Improve your brain power and mental health with water


Woman drinking water

Drinking water has a direct impact on brain power and performance. The importance of water for our health and wellbeing cannot be overstated. Water is essential to digestion, movement and the function of organs. But staying properly hydrated benefits more than our bodies, it’s also vital for our minds. 

Water is, quite literally, what the human body is made of. That of course includes the brain. 

The human brain is 70% to 85% water. Not drinking enough water can lead to a deluge of problems. Dehydration has been linked to everything from brain fog to headaches, depression, anxiety and dysregulation of hormones. Prolonged dehydration can cause brain mass to shrink and the brain to prematurely age

Want to know more about how crucial water is to brain power and health? Here’s a closer look. 

Woman working on laptop with bottles of MV

Hydration and brain health: Water boosts brain function

Drinking water and properly hydrating increases blood flow throughout the body, including to the brain. This helps move oxygen and nutrients to the brain and its neurons while flushing it of metabolic waste. 

Dehydration can make it difficult to concentrate and remember things. Dehydration can also make basic cognitive tasks — answering an email, or measuring the ingredients for a recipe — feel far more laborious. 

The beauty of drinking water and staying hydrated is that it doesn’t merely bring your brain back to a mindful baseline, it actually improves brain function. Proper hydration makes you better at making judgment calls (Do you really need those shoes?), and it improves your ability to make sound decisions. 

Hydration and sleep: Drink water, snooze better, think better, feel better

Dehydration can have major impacts on sleep. Significant dehydration can lead to headaches, muscle cramps, and dryness of the mouth, nasal passages and eyes — all of which can make a good night’s sleep feel like an impossible dream. 

Research has shown that people who sleep fewer than six hours per night tend to be more dehydrated than those who get eight or more hours of rest. Like water, sleep is critical to healthy cognitive function. Poor sleep reduces attention span, critical-thinking ability, reaction time, memory, adaptivity, and even emotional regulation. 

Woman meditating in the sun with a bottle of water

Hydration and mental health: Water can put you in a better mood

Among the many complex operations the human brain undertakes each day, one is the production of serotonin. Often called the body’s “feel good” chemical, proper levels of serotonin make us feel happier, calmer, more focused and more emotionally stable. To create serotonin, our bodies need — you guessed it — water. 

Water is crucial to the production of tryptophan, an amino acid our brains require in order to produce serotonin. They say you can’t buy happiness, but you can drink water and stay hydrated, which has been shown to help. 

Hydration and the mind: Water reduces symptoms of anxiety and depression

Dehydration can tax the brain and mind on multiple fronts. It can impair cognitive function, making it harder to concentrate, remember things and have good judgment. Dehydration can also drive down levels of serotonin, deregulating moods and emotions, and further eroding focus. 

This multi-pronged dehydration assault on the brain can lead to an increased risk of depression as well as anxiety. Dehydration also boosts levels of cortisol in the brain, the stress hormone that can throw the body into fight-or-flight mode. Increased cortisol can raise the heart rate, as well as feelings of tension and unease. 

Anxiety and depression are serious disorders that cannot be “cured” by drinking water. However, staying properly hydrated has been shown to help. 

Hydration and dementia: Water can help keep the mind sharp

The relationship between dehydration and dementia (a group of conditions characterized by multiple impairments to brain function that interfere with daily life, such as memory loss, limited social skills, diminished thinking abilities) is like that of the chicken and the egg. 

It is not known if dehydration is the cause of dementia or if it is an effect of dementia. 

The prolonged stress of dehydration on the brain and its synapses may promote cognitive decline and symptoms of dementia. Yet merely having dementia puts one at a far higher risk for dehydration. 

Research has shown that women are more susceptible than men to the cognitive effects of dehydration. The good news: In young women, these deficits can easily be reversed by replenishing fluids. 

Person sweating in the sun

Water is critical to brain function and health: How to know if you’re drinking enough water?

For healthy brains and minds, water is vital. But how can you tell if you’re properly hydrated?

Signs of dehydration in adults:

  • Dry mouth
  • Decreased frequency of urination
  • Dark colored urine
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion

Tips for healthy hydration:

  • The average woman should drink 11.5 cups of water per day, while men need approximately 15.5 cups. 
  • Skip the sugary juices, sodas and sports drinks and go for the good stuff: water. Nothing hydrates as cleanly and efficiently as water. 
  • Keep water with you and drink gradually and continuously throughout the day so as not to get your body into a hydration deficit.
  • Enjoy water-rich foods such as citrus fruits, watermelon, apples, salads, tomatoes and cucumbers. 
  • Bored with plain water? Give your water a boost of flavor by infusing it with a spritz of lemon, lime, berries, melon or even fresh herbs. 
  • Set an alarm to remind you to drink water every 30 minutes or at specific intervals.
  • If you’re in the heat or humidity, or if you’re exercising or exerting strenuous effort, adjust your water intake accordingly to make up for water lost through sweat. 

Our favorite tip for drinking more water? Drink the best water. 

Mountain Valley Spring Water is the most award-winning water in the United States for a reason: It’s purely sourced, purely crisp and purely refreshing. From Elvis Presley to top-notch chefs to the hallowed halls of the White House, Mountain Valley Spring Water has been beloved for more than 150 years. You don’t have to take our word (or The King’s word) for it. Find our green bottles in your local supermarket, or get started with delivery of Mountain Valley Spring Water to your home or office, and taste for yourself.

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