If you are having trouble concentrating today at work, the cause may be a simple one — you are dehydrated. Even mild dehydration can have outsized effects on your brainpower, new research highlighted in NPR found.
Even mild dehydration can slow down your brain function
In the study, the researchers found that just being dehydrated by 1% was enough to impair young women’s cognitive function. They made about 12% more total errors in a card game designed to test their mental performance. “Mild dehydration caused deficits in visual and working memory and executive function in healthy young women,” the study concluded. That number may not seem huge, but when you are working on a complicated task, having a 12% higher error rate can make all the difference on the final outcome.
The good news is that these effects can be easily reversed by drinking enough water. The researchers found that when the women were rehydrated, they were able to return back to their baseline cognitive function.
Okay, now that you know you should be drinking more water, how much should you be drinking? The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine recommends 91 ounces of water (11 cups) for women and 125 ounces (15 cups) for men, but thankfully that number does not need to all come from just water, it can also come from the water content of the foods you eat.
The findings are a reminder that a solution to our afternoon doldrums is sometimes the simplest. Before you go into a deep dive into your psyche on why you feel so sluggish and tired today, drink a glass of water. Many times, that will be all the cure you need to perk yourself up.