So you’re probably sick of hearing how you need to drink more water, but despite all the efforts to get Americans to drink more water, 75% of us are still chronically dehydrated. Many of the benefits of staying hydrated are well known, but here’s a lesser known, but crucial reason to drink more H2O. A new report shows that when you drink water, your brain works better.
“Lot’s of studies have shown that dehydration is linked to poor performance on memory and attention tasks,” says Caroline Edmonds, PhD, University of East London senior psychology lecturer.
Some research has shown, for example, that fluid-filled spaces in the brain become enlarged when someone is dehydrated, which causes brain tissue to shrink and makes it harder to think. Thirst can be maddeningly distracting, too. When it’s gone, the brain is free to focus on more important things.
To test water’s brain-boosting power, Edmonds asked 34 thirsty men and women to perform a series of mental tasks, measuring their reaction time, memory, and learning capabilities. Half were given water; the other half weren’t. The subjects who guzzled about 2 cups of water before completing the tasks increased their reaction time by 14%. In addition, the water drinkers felt happier, less confused, and more relaxed.