don’t run out and buy four dozen eggs! No, the trick to kicking fatigue and brain fog through diet is to find balance.

Naturally, eating a balanced diet has all kinds of health benefits, and this extends to brain health, too. But when it comes to mental fog and fatigue, a balanced diet rich in whole foods and produce of varied colors can keep you feeling sharp.[14]

#4 Practice Mindfulness

As you’ll remember, one of the leading causes of brain fog and fatigue is stress. With that in mind, anything that can reduce stress should also reduce your fogginess. That’s where mindfulness comes in.

It’s true: Being mindful can be challenging when you’re plagued with brain fog symptoms. However, by actively focusing and relaxing, you can lower your overall stress levels and experience mental clarity.[15]

Here are some mindfulness activities to experiment with:

  • Meditation – Meditation is a practice that focuses your mind and body. You can try a few different meditation exercises, including body scans or walking meditation.[16]
  • Breathing exercises – Deep, intentional breaths can help you relax. Find a quiet place to sit and breathe, and watch your stress melt away.
  • Yoga – This ancient practice combines meditation and breathing with light stretching and exercise, making it an all-around winner for busting stress.

#5 Exercise Often

It may seem counterintuitive, but doing things that make you feel tired can help you feel less tired in the future.

Almost any form of exercise can relieve stress, which can help reduce that foggy feeling.[17] And exercise does more than impact stress levels.

Regular exercise—roughly five times per week—has been shown to greatly improve body and brain health, from feelings of fatigue, to energy levels and overall vitality.[18] In other words, if you break a sweat, you might break out of your fog.

Find Relief From Mental Fog and Fatigue with Botanic Tonics

Fatigue and brain fog are no joke. They can make it hard to get out of bed—and even harder to do anything once you’re up.

If that feeling resonates with you, we empathize. At Botanic Tonics, we know how hard it is to live your life when you’re not feeling your best.

That’s why we created our feel free® kava capsules and tonics. These products offer a natural alternative to run-of-the-mill brain fog and fatigue solutions. Instead of artificial chemicals, these products rely on plant-based ingredients—ingredients that have been used for centuries—to give you energy and focus.

For a more in-depth look at tackling a foggy mind, dive into our complete guide to natural remedies for brain fog. Try Botanic Tonics today, and lift the fog that’s blanketing your mind and body.


  1. National Center for Biotechnology Information. The demographic features of fatigue in the general population worldwide: a systematic review and meta-analysis. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10416797/
  2. CNBC. Brain fog? Why you may be struggling to think clearly — and how to beat it. https://www.cnbc.com/2021/05/31/why-you-may-be-struggling-with-brain-fog-and-how-to-beat-it.html
  3. Cleveland Clinic. Fatigue. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/symptoms/21206-fatigue
  4. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, & Psychiatry. What is brain fog? https://jnnp.bmj.com/content/94/4/321
  5. CNBC. MIT neuroscientist shares 4 things she never does to eliminate ‘brain fog and forgetfulness’. https://www.cnbc.com/2023/01/31/neuroscientist-how-to-avoid-brain-fog.html
  6. Cleveland Clinic. Strategies for Busting Up Brain Fog. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/brain-fog
  7. The New York Times. What Is Brain Fog and How Can I Treat It? https://www.nytimes.com/2022/09/13/well/mind/brain-fog-treatment.html
  8. American Cancer Society. Changes in Memory, Thinking, and Focus (Chemo Brain). https://www.cancer.org/cancer/managing-cancer/side-effects/changes-in-mood-or-thinking/chemo-brain.html
  9. Medical News Today. What to know about anxiety and brain fog. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/anxiety-and-brain-fog
  10. National Center for Biotechnology Information. The effect of pregnancy on maternal cognition. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8190150/
  11. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. How Much Sleep Do I Need? https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/about_sleep/how_much_sleep.html
  12. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Tips for Better Sleep. https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/about_sleep/sleep_hygiene.html
  13. Medical News Today. Can foods help fight fatigue? https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/foods-that-beat-fatigue
  14. CNBC. Harvard nutritionist lives by these 6 rules to keep her brain sharp and happy. https://www.cnbc.com/2023/12/26/harvard-nutritionist-ive-always-lived-by-these-6-food-rules-for-a-stronger-happier-brain.html
  15. American Psychological Association. Mindfulness meditation: A research-proven way to reduce stresshttps://www.apa.org/topics/mindfulness/meditation
  16. Mayo Clinic. Mindfulness exercises. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/consumer-health/in-depth/mindfulness-exercises/art-20046356
  17. Mayo Clinic. Exercise and stress: Get moving to manage stress. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/exercise-and-stress/art-20044469
  18. National Center for Biotechnology Information. The Effect of Chronic Exercise on Energy and Fatigue States: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Trials. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9206544/

About The Author

Jamal Bouie Botanic Tonic

Jamal Bouie

Jamal Bouie is an accomplished professional with a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry from Lemoyne-Owen College in Memphis. Currently, he is pursuing his PhD in Biomedicine at Salus University. Jamal has worked in several industries; he began his career in pharmaceutical manufacturing and transitioned to the cannabis industry, where he specialized in analytical testing and manufacturing, playing a vital role in ensuring product safety and compliance. Now, Jamal has turned his attention to the dietary supplement field, combining his scientific acumen with his passion for health and wellness.

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