At the start of every new calendar year, millions flock to the gym, begin improved diets, and supplement with nootropics and smart drugs to tackle the new year with vigor.
While everyone seeks unique ways to improve their mental performance and health, it’s easy to forget one of the most promising methods to optimize concentration, memory, creativity, and mental clarity:
Just drink (more) water.
Instead of spending money and focusing your energy on sweeping lifestyle changes, resolve yourself to drink more water for the next 30 days.
Before you go any further, join the Facebook group here so you can stick to your 30 day water drinking challenge and share your results with hundreds of others.
Water and Brain Function
Our brains are comprised of 75% water and there is no well-respected scientist who will deny water plays one of the most important roles for your cognition and mental performance.
Water is a vital resource for energy production in the brain. One 2011 study in Human Brain Mapping showed that although cognitive performance was not compromised during brief periods of dehydration, the brain had to work much harder to get the same results .
Looking at the fMRI data (brain scans) from this study, scientists concluded that dehydration could negatively influence planning and other executive functions.
In the short term, dehydration makes you fatigued more quickly. In the long term, it could start to decrease cognitive performance as a whole.
Hydrating your brain adequately can also increase cognitive function up to 14% . In one 2013 Frontiers in Human Neuroscience study, Dr. Edmonds and her team found patients who claimed to be thirsty saw a 14% bump in their exam scores once they had consumed adequate water.
Brain Dehydration: A Little Hurts a Lot
Even dehydration by 2% can result in reduced attention, poor memory recall, and an inability to assess your current mental state .
To put that into perspective, the U.S. Food and Nutrition Board recommends the following :
- Women: 91 ounces (2.7 liters)
- Men: 125 ounces (3.7 liters)
If you are calculating 2% of 91 or 125 ounces, the difference is between 2 – 3 ounces of water. That is a tiny margin for error with huge repercussions. The effects of dehydration on the brain are both impactful and unfortunately common.
Rules of the Challenge
While the U.S. Food and Nutrition Board has recommendations for both men and women, they also claim we consume 20% of our daily water intake from the food we eat. That leaves us with the following calculations for daily drinking water:
- Women: 72.8 ounces (2.2 liters)
- Men: 100 ounces (3 liters)
For 30 days, drink at least 50% of your daily recommended water intake before you eat anything.
If you’re a woman, drink a little over 1 liter of water and a man 1.5 liters. That’s it.
The hard part isn’t conceptualizing this challenge, it’s actually doing it. Go over to the Facebooks, join this group, and post during the month to check in for the challenge.