Your Mind & Body on Hydration
Staying hydrated matters more than you think!
In fact, most health experts recommend about 8 ounces of water per day - that’s about 2 liters of water.
You lose water every day through your sweat, urine, and breathe. Inevitably, it needs to be replaced. Water makes up your saliva and your blood. It regulates your body temperature. It gives lubrication and protection to your joints. It helps rid your body of toxins. It helps with digestion and nutrient absorption. It increases your immunity. It also keeps your skin bright and your mood light.
Things start to go a little haywire without proper hydration. After all, your body is about 60% water. Without it, your brain and body literally start to dry up. Researchers even claim that your brain shrinks (yikes!).
So when it comes to health matters, get on that hydration train. Your body needs it.
Still not convinced? Here’s what happens when you don’t get the right amount of H2O.
Just 2 Hours Without Water Can Impact Brain Function
Researchers have dove headfirst into how dehydration impacts the body. Arguably, water is more important and is more critical to normal functioning than any other food or beverage. That’s not to say that other functions of food aren’t important in the body. But just that without water, nothing works properly.
According to research, even 2 hours can severely alter your mental functioning and abilities.
Early signs of dehydration manifest as thirst, dizziness, headaches, and nausea.
For a 200 pound person, this results in about 2% or a 4-pound decrease in body mass within only a couple of hours without water.
4-8 Hours Without Water…
Fast forward a couple hours and things go from bad to worse. By this point, most individuals have lost about 1.5-2% of their body weight due to a lack of water.
So, what happens?
Your mood plummets. You feel pretty lousy, fatigued, and straight-up tired. Concentrating won’t be your forte. In fact, it might become very difficult to focus. Women often report headaches at this phase in the dehydration process.
Why does this all happen? It comes down to your brain chemistry. Sodium and potassium run things when it comes to water within the body and experts speculate that these may be the reason for such whacky reactions.
Interestingly, your brain also uses more energy with less water. It literally drains you. Further, studies have shown that you even perceive everything to be that much harder when you’re dehydrated. Sip on that water bottle throughout your day. Your brain desperately needs it.
24 Hours of No Water…
This is where things get really serious. Sure, we can get by with a few hours of no water. Hey, you sleep for 7-9 hours a night and you don’t drink water at any point (Tip: It’s a good idea to chug a glass of water right when you wake up in the morning because of this).
But if you go a day without any water… things get real.
Some experts define this category of severe dehydration as a 3-4 percent drop in body weight. And, yes, your mental impairments get worse.
You thought focusing was hard before. A day without water - you’re going to feel pretty out of it. Your learning, memory, and concentration all take a hit.
This phase may also kick off the shrinking of cells in the brain. Without water, these cells shrink. They die. You end up with a smaller brain with fewer cells (we aren’t kidding!).
And there’s more. Trying to rehydrate quickly can cause other issues. It can lead to cerebral edema. Your cells are dying of thirst (literally) so they take in as much water as they can - too much. They swell. Fluid builds. It creates pressure on the brain. This may lead to severe cell damage - the kind that could be irreversible.
You also may experience muscle cramps, confusion, and more.
The lowdown? Don’t let yourself get to a place where you’re basically dying of thirst.
Every cell, tissue, and function in the body uses water. It’s not up for debate.
So, How Can You Drink More Water?
The main thing is to not wait until your thirsty to drink. Thirst is the first sign of dehydration. Use these tips to help you get your H2O quota:
- Bring a water bottle with you wherever you go. Use a reusable one - it’s good for the environment and you can refill it with tap water wherever.
- Always drink water before, during, and after your workout - especially if it’s particularly intense.
- Hungry? Go for a glass or two of water. Sometimes hunger just means you’re thirsty.
- Try drinking water on a schedule. Drink it when you eat. Or whenever you get up off the couch or from your desk.
- Eat more fruits and veggies. These foods actually contain water. While it’s not as much as drinking a full glass of H2O, it can help!
Remember, your health matters. So, drink up! It’s no wonder why ancient civilizations depicted water in so many artifacts and items. It’s important. It’s necessary. Life as we know it wouldn’t exist without it. Support the life you want by drinking the right amount of water. It goes hand-in-hand with good health and a fulfilling life.
Related Article: Feed Your Body Friday: 4 Refreshing Water Blends