Even "Mild" Dehydration Dehydration Can Impair Your Cognitive Performance, Here's What You Need To Know
While it's common to think of alleviating dehydration for physical benefits such as boosting athletic performance, studies show staying well-hydrated can have significant mental health benefits too. A study conducted by the University of Connecticut Human Performance Lab found that mild dehydration (1.36%) causes changes in mood, increased perception of task difficulty, lower concentration, and headaches in women. The simple fact is that whether we realize it or not, our body is composed of 70% water and the brain 75% water. When you become dehydrated, your blood circulation slows and results in less oxygen being delivered to your organs- including the human brain. What's even more interesting is that researchers found that regardless of whether a participant exercised for 30-40 minutes or remained in a stationary position- the adverse effects from mild dehydration were the same. Just because you don't work up much of a sweat working at your desk all day, it doesn't mean that you are not dehydrated. It's important to note that when your body becomes dehydrated, it will pull water needed for blood circulation from other areas including your brain. It's this process that causes symptoms such as confusion, lack of concentration, headaches, brain fog, dry eyes, and even blurred vision to occur. While this process is part of your body's innate response to conserve more water for survival, adopting a daily adult hydration routine can boost your mental performance. The study's findings reinforce the need to stay well hydrated throughout the day- not just before and after exercising. Ironically, that study also found that women who were mildly dehydrated experienced more fatigue, headaches, and decreased ability to concentrate than men. Men struggled with completing mental tasks that required alertness and memory and reported feeling more tense, anxious and tired.