February 12, 2018

How Proper Hydration Promotes Better Brain Health

proper hydration

Staying hydrated affects the human body so profoundly because all organs are made up mostly of water. The brain, in particular, is made up of 70% water. You can only imagine how dehydration affects the brain!

The fact is, proper hydration is critical to normal brain function. If you are not getting enough water, the brain is not getting enough nourishment. And dehydration leads to negative neurological and psychological symptoms. In today’s post, let’s talk about the positive effects of proper hydration to the brain and what can you do to prevent dehydration:

Better Mood

Did you know that your mood and disposition are affected directly if you are not drinking enough water every day? Crankiness, moodiness, and general feelings of fatigue are common signs of dehydration. A 2012 study found that induced dehydration among healthy participants affected their mood state. Health experts concluded that water deficiency could lead to a measurable spike in total mood disturbance. Even the slightest hint of dehydration could lead to mild to severe mood disturbance,

Interestingly enough, most of the clinical tests that demonstrate the effects of dehydration to the human brain are done to fit, healthy young adults. This shows that even young people are not impervious to the effects of dehydration to the mood state.

proper hydration

Photo Credit: verywell.com

Improves Cognitive Function and Motor Skills

Who knew that driving while dehydrated could be just as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol? Studies reveal that dehydration is one of the major yet overlooked causes of errors while driving. A 2015 study found that dehydrated participants made more errors while driving in a simulated test. The participants were drifting and braking too late because their motor skills were off.

When dehydrated, the brain is not getting enough oxygenated blood. This affects a person’s overall mental and physical performance. This leads to slow reaction and poor concentration. Scientists conclude that the performance of the dehydrated participants was just as poor as drunk drivers who took the same test! The results demonstrate the profound effect of water deficiency on the human brain.

Prevents the Onset of Dehydration Headaches

Do you suffer from regular headaches that worsen into a migraine? You might want to increase your water intake. Studies show that recurring headaches are some of the most common signs of dehydration. Since the brain is made up of 70% water, the organ loses volume when you’re not drinking enough water. As the brain shrinks in size, the brain tissues are pulled away from the skull. This triggers the pain receptors in the brain, causing dehydration headaches!

The good news is, drinking water before a dehydration headache worsens should reverse the effects of water deficiency. However, it’s not a good idea to wait until you’re feeling symptoms of dehydration before you drink water. Make a habit out of drinking at least 8 glasses of plain water daily to prevent dehydration headaches.

Decreased Sensitivity to Pain

If you’re quite sensitive to pain or you have a low pain threshold, it could be a sign that you need to drink more water! One of the most baffling effects of dehydration is increased sensitivity to pain. People who are not drinking enough water feel a more intense pain. A 2014 study by Japanese scientists found that participants felt pain sooner when they were tested for pain sensitivity.

The test involved immersing the participants’ arms in cold water while scanning specific areas of the brain involved in the experience of pain. Dehydrated participants seem to have a lower pain threshold, which surprised the Japanese scientists who conducted the tests.

proper hydration

Better Memory

Staying hydrated promotes mental alertness while improving memory, that’s a fact. Since the brain relies on body fluids to maintain optimal brain function, even the tiniest drop in fluid levels could affect the organ’s overall performance.

A 2010 study found a strong link between staying hydrated and excellent memory skills among its 21 participants. The participants took a test to assess their memory skills. The most dehydrated volunteers performed the worst on the tests. The test demonstrates the impact of proper hydration to a person’s memory skills, which should be useful if you have an exam coming up!


No doubt about it, proper hydration is critical to optimal brain function and health. Make a habit out of drinking at least 8 glasses of water daily to nourish the brain and improve brain performance!

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