It is well known that hydration is important for every bodily function—water delivers nutrients to cells through the blood, helps organs function smoothly, plays a part in temperature regulation, and even affects mood and brain function.
Severe dehydration symptoms are very noticeable—muscle cramps, increased heart rate and nausea, but there are many more mild symptoms that may easily go unnoticed—a dry mouth and throat, fatigue, constipation and headaches. While sitting all day in a cool office might not seem like a situation prone to causing dehydration, there are key several factors that in fact do dehydrate, so it’s important to be aware of these symptoms in order to stay on top of your game.
While air conditioning does play an important role in preventing heat-related illnesses and keeping us comfortable, there are some downsides—especially if the system is not well maintained. But primarily, air-conditioners create an atmosphere with lower moisture, so it dries out the skin and mucous membranes, leading to dehydration.
And what is the most common accompaniment to a morning of work in front of a computer? A cup of coffee or tea, of course. But for all their perceived benefits in boosting energy, increasing focus and concentration, and relieving stress, it’s important to keep in mind that the caffeine in these two beverages has diuretic properties. Caffeine increases cardiovascular activity, causing the renal system to produce more waste, which is expelled through urination. It also hinders reabsorption of sodium and water in the kidneys, so more water leaves the body. If your caffeine consumption is under 300mg (approximately 3 cups of coffee) per day there is little effect, but it’s important to remember that these drinks are not hydrating you as effectively as water.
It’s not only tea and coffee that we reach for out of habit or boredom. Snacks are a part of office culture, and if you are already a bit dehydrated, you may find yourself snacking more than you need to. Our bodies can mistake thirst signals for hunger, especially if we are not getting enough fluids. The thirst sensation appears when we’re already about 1 or 2 percent dehydrated, so be careful to monitor how much you are drinking and eating throughout the day, and go for the glass of water before considering the biscuits.
If your blood-sugar levels fluctuate, your body may mix up hunger and thirst signals, so make sure to eat at regular times, avoid energy drinks and sugary snacks, and drink plenty of water in the office. To counteract sugary snacks and acidic beverages consumed, and to increase nutritional benefits, try drinking natural alkaline mineral water.
The brain is 85 percent water—even more than the body as a whole. Water supports vital brain functions by providing electrical energy so you can think faster and more clearly; as well as by maintaining the delicate balance of fluids, allowing the blood to deliver nutrients and remove wastes and toxins. Staying hydrated thus makes it easier to concentrate, use short-term memory, and keep you sharp. Various studies have shown that even mild dehydration—water loss of less than 5 percent of body weight—can have a negative impact. It slows blood flow to the brain, impairing reaction time, concentration and memory. The direct link between hydration and productivity means that keeping up your water intake makes you quicker, able to make better decisions, and able to concentrate for longer.
So before you get another cup of coffee or reach for the energy drink because you’re having trouble staying focused, drink a glass or two of water and you’ll soon notice a difference. Energy drinks have plenty of downsides, but even in moderate amounts they can make you jittery, affect your sleep (so you are tired the next day) and increase anxiety and stress in some people. Replacing them with water supports your body to function optimally, without the peaks and troughs of caffeine. Staying hydrated also allows your body to send clear signals about thirst and hunger, making you less likely to grab those salty pretzels or a second one of the cupcakes your colleague baked.
Of course all of this is going to make you feel more satisfied and alert, but did you know a well-hydrated body also produces a good mood? Studies have found a strong correlation between water consumption and mood—the more you drink, the better you feel. And this link between water and mood applies regardless of whether you are jogging a mile or sitting in front of a computer. In various studies, feelings of tension and depression were reduced in people who increased their water intake. Hydration may be the motivation boost you need!
Just because you’re sitting in an air-conditioned office all day doesn’t mean you don’t need to keep hydrated—on average we lose 2.3 liters of water each day just through sweating, breathing and excretion. To counteract this, drinking 9 to 10 cups a day is a good rule of thumb—and more if you are exercising outside of the office too.
Better yet, if you want to maximise the benefits of drinking water, try drinking natural alkaline mineral water. The ideal balance of nutrients in Premium Water means it gets essential minerals, such as potassium and magnesium, back to your muscles, cells and organs, helping them function well and restoring balance—and helping you perform better.