What you drink and don’t drink can have a significant impact on your mental and physical health. And something as simple as being properly hydrated could greatly improve your quality of life and wellbeing. Many people may be afflicted with a variety of symptoms, not knowing that regulating the amount of water they drink and watching for signs of dehydration could completely reverse them. Here are four ways poor hydration could have an effect on your mental health.
It Leads to Fatigue
Dehydration slows down the body in many ways. If you feel fatigued, the best first step is to drink a bottle of water instead of grabbing an energy drink or mug of coffee. If you’re fatigued after a hard workout, then a protein rich drink like milk may be better than water alone at re-hydrating you and restoring your energy level. Note that water alone can’t restore electrolytes, so you may need a sports drink or other beverage that gives you both hydration and salt after an intense workout.
Know that heat cramps, exhaustion and other warning signs of heat related fatigue can be mitigated by drinking cold liquids, though you still need to get out of the heat.
It Affects Your Mood
One study carried out found a link between dehydration and mood. Whether people were dehydrated due to exercise or use of a diuretic, it led to a measurable increase in their “total mood disturbance”. Then there is the fact that if you are fatigued or even have a headache due to dehydration, it will put you in a bad mood. On top of that, dehydration makes you more sensitive to pain, which only makes matters worse.
It Impedes Mental Function
Dehydration affects almost every aspect of mental function. It impairs your motor skills well before you pass out from dehydration or heat stroke. It reduces your problem-solving ability and increases your reaction time. One study found that if you drive dehydrated, you are more likely to drift into another lane and brake too late to prevent an accident. The performance of the participants in this study was so bad that it was comparable to people whose blood alcohol level was over the legal limit. On top of that, severe dehydration can lead to confusion and hallucinations.
It is now obvious that you need to stay hydrated to maximize your mental function as well as your physical health. If you want additional tips on how to stay hydrated, the people at Bevi have this post providing tips for staying hydrated. They provide easy ways to stay hydrated regardless of your activity level. And their hydration tips go well beyond telling you to buy a water bottle and refill it at every water fountain.
It Leads to Memory Impairment
Another study found that dehydration negatively affects every form of memory. Dehydration caused subjects to perform worse in tests of both declarative and working memory. The worse their dehydration, the worse their performance on the test. If you feel like your memory is going, get a water bottle and fill it up before you assume it is something you just have to live with. Doing so may improve your ability to concentrate, too.
Your brain is mostly made of water, and this explains why dehydration affects your mental health. This is why anyone who wants to improve their mental state should start with a glass of water or similar beverage.