Drink water to douse stress

 
By Shayna Brouker • Published: April 27th, 2012
Category: Health in a Heartbeat
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Getting a little testy during the day? Feeling that midday slump and just can’t seem to get yourself back in the game? It could be a case of everyday stress and lack of sleep … but before you go grab a cup of coffee, sip some water instead.

New research published in the Journal of Nutrition found that even mild dehydration sapped energy levels and the ability to concentrate. Scientists at the University of Connecticut’s Human Performance Laboratory induced mild dehydration in 25 women through exercise and diuretic pills. They found that in general, mild dehydration did not affect women’s mental ability — but they did perceive tasks as more difficult and couldn’t concentrate as well. The same held true for men in a similar study.

The results lend credence to the age-old advice to drink six to eight glasses of water a day. About three-fourths of our brains are composed of water, and brain cells depend on fluid to run efficiently. So with the slightest hint of dehydration, even making minor calculations, like setting your alarm to get to work on time, can seem insurmountable.

But by the time you feel thirsty, it’s already too late. Headache and fatigue are also signs you need to guzzle a glass or two. Need help remembering to hydrate habitually? Make it a morning routine to drink a glass or two as soon as you wake up. Sleep is the longest we go without drinking, but even then we lose small amounts of fluid just by breathing. Sass up your water with lemon slices, chunks of fruit or mint. Invest in a portable water bottle to get H-2-O on the go.

And if not for your brain, drink for your beauty — skin cells also rely on water to function properly, so hydrated cells a beautiful face make.