Sleep, stress or hormones?Perimenopausal brain fog-Harvard University Health Blog


People usually think of irregular periods and hot flashes when they think of menopause. But some women may notice another symptom: brain fog.

You are reading a letter and suddenly realize that your thoughts have drifted and you need to start again. Or, when you want to remember someone’s name, or when you stand in a room by yourself and want to know what you are going to get there, you can draw a blank.

The good news is that these small cognitive errors may not be anything you need to worry about in the long term.

Sleep disturbances and stress may be part of brain fog

The time when you are inattentive and a little forgetful may not only be due to hormonal changes. Sleep quality may be related to night sweats during the perimenopausal period, and it can certainly play a role. At this stage of life, sometimes accompanied by increasing stress, it may also make you feel tired and distracted. These factors can interfere with concentration and memory.

Lack of sleep can make you feel cranky and sluggish. This may be why you forgot her name: when she first told you her name, you did not pay enough attention.

Stress can divorce your thoughts from the task, which has a similar effect because you are fully focused and worried about other things.

What can you do to reduce the fog?

If it sounds like you, there are steps you can take to help eliminate the fog and re-engage your brain.

  • slower. Train yourself to recognize when you are distracted, and take time to breathe and refocus on the task at hand. If you have just acquired some new information, try to find a quiet moment where your brain has the opportunity to process the knowledge learned.
  • Deal with stress. Using meditation or other stress-reducing strategies can also help you relax and show more. This can help you absorb new information and call it more easily.
  • Exercise regularly. Physical exercise is not only good for your body, but also good for your mind. A study found that moderate-intensity exercise for only three days a week seems to increase the size of the hippocampus, which is a part of the brain involved in memory and learning.
  • Improve your sleep habits. If your sleep quality is poor, please continue Strategies that can help you rest more at night. Improve sleep hygiene by making changes, such as approaching electronic devices before going to bed and establishing a regular sleep schedule. If your family strategy does not solve the problem, please consult your doctor.
  • Use memory techniques. When studying for exams in school, have you ever used small tricks to remember things? Those same psychological cheatings can now also help you. For example, make a mnemonic or rhyme to help you recall the information. Or try to use visual or verbal cues. Repeating information or instructions to yourself or others is another way to help the brain store information more efficiently.

Know when to ask for help

There is no need to worry about most small memory loss. If changes due to perimenopause (including irregular periods, sleep difficulties due to night sweats or brain fog) bother you, talk to your doctor about possible solutions.

It is also important to call the doctor if the following situations occur

  • Sudden changes in memory, or with hallucinations, delusions or delusions
  • Insufficient memory may endanger your safety, such as affecting driving or forgetting to cook on the stove.


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