In the fast-paced world of business, where strategic thinking and quick decision-making are vital, cognitive performance is your key to success. While diet and sleep are often highlighted, there’s another crucial factor that can’t be ignored: hydration. In this blog post, i’ll discuss the importance of hydration for cognitive performance and offer some tips to help you stay sharp.
The Brain and Water: An Essential Partnership
Your brain, the powerhouse behind your success, heavily relies on water to perform at its best. Did you know that:
- The brain is made up of about 75% water, highlighting the crucial role of hydration in maintaining its structure and function.
- The brain uses around 20% of your daily water intake, while the digestive system uses another 20%. This means that out of the 2-3 litres of water you consume daily, almost half is required for proper brain and digestive function which starts to highlight the role it has in the gut-brain connection.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has highlighted the impact of dehydration on fatigue, stating that even mild dehydration (>2%) can lead to reduced cognitive function, including attention, alertness, and short-term memory. As a business leader, you can’t afford to compromise your cognitive performance due to dehydration. Contrary to popular belief, dehydration is not just an issue faced by athletes during training; it’s a daily struggle for a significant portion of the population in their day to day life.
Hydration and Cognitive Performance: The Connection
Adequate hydration is essential for various aspects of cognitive performance, including:
- Concentration: Dehydration can impair focus, making it difficult to concentrate on tasks at hand.
- Decision-making: Studies have shown that dehydration can negatively affect decision-making abilities, a critical skill for business leaders.
- Mood regulation: Dehydration can lead to mood fluctuations and irritability, impacting your overall well-being and ability to lead effectively.
Tips: Hydrate for Success
Now that you understand the importance of hydration for cognitive performance, here are some tips to help you stay on top of your game:
- Put drinking more water on your radar. The first step in behaviour change is making this something you’re conscious of.
- Drink more water! To support optimal brain function, make sure you’re consuming enough water throughout the day (minimum 2.1L women, 2.6L men). Keep a water bottle handy as a reminder. Once you nail this, we can then focus on looking at electrolytes you may need to add.
- Monitor your hydration status: Pay attention to your body’s signals, such as thirst, urine colour, and frequency of urination, to ensure you’re staying adequately hydrated.
In conclusion, don’t underestimate the power of hydration for cognitive performance. As a business leader, every decision and strategic move you make can impact your organisation’s success. Give your brain the hydration it needs to perform at its best, and watch your performance soar.
If you’re needing a speaker for your executive team, wider business or upcoming conference, Jess has a number of topics she regularly speaks on including performance nutrition for the corporate world, cognitive performance, sleep, gut microbiome, energy management and more. Jess is Sydney based but can travel, or also present virtually. You can find out more information here.