It seems obvious but with such busy lives, sometimes making time or remembering to drink water to stay hydrated can fall to the bottom of our priority list. But why is staying hydrated so important for our wellbeing and mental health?
First, let’s look at what is recommended. The NHS recommends that we drink 6-8 glasses of water per day, however, this doesn’t have to be consumed as plain water and can include lower fat milk, sugar free drinks such as cordials, teas, and coffees.
Water comprises from 75% of an infant’s body weight to 55% in the elderly. The plasma in our blood is 92% water and therefore is essential in maintaining blood volume and effective transportation of oxygen and nutrients to the tissues that need it.
Other important functions of water on our bodies include:
- Thermoregulation – maintaining our body temperature through sweat and respiration.
- Water makes up the synovial fluid found in our joints.
- It keeps us free of toxins by flushing out of our body through urination.
- It acts as a shock absorber for the brain, spinal cord, and foetus.
Some of the consequences of dehydration that be short lived, but others can be more severe and can lead to more serious infections and illnesses. Signs of dehydration include:
- Pain when urinating (UTI)
- Dry Mouth, lips, and eyes
- Feeling thirsty or dizzy
- Tiredness and lack of concentration
However, the benefits of staying hydrated go further than just physiological and physical aspects. Studies have found that even mild dehydration can have a significant impact on our mood, energy levels and ability to think clearly.
Dehydration slows down circulation, which results in less oxygen reaching your body and therefore your brain and when we feel thirsty, this could likely be a signal from our brain telling us that our hydration levels need to be addressed immediately.
If you’re lacking energy, feeling flat or struggling to concentrate on the task at hand, our first suggestion is always to address whether you are drinking enough. If these feeling prolong over time, it can have a big impact on our mental health and overall wellbeing which is why staying hydrated is an easy win and should always be pinned to the top of our to-do list.
Recommendations from Richard Turner, Founder of Employees Health.
– Make sure you are drinking the recommended amount (that’s females 2.7L and males 3.7L per day).
– In hot weather, where possible, drink another another litre just to be on the safe side.
– Even if you’ve had the recommended amount for the day, try and add another glass for every 15 mins of exercise or activity you do!
– If you are very active I would suggest getting a hydration tablet to help replace some salts, glucose and other bits we lose when we sweat!
As part of our audit with all the employers, companies and employees we work with, one of the first things we check is how much everyone consumes on average per day and we then match this with activity levels to determine whether this is sufficient or not.
We encourage all employers to provide tea, coffee and water stations that are easily accessible for all employees and workers in that environment. This has become increasingly difficult for employers to control with many of their staff working from home and so a great way is to send a daily reminder to all staff to make sure they stay hydrated throughout the day.
If you feel your staff’s productivity levels and wellbeing could benefit from one of our audits, then get in touch today.