How much water should you drink a day for your peak productivity? Busting the 8 glasses of water myth

Ever found yourself asking why you feel so tired and slow late morning or mid afternoon even when you got a decent night’s rest and had your regular caffeine fix?

Turns out it might be that you’re dehydrated.

Today we’re diving into the science of hydration. We’ll go over the symptoms so you can recognize them, review what the research says, bust the myth around the 8 glasses a day advice you’ve likely been told, give you the equations to figure out your optimal water intake for when you’re working and when you’re exercising and then giving you 4 tips to make sure you’re staying hydrated. 

Dehydration can contribute to brain fog and negatively impact your productivity. 

It  Affects Your Brain in 3 major ways few ways:

  1. Reduced Blood Flow: Dehydration decreases blood volume, leading to less blood and oxygen reaching your brain. This can impair your cognitive function, resulting in slower thinking, difficulty concentrating, and memory problems.

2 Electrolyte Imbalance: Electrolytes like sodium and potassium play crucial roles in brain function. Dehydration can disrupt the balance of these electrolytes, further hindering cognitive abilities.

  1. Reduced Brain Cell Function: Brain cells are highly sensitive to water loss. Even mild dehydration can shrink brain cells and affect their ability to communicate effectively, leading to brain fog and impaired performance.

All of this Impacts your Productivity. Here are some symptoms to look out for:

  • Difficulty Focusing: You may find it hard to concentrate on tasks, easily getting distracted and taking longer to complete them.
  • Decreased Motivation: You may feel sluggish, sleepy and foggy all of which will zap your motivation, making it harder to initiate and stick to tasks.
  • Impaired Decision-Making: You find yourself being not as sure of yourself as you normally are. Dehydration can cloud your judgment, leading to poor choices
  • Reduced Memory: You find yourself having Difficulty remembering instructions, deadlines, or essential information that you know you know.
  • Agitated: You find yourself being shorter than normal with people whether in person over the phone or in online messages. 

And you don’t have to believe me, there’s some research to back this up

  • A study in “Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience” found that even mild dehydration can negatively impact memory, attention, and processing speed.
  • Another study published in “The Journal of Nutrition” observed that mild dehydration impaired cognitive function and mood in healthy young adults, affecting their work performance.

So just how much water do you need?

A study published in the “Journal of Applied Physiology” titled “Water Intake During Exercise and Daily Living” aimed to answerthat question.  Researchers monitored fluid intake and loss in a group of healthy adults over a week.

The study found that individual needs vary greatly, and   “8 glasses” rule doesn’t apply to everyone. Factors like body size, activity level, climate, and even diet all influence how much water you need.

Instead of a one-size-fits-all answer, the researchers suggest a personalized approach. Here are some guidelines:

  • Start with your weight: Aim for half your body weight in ounces of water daily. So, a 150-pound person would target 75 ounces.
  • Consider climate: Hotter environments require more water to compensate for sweating.

If you’re exercising use this equation from Dr. Andy Galipan who is the Director of the Center for Sport Performance at CSU fullerton and considered one of the foremost experts in sports performance.

Take your body weight in pounds, divide that by 30, and consume that number in ounces every 15 minutes.

Here’s 4 tips to Staying Hydrated for your Optimal Performance:

  1. Start with a glass of water as soon as you wake up to get a jumpstart on the day. 
  2. Pay attention to your urine color. Pale yellow is ideal and adjust your intake accordingly.
  3. Flavor Your Water: Adding fruits, herbs, or cucumber can make water more appealing and encourage you to drink more.
  4. Monitor Your Intake: Track your water consumption by using a reusable water bottle and divide the number of refills you need a day by your total target ounces based on the equations we went over.

Remember, prioritizing hydration is an investment in your cognitive function, well-being, and overall productivity. By staying adequately hydrated, you can focus better, work smarter, and achieve more!

Your move.

Disclaimer: This information is for educational purposes only and should not be taken as medical advice. Always consult with a healthcare professional for personalized guidance on your hydration needs.

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