If you’re feeling a little down right now, the boost you need could be a lot closer than you think. In fact, it may be as simple as turning on the tap.
Dehydration may be the reason you lack the energy and outlook you’re after. There is plenty of data to support hydration’s impact on mood, energy, and brain function.
Let’s put things in perspective: Your body is made up of roughly 60 percent water—more than half of your weight. This fact alone can help illuminate just how important and far-reaching its role can be.
Your metabolism works constantly to turn the air you breathe, the food you eat, and the sun landing on your skin into all kinds of specialized molecules, proteins, enzymes, and cellular mechanisms. Water is essential to many of these processes.
There is research showing that even mild dehydration, as low as 1 to 3 percent of body weight, can impair mood and concentration while increasing the likelihood of headaches.
Hydration also helps keep energy up. If you’re running a little ragged, it makes more sense to think about how much water you’ve consumed during the day than to just reach for a coffee, cola, or a sugary snack.
Those options may offer some quick relief, but more than likely, you’ll find yourself feeling worse than you did before.
The best way to stay hydrated is to sip water throughout the day. Drink more water—and more often—in warm weather or during periods of physical exertion. But, generally speaking, just try to keep a water bottle within arm’s reach.
You may have heard of the eight glasses per day guideline. That isn’t set in stone, but it does offer a helpful reference point.
Being mindful of when you drink water, a hydration schedule of sorts, can also help you stay on top of it. Drinking a glass of water immediately upon waking can set you on the right path, and having one with each meal can help you automate water intake. Sipping between meals and snacks can help ensure you’re getting a steady supply each day.
Make that process easier by keeping a glass or metal water bottle full and handy. Plastic containers often contain hormone-disrupting chemicals, but some don’t.
If your energy is low and your mood is off, water may be the fastest and most effective fix. Do your best to stay hydrated and reap the rewards.
And as a bonus, drinking more water can help you lose weight. Often when we think we are hungry, we just need a glass of water.
Mat Lecompte is a health and wellness journalist. This article was first published on Bel Marra Health.