Numerous alternatives exist for you to improve your physical health by drinking plenty of water. To mention a few advantages, drinking water regularly helps your body absorb nutrients from food, supports digestion and weight loss, eases joint movement, and keeps your circulation from becoming clogged. Water is crucial for preserving your mental health, according to reliable research. Dehydration may increase your risk of developing undesirable mental conditions including anxiety and sadness.
Water promotes brain function by facilitating the transport of nutrients and toxins to the brain, removing toxins and inflammatory indicators, and providing the brain with energy sources. Although numerous studies have indicated that a lack of access to clean water is linked to anxiety and depression. In this article, we will explore the potential consequences of inadequate water intake on mental health and highlight the importance of staying hydrated for overall well-being.
Dehydration and Cognitive Function
The body typically excretes about 2550 ml of water every day. This comprises water loss from the respiratory system (in sedentary people) of about 300ml, insensible water loss from things like perspiration (450ml/day), urination (about 1600ml/day), and faeces (about 200ml/day).
Studies have indicated that minor water loss of roughly 2% of body weight causes a reduction in cognitive function, though this might vary depending on an individual’s degree of exercise and tolerance for dehydration.
1) Impaired memory:
Dehydration can impair our abilities to form and retrieve memories. Research has highlighted that proper hydration is essential for the brain hippocampus, an important area for memory formation.
2) Reduced attention and concentration
When a person is dehydrated it becomes harder for them to concentrate on tasks and they are highly distracted. This hinders their productivity and performance. According to research, Men did not appear to experience the same negative impacts as women in terms of exhaustion, increased headaches, and attention problems.
3) Impaired problem solving
Dehydration can hinder the brain’s ability to analyze and solve problems. Difficult tasks require higher cognitive functioning and creativity, which becomes extremely challenging.
4) Reduced mental alertness:
When dehydrated, individuals experience a decline in mental alertness and lethargy. This hampers their ability to stay in the moment and work.
Symptoms of Dehydration:
- Delirium, confusion, and headache.
- Tiredness, or weariness.
- Weakness, lightheadedness, and dizziness.
- Having a dry cough or mouth.
- Low blood pressure and a rapid heartbeat.
- Appetite loss, but possibly a thirst for sugar.
- (Red) flushed skin.
- Enlarged feet.
- Muscle pain.
- Chills, or heat intolerance.
- Urine with a dark color. Your urination needs to be a clear, light color.
The connection between Dehydration and Mental disorders
Your brain cannot produce energy while you’re dehydrated. Many of the processes in your brain that need this kind of energy become ineffective and may even stop. Depression is one of the mental illnesses that can emerge from this kind of malfunction. It impedes serotonin production, which is the happy hormone, and increases the risk of depression.
Dehydration is rarely a cause of anxiety on its own, but if you don’t get enough water, you run the risk of experiencing more anxiety symptoms now and maybe developing higher levels of worry in the future. In brief, dehydration leads to stress, which in turn leads to depression and anxiety in your body. Therefore, it’s important to make sure you drink enough water every day, especially if you have a tendency to get anxious easily.
3) Panic Attacks
High levels of anxiety resulting from dehydration frequently lead to panic attacks. Dehydration is one of the physical factors that might initiate panic attacks. If you frequently experience panic attacks, dehydration might cause you to panic to the point where you believe you are going to die.
Dehydration exposes you to many of the signs and symptoms of panic attacks, including:
- Rapid heartbeat
- aching muscles and lethargy
- dizziness or lightheadedness
Even though staying hydrated won’t always stop the panic attacks, it might make them less frequent or at least lessen some of the triggers.
Dehydration and Mood
1. Even minor dehydration can lead to headaches, weariness, inability to concentrate, changes in mood, and impairment of mental function. According to research, being dehydrated increases our propensity for feeling agitated, nervous, and furious. The study discovered that while men were more likely to struggle with mental activities, and memory, and feel more worried and tense, women were more likely to experience mood changes.
2. Dehydration is known to worsen irritability and mood swings by decreasing the blood supply to the brain.
3. We are more prone to encounter an electrolyte imbalance when we are dehydrated, and this can also affect our mood. These levels frequently change when the body’s water balance shifts, such as when we perspire while exercising.
There are three worst drinks for your mood, namely, Alcohol, fizzy drinks, and Caffeine.
Dehydration and other Physiological symptoms:
1)Sleep disturbances: Poor hydration can lead to insomnia or restless sleep. Sleep is critical to mental health as it allows the brain to process emotions and form memories.
2) High stress: It increases the stress hormone called as cortisol, which impairs the body to deal with extraneous stressors effectively.
3) Brain structure: Dehydration can reduce brain volume and temporarily shrink brain cells. This impacts brain health and cognitive functions
How much water should we drink?
Your optimal daily water intake varies depending on your gender, stress level, weight, environment, level of exercise, and other factors, such as whether you’re ill. But as a general rule, ladies should drink 11.5 cups (92 oz) and men should drink 15.5 cups (124 oz) of water per day. Try adding a squeeze of lemon or lime juice to plain water if you find it difficult to stomach it. Soda/diet soda, energy drinks, and other sodium-containing liquids should be avoided as much as possible because sodium causes dehydration.
Reasons for drinking adequate water
Drinking an adequate amount has a lot of advantages:
1) Boosts Brain Functioning: studies suggest that staying consistently hydrated can improve your functioning. Additionally, it improves your decision-making abilities and your judgment.
2) Boosts Serotonin levels: Serotonin levels in the brain that are appropriate keep us content, emotionally balanced, and steady.
3) Reduce symptoms of Anxiety and Depression: Anxiety and despair cannot be magically cured by drinking enough water. However, it nourishes the brain and aids in reducing any symptoms you might have.
4) Reduce risk of Dementia: Dehydration and dementia have a special association since dementia patients have trouble staying hydrated and people who don’t drink enough water have a higher risk of acquiring dementia.
Easy Tips to Stay Hydrated:
1) Listen to your body: Pay attention to your body. Pick water if your body is urging you to hydrate.
2) Start your day with water: It’s ideal to sip on a glass of water as soon as you wake up to stimulate your metabolism.
3) Get a water bottle for travel: It can be challenging to stay hydrated if you’re constantly moving. Purchasing a travel water bottle might make things much simpler.
4) On your phone, set alarms: Alarm clocks are a convenient way to remind yourself to take a break and drink some water. You can choose how many or how few to set.
5) Try flavor packets: Some people find water to be monotonous. I understand that occasionally you want something different and grab for a sweet drink like a soda. When drinking water, flavor packets or droplets might give it the extra kick you want.
6) Link it to a routine: A simple technique to consume more water is to link drinking it to an existing habit. It could be anything, such as drinking water prior to a meal, following tooth brushing, or each time you stand up to use the restroom.