Did you know that the human body is made up of 60% water? Just that fact alone emphasizes the importance of hydration for our health and wellbeing – yet many of us still struggle to drink enough water each day.
Staying hydrated is important for a variety of reasons, from regulating body temperature to keeping our skin looking healthy and even possibly extending our life (the latest study regarding hydration found that dehydration, marked by sodium levels over 142 mmol/l, in midlife increases risk of death by 20%)! But did you know that hydration also plays a key role in keeping our minds sharp? According to recent research, staying hydrated can improve our mood, increase mental clarity, and help us perform better at work.
Hydration and cognitive function
Recent research has shown that proper hydration has a significant impact on our mood, mental clarity, and work performance. A study conducted by the University of Connecticut found that even mild dehydration (1-3% loss of body weight) can lead to decreased alertness, increased fatigue, and decreased ability to concentrate. Another study by the British Journal of Nutrition found that drinking enough water can improve mood and cognitive performance, especially in tasks that require sustained attention. Adequate hydration can help prevent fatigue, headaches, and stress, and improve focus, reaction time, and decision making – all supporting work performance and more importantly – cognitive function.
So, how much water should you be drinking each day?
Water intake may vary based on individual factors such as activity level, age, and climate – with those who are more active, those who are in warmer climates and those who are older having higher water requirements. Despite recent research suggesting that it may be excessive, a widely accepted recommendation is to drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day, which is equivalent to about 2 liters or half a gallon – we always say 4 big glasses a day! Hydration is a simple and effective way to support brain function!