Water Your Brain: 10 Tips to Keep Cognitive Functions at Top Performance
Updated: Apr 12
One of the brain's most important jobs is to keep your body hydrated. One way it does this is by regulating thirst and making sure you drink enough water. But what happens when you don't get enough H2O? The answer is simple: not only will your cognitive functions suffer, but so will your physical health. That's why it's essential that we all remember to stay hydrated! To help us out with that, here are some tips on how to make sure our brains are getting the water they need every day!
Make sure you drink at least half of your body weight in ounces. This is a good starting point and will ensure that your brain has enough water to function properly!
Use an app like Waterlogged or Daily Water Free to keep track of how much water you're drinking each day – it's way easier than trying to remember on your own!
Drink up before, during, and after exercise. Dehydration can happen quickly and affect your cognitive performance, so make sure to hydrate before you even start exercising!
Keep a glass of water by your side throughout the day. This is one of our favorite tricks if we have easy access to water at all times, it's way more likely that we'll drink it!
Drink a glass of water before every meal. This is one way to help your brain regulate hunger and blood sugar levels, which can be especially helpful for people with diabetes or hypoglycemia!
Take a break to drink water throughout the day. If you're feeling tired, irritable, or unproductive at work, try taking five minutes to get some water – it'll help refresh your mind and body so that you can come back ready for success again!
Don't wait until you're thirsty to drink water. Your brain works hard every day, but it doesn't have a way of telling us when we should hydrate other than thirst!
Mix up the type of water you drink for an extra boost of success. Adding some lemon or cucumbers can help replace electrolytes lost in sweat, so it's a great choice after exercise!
Drink water when you wake up. Drinking some H2O upon waking can help energize your brain and prepare it for success with cognitive functions throughout the day!
If you're craving something sweet, try drinking water first. The sugar cravings may be signs of dehydration – so drink up and see if it helps kill those sugar urges!
One caution here: don't drink too much water at once (more than 0.8l - 1.0l per hour as it is the max amount of water your kidneys can excrete). Drinking more than a liter of water in less than an hour can lead to hyponatremia (i.e., a potentially fatal condition where there is not enough sodium in the blood.)
The success of your work depends on how well you are able to function, so it's crucial that we maintain a good level of "brain efficiency" throughout our lives. Drinking water is crucial for this - and research shows us time and again just how important hydration is for success in the workplace.
Even just one week of dehydration results in cognitive impairment equivalent to being slightly intoxicated or drunk. This means we're not only working less efficiently, but we're making poorer decisions than usual because we haven't appropriately hydrated and nourished ourselves with water before getting down to business at work. Not good news if you want top performance from yourself or others under your responsibility!