By now, we’ve all heard about the seemingly endless health benefits of drinking water. Research shows that guzzling plenty of water helps transform food into energy, keeps your skin looking great and fights off fatigue. Despite being flavourless, it also somehow tastes heavenly after a long run.
But did you know that drinking water can actually make you smarter? Or rather, not getting enough water makes you less smart. Yep, it turns out when you’re dehydrated, your brain shrinks. Studies show that even if you’re only 1% dehydrated, you will likely have a 5% decrease in cognitive function.
When you’re dehydrated, your cognitive function declines and the speed of your neural pathways shuts down. What this means is the part of the brain we use for planning and problem solving struggles
–Zipwater health expert Dr John Tickell
While your humble h20 may not immediately turn you into Steve Jobs, evidence suggests it will boost your brain power in a few different ways.
Are you one of those people who thinks of the perfect comeback hours later? Dehydration may be to blame for your delayed response. Research shows that when you’re thirsty, drinking as little as 120 mls (or half a cup of water) can improve your reaction time by 14%. While it doesn’t sound like a lot, it could be the difference between pulling out an amazing zinger on the spot or jumping out of the way of a moving bus.
Studies show that being adequately hydrated makes you more focused and alert. Zipwater ran an experiment where two gamers versed each other in a virtual game of ping pong. But instead of using controllers, the gamer wore EEG headsets that allowed them to control the ball with mind control. The dehydrated gamer performed significantly worse than the hydrated one, because his brain was expending more energy on nerve transmission, causing fatigue and decreasing his focus.
In another Zipwater experiment, 15-year-old Christine took on Australian grandmaster Ian Rogers in a game of chess. Ian was put in a one-man sauna for the duration of the game, while Christine was perfectly hydrated. Remarkably, Christine won the game, proving the huge impact hydration has on your problem solving abilities.
Dehydration affects every aspect of your brain function, and your memory is no exception. Not only can not drinking enough water affect your ability to recall short term information, it can also damage your long-term memory. On the flip side, if you’ve got a big meeting or exam coming up make sure you drink enough h20. It will help clear your mind and ensure you knock it out of the park.