Staying hydrated is essential to our daily well-being. Water is directly related to how well our bodies and brains are able to function. The adult human body is over 60% water. Our brains are 73% water. And our muscles a whopping 79% water. Everything from our blood flow and body temperature, to our ability to get rid of toxins and trigger brain synapses is connected to our hydration level.
Ever hear co-workers or friends complain of having “foggy brains?” Even being 2% dehydrated can start to impact cognitive function. Our brain cells need water for neurotransmission. Studies have found that dehydration impairs “motor coordination, and executive function, which includes things like map recognition, grammatical reasoning, mental math, and proofreading.” In other words, we need water to think and learn. Dehydration causes low blood volume, which means our hearts have to work harder to pump blood. This impacts our circulation and how much oxygen gets to our brains. This is why we’re easily fatigued and have less physical endurance when dehydrated. Next time you don’t feel like working out, drink a glass of water and see how you feel. You may just be dehydrated, rather than tired.
Our mood and mental health are closely related to our physical health. It’s hard to feel 100% when your body and brain aren’t firing on all cylinders. When we’re dehydrated, normal daily activities start to feel more difficult. An academic study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that even the “perceived effort necessary for task accomplishment increased with dehydration.” In another study, researchers found that when people who normally drank plenty of water were asked to decrease their water intake, they experienced “reduced feelings of calmness, satisfaction and positive emotions.”
When You Are Dehydrated:
- Low physical endurance
- Brain fog and poor focus
- Joint stiffness
Remember, drinking water can’t replace medication. If you feel like you are suffering from serious depression or abnormal fatigue, seek professional treatment.
How much water should you drink every day? You may have heard about the “8x8 rule,” which says to drink eight 8oz glasses of water a day. However, the real hydration test is: do you feel thirsty? Thirst is a built-in body mechanism to remind us to drink water. A dry mouth and more yellow shades of urine are both telltale signs you should drink a glass of water. The exact amount of water you should drink varies depending on your level of physical activity and how hot the weather is, among other factors.
Start your day with water. During the night, we lose water through exhalation and sweat. The seven to eight hours we spend sleeping is the longest amount of time we aren’t hydrating. Kick start your brain in the morning by drinking a glass of water to replenish what was lost overnight. Finishing a full glass of water before each meal is a great way drink remember to drink more water and help curb the urge to over eat. Many times we may think we’re hungry, but our body is really craving is water. Having delicious, filtered water in your home makes staying hydrated easier and a lot more satisfying. If you want avoid the cost and plastic waste of water bottles, a whole house water system gives you filtered drinking water for your entire home. With a salt free water system, you can easily fill a glass or water bottle from any sink in your home.
Drinking water doesn’t have to be boring. There are lots of fun ways to hydrate. Find a favorite tea or infuse your water with fruit. Adding a little lemon or lime can make a glass of water more appealing. Just make sure to avoid added sugar. As delicious as some of the flavored waters are, they can have not-so-great ingredients, like added sugars or additives. Simply by drinking water instead of soda or fruit juice, you’ll not only increase your hydration, but also lower your sugar and calorie consumption. According the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “substituting water for one 20-ounce sugar sweetened soda will save you about 240 calories.” So maybe grab a bubbly water instead.
Water helps you be feel energized and stay focused. And don’t worry, remembering to drink water does become easier over time. They say it takes 28 days to make or break a habit. Try giving yourself a 28 day water challenge! Keep in mind that drinks like caffeine and alcohol are diuretics and can dehydrate your body. The best way to know if you’re dehydrated is to pay attention to your body. If you start to feel tired in the middle of the day, try drinking water. The next time you find yourself typing the same sentence over and over again, fill up your water bottle. Starting to feel short tempered with a family member? Maybe it’s time for water break.