Drinking More Water Will Improve Your Mood, Concentration, And Memory

Those eight glasses a day really make a difference.

Welcome to HuffPost Canada’s (almost) daily guide to helping you pick up an easy, everyday ritual that can make your life a bit better, in a small but significant way.

Canadians are stressed out, anxious, and are feeling disconnected from each other. Every Monday through Friday, we’ll share a tiny tip to help you feel good. We’ve got your back.

Today’s habit: Just drink more water!

For whenever you’re feeling: When you need an extra boost of energy; when you’re tired; when you’re trying to be kind to your body; when you’re working out.

What it is: We all know we should be drinking more water — eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day to be exact. Our doctors tell us, science tells us, and even our co-workers tell us (is it just us or does anyone else find random reusable water bottles on their desk?).

But, we have busy lives, and sometimes our lives interfere with all that water we’re supposed to be drinking. Or, sometimes we don’t feel like drinking water ’cause it’s not the best tasting drink (that’s why the powers that be invented lemon).

But drinking just that extra glass or bottle of water can make a huge difference in how you feel.

Many studies have proven conclusively that even mild dehydration (1-3 per cent of body weight) can impair your mood, memory, critical thinking, and brain performance.
Many studies have proven conclusively that even mild dehydration (1-3 per cent of body weight) can impair your mood, memory, critical thinking, and brain performance.

How it can help: Put simply: If you stay hydrated, you will feel a lot better.

Many studies have proven conclusively that even mild dehydration (1-3 per cent of body weight) can impair your mood, memory, critical thinking, and brain performance. Yep, your brain needs to be hydrated, as well as the rest of your body (especially if you’re physically active), and this goes for people of all ages, from children to seniors.

Because our bodies are made up of 60 per cent water, the effects of dehydration can be immediate.

A 2012 study found that mild dehydration (1.36 per cent) after exercise impaired young women’s mood and concentration, and increased the number of headaches, and a 2011 study found that mild dehydration affected participants’ working memory and increased feelings of anxiety and fatigue.

If you feel a headache coming on, grab a glass of water.

Research shows that dehydration can cause headaches and migraines, and studies show that drinking adequate amounts of water can relieve headaches that are caused by dehydration. But, it’s important to note that headaches that are not caused by dehydration probably won’t find relief the more water you drink.

If you’re feeling tired, water can literally boost your energy.

Studies show that dehydration can cause increased fatigue, anger, confusion, and decreased vigour. When you drink water, you’re helping your heart stay healthy, which imrpoves your energy levels.

“Your heart is constantly working, pumping about 2,000 gallons of blood a day,” The Heart Foundation notes on its website. “By staying hydrated – that is, by drinking more water than you are losing – you are helping your heart do its job.”

According to The Heart Foundation, people who are most at risk for dehydration are the elderly, those with chronic illnesses, children, and athletes.

Signs of mild to moderate dehydration include thirst, dry mouth, dark yellow urine, and headache, while signs of severe dehydration include not urinating, very dark yellow urine, irritability, dizziness, rapid heartbeat, and listlessness.

And while things like a mild headache and fatigue don’t seem that concerning, dehydration can lead to serious conditions such as heart attack or heat stroke.

The best thing about this little habit is that it’s so easy to do. Get yourself a reusable water bottle (we like S’Well bottles) or a glass, and drink up that good ol’ H2O. If you don’t like the taste of plain water, there are plenty of infused water ideas, such as adding lemon, cucumber, apple, mint, orange, and strawberry.

There are also other ways to get water without drinking the stuff on its own, like an herbal or non-caffeinated tea, and coconut water. And high-water content foods, such as watermelon, strawberries, cantaloupe, and peaches, provide lots of healthy hydration.

Where you can do it: Have a bottle of water with you wherever you go! Keep a bottle at work, keep a glass on your bedside table, and throw a travel bottle in your bag when you’re out and about.

Other ways to easily keep water top of mind is to keep a glass of wide by your bed so that you can take a few sips before you go to sleep and when you wake up; take a few sips before every meal; keep a big bottle at work so you don’t have to keep getting up to refill a glass; set a deadline for every eight ounces, and make a promise to yourself to drink a glass of water for every cup of coffee you drink.

How it makes us feel: We really do feel more energized and awake when we drink a lot of water. Bonus: drinking lots of water also helps us feel full, so we’re not always snacking on junk food.

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