Drinking Water can improve our Moods
We are continually being reminded to drink water and keep hydrated. Experts and health advisors claim that drinking water is essential for maintaining your health and general well-being. It helps keep our skin looking fresh, aids digestion and removes toxins from the body. However, recent research has now found that dehydration has a correlation with our moods and cognitive ability.
Two recent studies, conducted at the University of Connecticut’s Human Performance Laboratory, found that being even mildly dehydrated could alter a person’s mood, energy levels and ability to think clearly.
The results from the study highlighted the importance of staying properly hydrated at all times and not just during exercise or extreme heat. It found that regardless if a person had just walked forty minutes on a treadmill or was resting, the adverse affects from mild dehydration were equal. Mild dehydration is defined as an approximately 1.5 percent loss in normal water volume in the body.
Lawrence E Armstrong, one of the lead scientists for the study and an international expert on hydration says that, “our thirst sensation doesn't really appear until we are 1 or 2 percent dehydrated. By then dehydration is already setting in and starting to impact how our mind and body perform,"
Armstrong also highlighted that dehydration affects everyone and staying adequately hydrated is just as important for those who work all day at a computer as it is for those who are exercising.
The study, which was published in The Journal of Nutrition, consisted of separate tests for young women and young men. Twenty-five women aged around 23 and twenty-six men with an average age of 20 were selected for the research. All the participants were considered to be healthy and active individuals.
The participants were required to walk on a treadmill to induce dehydration, and all of the subjects were hydrated the evening before the tests began. As part of the research, each participant was put through a number of tests that measured vigilance, concentration, reaction time, learning, memory and reasoning.
The results were then compared against a separate series of tests, whereby the individuals were not dehydrated.
The research found that the young women who had mild dehydration suffered from headaches, fatigue and consequently had difficulty concentrating and carrying out certain tasks.
Similarly the study showed that the young men who were mildly dehydrated, experienced difficulty with mental tasks, particularly in the areas of vigilance and working memory. It was also noted that the same group of men also suffered from fatigue, tension and anxiety. However, the study pointed out that these adverse changes in mood were notably more prevalent in females than males, both at rest and during exercise.
Harris Lieberman, the studies’ co-author, stated that, “even mild dehydration that can occur during the course of our ordinary daily activities can degrade how we are feeling – especially for women, who appear to be more susceptible to the negative affects of low levels of dehydration than men”
Lieberman explains that is very important for both sexes to keep hydrated throughout the day because, as the study demonstrates, mild dehydration can negatively impact mood and de motivate someone to engage in moderate exercise and interfere with daily activities.
It is unclear why women are more affected by dehydration than men, and this is an area of research that requires further exploration. However, other studies have pointed to the idea that neurons in the brain detect dehydration and consequently signal other parts of the brain regulating mood. This process has been identified as part of an “ancient warning system” to protect humans from more dire consequences, by alerting them to the need for water to survive.
Experts suggest that in order to stay hydrated, people should be consuming around two litres of water a day, that is eight glasses of water.For further information on the benefits of keeping hydrated and tips to make sure you are drinking enough water, please visit the Water Aid website