You’ve probably heard the same number for years—8 cups of water a day. Many experts have said that that number of cups is outdated, but recent studies have shown how accurate it really is. It’s important to know the facts, because hydration affects more than just your physical health—your mental clarity and happiness are also at stake! Read on.
According to the IOM, women over 19 need 2.7 liters of total fluid per day (that’s over 11 cups) while men over 19 need 3.7 (over 15 cups). About 20% of your daily fluid comes through food, but that still leaves 8-12 cups based on the IOM’s guidelines. Most Americans drink about 2 liters of total beverages per day, but less than ¼ of that comes from water. While non-water drinks like sodas and sweet tea can count toward your fluid needs, they also contain empty calories, or calories not accompanied by valuable nutrients, and contribute to weight gain.
University of Connecticut Study
According to a new study done by the University of Connecticut’s Human Performance Laboratory, even mild dehydration—or 1.5% loss in normal fluid volume—can actually alter your energy level and your mood.
In this study, 25 women and 26 men were tested, each of them healthy and typically exercising anywhere from 30-60 minutes every day. There were three separate evaluations, each 28 days apart, where each subject was put through a series of tests that measured things like reaction time, learning, reasoning, memory, and concentration. These results were compared with a separate series of tests the subjects took when they were dehydrated.
The women involved in the study were found to feel fatigued, get headaches, have trouble concentrating, and held the perception that the tasks they were being asked to do were more challenging than they were before. Similar results were found with the men in the study, although they suffered more issues with memory and less issues with mood changes than the women.
The study also found that, on average, people don’t feel thirsty until after they’ve already become 1-2% dehydrated. Essentially, if you feel thirsty, you’re probably already suffering from these cognitive effects of dehydration.
Hydration and Happiness: Conclusion
If you notice yourself feeling tired, run down, stressed, foggy, etc. there’s a good chance you’re consistently dehydrated. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, try tracking your water intake for a few days. Take note of your symptoms, your moods, etc. Then, try increasing your water intake, and odds are, you’ll notice incredible differences in all of those areas.
For more information and tips on staying hydrated, contact Water Way today!