Migraine Symptoms: Brain Fog

Written by Jessica Puterbaugh | May 9, 2022

Brain fog is another common and often debilitating migraine symptom. Like fatigue, brain fog can occur at any phase of a migraine attack. In the prodrome and aura phases, brain fog can be an early warning sign that an attack is beginning. It can last through the attack stage and continue on through the postdrome phase, lasting for hours or even days. In fact, some people experience varying levels of brain fog all the time. Brain fog is a challenging and invisible migraine symptom.

What does brain fog feel like?

Brain fog varies in intensity and can feel both mental and physical. You may feel distracted, and/or have difficulty concentrating or focusing. It can be hard to think clearly. Recalling thoughts or words can be difficult, and it can cause temporary memory loss. You may feel a general feeling of fogginess, cloudiness or malaise. Brain fog can make you feel weak or low energy and sometimes can resemble feelings of fatigue.

Managing Brain Fog

Like most migraine symptoms, brain fog can be a sign of other conditions besides migraine, so it’s important to discuss it with your doctor, especially if it is significantly impacting your life.

Common migraine comorbidities which also cause brain fog include:

  • Thyroid disorders
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Vitamin deficiencies
  • Sleep disorders
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Depression/Anxiety
  • Lupus
  • Hormone imbalances

Learning to cope with brain fog can be difficult, but there are some things you can do to make life more manageable.

1. Talk about it

Brain fog is a very difficult symptom as it can make it hard to do the simplest of tasks. Furthermore, it can be alarming and embarrassing to not be able to recall words or phrases. Explaining what you’re feeling to your family, friends and coworkers will help you feel less anxious and will give the people in your life a better understanding of what is going on and how to best support you.
Two women sitting on couch talking

2. Medications

Preventing migraine symptoms with migraine medications, both preventive and abortive, may help to alleviate or lessen brain fog. If your migraine are not well-controlled then it may be time to look at our Migraine Treatment Toolbox to see what treatment options are available, and then have a conversation with your doctor about it.

3. Migraine Devices

At the onset of brain fog symptoms, try using an FDA-cleared medical device for migraine. Brain fog is often one of the earliest warning signs that a migraine attack is starting and using a medical device specifically designed for migraine may help to stop or lighten the attack. You can also talk to your doctor about adding a device which is FDA-cleared for preventive treatment to see if that helps.

4. Exercise

Moving your body can be a powerful way to manage brain fog and enhance mental clarity. You can read more about the many benefits of exercise and tips for getting moving here. It can be really hard to get moving when it feels like you are fighting against your brain, but doing so can make a huge difference.

5. Diet

Eat regularly and don’t skip meals. Keeping your blood sugar levels in check is important for healthy brain function. Choose brain-healthy foods such as those discussed here.

6. Hydrate

Dehydration can make brain fog symptoms even worse. Make sure you’re drinking enough clear liquids throughout the day.
woman cutting fruits and vegetables

7. Sleep

Be sure to get enough sleep and rest when you need to. That also means taking a nap if you need to during the day. Pushing through is often not the best thing to do when trying to manage this migraine symptom. Read more about good sleep hygiene and get tips on improving the quality of your sleep here.

8. Supplements

Talk with your doctor about whether or not supplements may help ease your brain fog symptoms and whether they are appropriate for you given your personal health history. Common supplements for mental clarity include:

  • Vitamin B (B2, B6, B12)
  • L-theanine
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin D
  • Ginkgo Biloba
  • Omega-3s
  • Turmeric
  • Ginseng

NOTE: Be sure to talk with your doctor first as supplements can interact with other conditions and/or medications.

Tell us! Do you experience brain fog? If so, what does it feel like for you, and have you found any ways to help manage this difficult symptom?


  1. Anu on April 18, 2024 at 11:24 am

    My Husband who is in his late 40’s, started to show different symptoms like slurred speech, brain fog(what happens last night doesn’t remember by next day), cleaning things multiple times, overly talking and fatigue, sleepy etc. We recently had his yearly physicals done ( he has little high Cholestrol issue which 248 which should be <200 overall). We didn't get his Thyroid check done, thinking may be we should. We found that some days he is normal and some days very much of the above symptoms and looks like he is a drunk person. Also we recently figured whenever he doesn't have breakfast he is crashing right at 3pm until next day. So I am making sure he is getting good protein breakfast and seeing small differences. Please suggest what health issue it could be. Also we wanted to bring it up in the yearly physicals but they charge so much for anything out of normal, so we didn;t bring it up with the Dr during physicals but I sent him a message on My chart online.

  2. Robert Wagner on April 13, 2024 at 12:38 pm

    After sinus surgery, I developed brain fog . It has be 4 months and I still have the cognitive and foggy feeling.
    I was told that it could take a year to go away or never go away.

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