We all know the familiar feeling of brain fog: you’re staring at the computer screen, scrolling through your phone, or listening to a podcast or speaker, and what you’re seeing or hearing simply doesn't register. That’s because brain fog saps our focus and impairs our cognitive function. The good news is, at least one common cause of brain fog—not drinking enough water—is easily avoidable.
You may not realize the massive impact hydration has on the body and mind. As awareness around mental health increases, the under-the-radar, brain-boosting benefits of water and hydration have become clearer. From brain function to concentration, here’s how hydration supports brain health and keeps brain fog at bay.
Even Slight Dehydration Clouds the Mind
Did you know that being dehydrated by just 2% can create brain fog that impairs your ability to maintain attention and perform basic cognitive tasks? That's in part because lack of water can impact blood flow to the brain. Think about this: The human body is 75 percent water.
When so much of us is made of water, even one missing glass of water can make a huge difference to our health.
The effects of dehydration and lack of water may start small—mental clarity slipping and wandering, short-term memory lapses, and poor concentration—but the more dehydrated we get, the more drastic the symptoms become. One study showed that a group of young men and women suffered from visual and working memory deficiencies when acutely dehydrated. In other words, a little dehydration had a major impact on them.
Beyond brain fog, additional mental symptoms of dehydration can include:
And we haven’t even mentioned the physical side effects—including muscle cramps, dry mouth, low blood pressure, and high body temperature—you may experience as well. The bottom line is if you want to keep your body and brain at their best, make sure you're drinking plenty of water.
Now that we’ve covered the drawbacks of dehydration, let's take a look at how proper hydration actually helps your brain by boosting your mood and cognitive function.
Water Can Improve Cognitive Function
We all want to stay sharp so we can perform our best at work, at school, at home, at the gym, and beyond. Anything less means we're missing out. A well-hydrated brain ensures the adequate exchange of nutrients and toxins in your head, thereby supporting concentration, focus, and mental alertness.
In multiple studies, people who increased their daily water intake felt less sleepiness, thirst, and confusion. For older adults, these effects were even greater; which is especially crucial considering age can increase risk of cognitive impairment. Even students stand to benefit from hydration. Another study found that students who took an exam after having plenty of water performed better on memory and visual attention tasks than those who did not drink water beforehand.
No matter your age or what you do, more water means clearer thinking (and thus, higher mental performance).
Water Can Scientifically Boost Your Mood & Happiness
Feeling down? Drink up. When the chemicals in your brain are out of whack, you can get down. Dehydration can be the catalyst to that chemical imbalance. Even mild dehydration has been proven to alter mood; but drinking water can help get you back in balance and snap out of that sour mood.
In a 2014 study, researchers found that people felt more happiness when they increased their water intake—regardless of how much water they usually drank in a given day.
The point is, water has the power to help you feel better physically, mentally, and emotionally by ensuring you’re adequately hydrated. You might say it's a secret self-care technique hiding right under your nose.
Water Quality Can Affect Mental Health
Now that you see the mental benefits of staying hydrated, remember this: It's not just the amount of water we drink that's important; what's in our water matters, too.
Common contaminants found in tap water can be linked to everything from cancer, thyroid conditions, and bone disease to liver, kidney, and reproductive problems. But did you know specific contaminants like lead and arsenic can be connected to numerous mental health issues like increased anxiety and depression, OCD, and other neurological disorders?
The most alarming part about this is that lead contamination is a national problem affecting millions of Americans from coast to coast, and arsenic has been found in public drinking water in all 50 states. Now we don’t share these statistics to scare you—we share them to empower you. As you get your fill of water, you don’t want to inadvertently put your health at risk. That’s why we recommend protecting yourself and your health with our advanced water filters certified to target and remove arsenic, lead, and hundreds of other dangerous contaminants commonly found in public water supplies.
Special Considerations For Hydrating Properly
We all lose water and other essential fluids via sweat (so much so that you can lose pounds of body weight while exercising). If you’re an avid exerciser, hanging in heat, or enjoying other physical activity, you probably need to increase your fluid intake and drink more ounces of water to combat dehydration and rehydrate properly.
Beyond getting your fill of clean water, there are extra options available to boost your hydration. Try eating water-rich foods like cucumbers or zucchini (these veggies are 95-96% plain water) and drinking electrolyte-rich beverages to quickly combat excessive fluid loss. We talk more about hydration for athletes and exercisers here.
Drinking Clean Water Helps Keep Brain Fog Away
Drinking water has a whole suite of mental health benefits. From boosting happiness and mood to enhancing concentration, focus, and memory, proper hydration helps us think clearly and feel great. Dehydration, on the other hand, has its own suite of detriments; including memory lapses, poor mental clarity, increased anxiety, and, of course, brain fog.
But as we mentioned previously, what’s in your water matters. Drinking contaminated tap water can cause illness and disease. That’s why Clearly Filtered removes hundreds of contaminants typical carbon filters can't, including those that affect mental health and brain function (like arsenic, lead, and more). Upgrade to Clearly Filtered today to get easy access to clean water that protects you, your family, your body, and your brain. With our advanced water filters, you can finally trust every drop.