Our brain needs to be hydrated too. Even a 2% drop in required hydration can lead to difficulties with short-term memory, basic math and reading, and staying focused? So a little dehydration can have a big impact.
‘In studies, dehydration has been associated with increased fatigue, anger, and confusion as well as mood problems and decreased vigor‘
The Importance of Water for Brain Function
Each cell in the brain requires a tremendous amount of energy to function properly. Brain cells are sending information to other cells in your body so that they can do what they are supposed to do. Every movement you make, whether voluntary (like walking) or involuntary (like your heart beating) starts in your brain. The brain is sending signals 24/7 to keep things running smoothly.
These vital activities require energy and water plays an important role in providing that energy to the brain. Our brain just works better when it is well-hydrated, well-hydrated brains function faster, with more clarity and greater creativity. But the brain has no way to store water, so it is important to maintain hydration throughout the day.
We are continuously dehydrating. We lose water through breathing and sweating and we breathe all night (well at least you should!). So, when you wake up in the morning you will be starting the day with a water deficit so always start the day with a glass of water to rehydrate.
The Impact of Dehydration
The impact of dehydration can be significant. Researchers have found that a lack of water has a big impact on our brain.
Individuals in a British study exercised in sweat-inducing suits to reduce the hydration level of the body, after 90 minutes of sweat-inducing exercise, the researchers found that the brain tissue had shrunk away from the skull. The change in brain size in that 90 minutes was equivalent to one year of ageing.
Clearly, our level of hydration affects our brain tissue.
Dehydration Impacts Memory and Focus
A lack of hydration also leads to difficulties with memory and staying focused this can become a vicious cycle.
Unfortunately, people do not remember or encourage others enough to drink. As you age, you lose your thirst trigger, your body no longer tells you that it is thirsty. So let us look at someone with dementia and memory loss conditions as well as losing your thirst trigger with the memory loss that dementia and other memory loss conditions, you can see how you or someone might forget to drink.
Dehydration, even slight dehydration, adds to confusion and short-term memory loss. It’s easy to forget whether or not you have had anything to drink, this in turn will cause a continued slide in health.
Prolonged dehydration will have an effect on brain cell size, shrinking the brain. It’ll also reduce the body’s ability to flush toxins.
We know that many of the toxins in our environment can easily pass the blood-brain barrier. Dehydration removes the body’s ability to flush these toxins and can lead to inflammation of brain tissue, another reason to get hydrated.
How Much Water?
A general guideline to follow is one cup of water for every 20 pounds of body weight.
This should keep you well hydrated. So if you are 100 pounds drink 5 cups of water. If you are 200 pounds drink 10 cups of water. However, other factors can play a role. Medications, weather or the amount of caffeine intake can act as a diuretic – requiring more water to replenish your system.
So What to do?
Drink, drink and drink MORE Water! Encourage all those around you to drink plenty of water, they will love you for it…