You’re Probably Dehydrated, And It Can Affect Your Mental Health
How drinking more water can impact your mind
You’re probably dehydrated right now.
If you’re like most Americans, you’re most likely not consuming enough water. Many studies show that up to 80% of people don’t drink enough water. You might be saying, “I’m not thirsty and don’t need to drink anything, I’m obviously not dehydrated.” There’s a big problem with that logic: if you’re feeling the sensation of thirst… you’re already dehydrated.
But wait… why are we talking about water? Because, believe it or not, it has a direct impact on your mental health and overall wellness. So grab a glass of water, and let’s talk about why you should be drinking more of it.
How to stay hydrated
Let’s start by reiterating the easy part: you should be drinking more water. The total amount varies based on many factors including where you live and how active you are, but the statistics don’t lie—most people aren’t drinking enough, so it’s probably best to assume you aren’t getting enough. So get on it!
How much to drink
The best plan of action is to drink water throughout the day, and don’t wait for your body to tell you it’s thirsty. Most health experts recommend drinking 8-10 glasses (8oz) of water every day, which is about 2 liters. That’s a lot of water! An easy way to keep track is to carry a water bottle with you and know how many refills you should get through each day.
Wake up and sip
Do yourself a favor and start your morning with a glass of cool water. When we’re sleeping, we obviously aren’t drinking any fluids. On top of that, we lose water through exhaling our breath and through sweating. After six to nine hours of sleep, our bodies are a little dry. That’s why it’s so important to start your day off right—rehydrate yourself. Bonus: it also jumpstarts your metabolism.
Benefits of hydration
Now that you know a bit about how much you should be drinking, let’s talk about why.
Humans need water to stay alive. In fact, our bodies are about 60% water—it’s essential to keeping our body functioning properly. Even forgetting to have a little water throughout the day can completely change the way you’re feeling.
It impacts your energy
Our brains are made up of 70% water. When you don’t drink enough water, you may notice that you feel tired or think slowly. That’s because dehydration slows your circulation, meaning less oxygen is traveling to your brain—and other parts of your body too. Just a 5% drop in body fluids can make your energy levels drop as much as 30%. That’s a huge blow to your productivity, concentration, and overall health.
It impacts your emotions
Even being the tiniest bit under-hydrated can affect your mood. When you haven’t been drinking enough water, your body starts to trigger different areas of the brain that make you feel more anxious or nervous and can even heighten your emotions. Staying hydrated can prevent the intensity of those enhanced feelings.
It impacts your focus
It’s a frustrating feeling when you can’t seem to get your brain to stay focused. Even on a good day, it can be a struggle to get your brain to focus, so you can imagine how much harder it is when you’re having a bad day. If you’re dehydrated, the ability to focus on one task almost completely vanishes. Just by drinking water, you can more easily focus on the things that you need to, in order to get through the day.
It impacts your overall happiness
Yes, all of these are ways that your brain is impacted by a lack of water. But dehydration can impact the way your brain runs, on a cellular level. Serotonin, or the “happy” chemical, is a neurotransmitter that leads to your feelings of well-being and, well, happiness. When your body doesn’t have enough water, the chemical process in your brain can’t run smoothly, and there’s a decrease in your serotonin production.
This probably isn’t the first time you’ve heard how important water is for your health. This is one self-care tip that takes minimal effort, and it can truly benefit the way that you feel. So, fill up a water bottle and get sipping. Cheers!