Your hydration has a significant effect on your cognition. Just a 2% decrease in hydration can lead to a 20% loss in energy, and in your ability to pay attention and think effectively.
By the time you notice you are thirsty, you will already be 2% dehydrated. So, when you feel thirsty your attention is already impaired. Changes in your routine might affect when you drink or what you drink. The NHS advises drinking 6-8 glasses of fluid each day – water, low-fat milk drinks, including tea & coffee in moderation all count.
Remember, staying properly hydrated is just as important for those who sit at a desk all day, as it is for professional athletes. Be aware that the air conditioning can be as equally dehydrating as lying in the sun.
Studies have shown that drinking more water, and staying well hydrated has many beneficial effects. On your cognition it improves feelings of alertness, attention, reaction time, and decreases levels of confusion. Drinking more water will make you feel more alert, but can also make it easier for you to complete tasks and feel more effective. Being able to decide where to focus your attention will also reduce anxiety and prevent dwelling on negative thoughts.
Watch the video to learn more about how attention impacts your life
Tips to improve attention by staying hydrated
- Keep water close to you – even at home, make sure you have a handy glass of water or a reusable bottle with you whatever you do. Remember to use it too!
- Limit your intake of stimulants – stimulants such as caffeine and sugar dehydrating and can undo the benefits of drinking water. Replace caffeinated and sugary drinks with water wherever you can.
- Have a drinking schedule – if you often find yourself forgetting to drink water make yourself a schedule that will help you not to forget. You can even set reminders.
- Flavour your water – if you don’t like the taste of plain water, try adding a slice of lemon or lime to your drink to make it more flavourful, with added health benefits!
- Drink while exercising – remember to drink before, during and after exercise, as this is a dehydrating activity. Remember you need to drink at least 2 litres of water a day.
- Drink when you’re hungry – often when you feel hungry you might actually be dehydrated. So try drinking water when you’re feeling hungry.
- Drink coconut water – coconut water is a good substitute for sports drinks. Its low in salt and sugar while being packed full of potassium, and being an amazing hydrator.
Download the MyCognition Healthy Habits toolkit which includes a useful hydration tracker!
You can also access the full Healthy Habits programme for FREE below:
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Download the MyCognition HOME app now and you will get an additional free license for a member of your family or cared one.
If living or working in London, you can have a free MyCognition PRO license through the NHS Good Thinking programme at https://www.good-thinking.uk/resources/mycognition/
The apps are available on any iOS or Android devices.
MyCognition apps are regulated by the MHRA as a CE medical device with NHS-digital and ORCHA approval. Both apps also include a dedicated e-learning programme on how to build and maintain Healthy Habits.
Please contact us if you wish to use MyCognition PRO or MyCognition ED for your organisation at a discounted price.