Upon waking, what do you find yourself doing to start your day? Is your coffee pot pre-programed so that you can enjoy your Cup o’Joe immediately, or do you replenish and rehydrate your fasted body with a nice, tall glass of water? Even if you don’t necessarily feel parched upon waking or thirsty throughout the day, the benefits of drinking water not only aid us in physical functions, but also mental functions. There are exercises for keeping your mind sharp, brain puzzles, superfoods, and sleep, but one simple, yet often disregarded thing people can do to aid in brain health is just drinking water. Don’t take this simple task for granted, use it to your advantage.
Similar to other organs in our body, our brain depends on proper hydration to function optimally and efficiently. A delicate balance between water and surrounding elements is needed by our brain cells, and when we lose too much water, the balance is disrupted, putting us in an inefficient state. Water gives the brain the electrical energy for all brain functions, including thought and memory processes, and the production of hormones and neurotransmitters. “Optimal brain function means the ability to think faster, be more focused, and experience increased clarity and creativity. According to Dr. Corinne Allen, founder of the Advanced Learning and Development Institute, brain cells need two times more energy than other cells in the body. Water provides this energy more effectively than any other substance.” (2)
The normal 6-8 hours we sleep, is the longest period we naturally go without drinking water. However, unbeknownst to many, we still lose water even when we sleep. With every somnolent breath, moisture is expelled, and the cumulative effect is for us to lose hydration.
Keeping our brain fueled is obviously of utmost importance. When recognizing water’s vitality to life (You can read more in this article.), have you ever taken time to imagine what life might be like if your access to clean, drinkable water was restricted? If water is important to you, think of what you’ll endure to get it. Some humans are forced to struggle and sacrifice just to satisfy their daily requirements.
People often have it easy in the developed world, and we tend to forget that others around the globe are far less fortunate. “While your thirst is quenched, almost a billion people on the planet don’t have access to clean drinking water. 38,000 children under the age of 5 die each week because they lack uncontaminated water. African women walk over 40 billion hours each year carrying cisterns weighing up to 18 kilograms to gather water, which is usually still not safe to drink.” (1)
In honor of World Water Day 2017, it’s critical we not only recognize water’s significance for our brain and body, but also become aware of its importance in the environment, agriculture, and trade, and the scarcity many experience when it comes to accessing clean water. It’s one of our most essential resources, yet there’s so much to learn. Let’s do what we can to educate and inspire others about the world’s water.
-Health & Wellness Coach