How Dehydration Affects Your Brain


Ever get a fuzzy-headed feeling making it hard to stay focused or concentrate on what you’re doing? If you’re finding that it’s hard to come with answers to easy questions, or you just can’t shake the fog that has enveloped your mind, you may be dehydrated. Research shows that there is a close link between drinking water and brain function.

Approximately 70% of your body is composed of water. Nearly every body function you have is dependent water, but how much do you really need? According to the Mayo Clinic, the average adult loses more than 80 ounces of water every day through sweating, breathing, and eliminating wastes. So one has to wonder if you drink less than 80 ounces a day, how is that impacting your brain function and overall health?

Studies show that you only need to be 1% dehydrated to experience a 5% decrease in cognitive function. A 2% decrease in brain hydration can result in short term memory loss and have trouble with math computations. Prolonged dehydration causes brain cells to shrink in size and mass, a condition common in many elderly who have been dehydrated for years.

Mental symptoms of dehydration can include

  • Depression

  • Afternoon fatigue

  • Sleep issues

  • Inability to focus

  • Lack of mental clarity, sometimes referred to as "brain fog."

The brain itself is made up of approximately 85% water. Water gives the brain energy to function including thought and memory processes. Water is also needed for the production of hormones and neurotransmitters in the brain. Since the brain cannot store water and you are constantly losing water through perspiration and other body functions, it’s essential that you continuously hydrate. You’ll be able to think faster, focus more clearly and experience greater clarity when your brain is functioning on a full reserve of water.

6 Tips to Stay Hydrated

  1. Drink a glass of water before exercising and sip during to make the most of your workout.

  2. Drink a glass of water before each meal.

  3. Avoid alcohol while flying and drink water instead.

  4. Trade your soda for sparkling water.

  5. Drink water throughout the day even if you are indoors and in the air conditioning.

  6. Eat your water by munching on water-filled fruits and vegetables (ie: watermelon, cucumbers).