HOW DRINKING THE ACTUAL RECOMMENDED AMOUNT OF WATER, CHANGED MY LIFE!
My whole life I’d been told ‘You should drink more water’, but I never really took it on board. I thought I was a relatively healthy person – I had put the occasional dry skin, headaches and energy slumps down to the ageing process, bad weather, and working too much. I told myself that I was too busy during the day that I simply forgot to drink, or that I didn’t have time to take my hands off the keyboard and sip on a bottle! Overall, I thought I was fine, just as I was.
However, as I wised up and became more aware of how my habits affected my overall health, I started reconsidering my relationship with the good ol H20. I started to question what I might be missing out on by not hydrating as much as I should. So, I asked around and was blown away by how many other people were like me. Even the most health-conscious people I knew forgot to prioritise it.
What is it about drinking water that is so difficult for the majority of us? Is it the ‘busyness’ that’s getting in the way, the water itself, or is it simply that we take its function for granted and think we can get away with not drinking as much as we should?
I set myself a 30-day hydration challenge, where I was determined to drink 1L a day.
Over the thirty days I decided to track my moods, thoughts, and habits on a simple, home-made fridge calendar. What I soon came to realise was that it wasn’t just about having a fancy water bottle by my side that was the problem, it was that I had never experienced the true impact staying well-hydrated had on my life. My mind and body didn’t know what I was missing out on, therefore I’d never had the incentive to do it.
We all know the basic reasons for why we need, and should, hydrate; however after the first 6 days I started to observe another benefit I’d never considered would be connected to my hydration levels.
I noticed that the amount of water I consumed, had a massive impact on my mood.
If I had 500ml or less a day, I was fine for that day, but the following one I experienced dips in my emotions, a lack of mental motivation, and trouble pulling myself out of negative self-talk. When I consumed between 750ml – 1L a day my mind was quiet, I could manage my internal critique, I could bounce back from lower emotions easily, I was generally more happier and energised for longer, and I was way more creative!
So what’s going on here exactly?
I dug a little deeper and discovered that water plays a key role in regulating our moods and keeping our internal chemical balance in check. When we cut off our water supply two key things in our body get affected – our serotonin and cortisol levels. They are two very big players in managing mood levels and stress for the human body. If you’re into the science of it all check out the key points below:
- There is this cool amino acid we get from protein rich foods called ‘Tryptophan’. This bad boy is the key ingredient for making serotonin, a chemical in the brain which regulates our moods. Without Mr T our bodies can’t make serotonin – so he’s a pretty big deal.
- Tryptophan travels through our blood barriers via WATER. If we aren’t having enough water in our day we are making this journey very difficult. If Mr T doesn’t get through we don’t get sufficient levels of serotonin, which results in states of depression or ‘low’ moods. Cue self-doubt, criticism, fatigue, irritability etc…
- Besides not helping our body make enough serotonin, when we don’t have sufficient water throughout the day our body literally stresses out! It starts pumping out cortisol – the hormone that triggers our ‘fight or flight’, or commonly referred to as the ‘stress hormone’. This starts a viscous cycle, because when the body releases cortisol it goes into overdrive, and it ends up using more fluids in the body. But because you don’t have any fluid in the body it ends up stressing out even more, and finally you think you need to reach for a coffee to control it – which dehydrates the body even more. So, no wonder your emotions go on a roller coaster ride and you are unable to manage them effectively. Your body believes it has bigger fish to fry in just keeping you alive.
By digging deeper into the science behind it all, and experiencing first-hand the negative AND positive impacts daily hydration has on my overall wellbeing, I now have my WHY.
The impact hydration had on my moods was a big wake-up call, and a motivator
to stick to my daily drinking habits moving forward.
So, if you are like me and had previously thought your lack of hydration was ‘ok’, I invite you to challenge yourself to drink at least 1L of water and day and track the results – even if it’s just for two weeks. You will experience a difference that will never have you looking back, and ensuring you take your hands off the keyboard for a sip or two!