Written by Elise Tresley, mēle
Sometimes it’s the small habits that can drastically transform our lives. When it comes to our productivity, oftentimes these seemingly minor “life hacks” are right in front of us — like, say, our water intake.
We recently took a look at how hydration can impact our productivity. As it turns out, it can make a big difference.
If you’re looking to squeeze more out of your day, here are our top reasons for upping your H2O intake:
1. RAISE ENERGY LEVELS
Productivity’s nemesis: dehydration. Dehydration isn’t just an issue when we’ve had too many cocktails the night before — it’s actually more common than you may think. And according to the University of Connecticut’s Human Performance Laboratory, even being mildly dehydrated can have negative effects on our energy levels. On the flip side, adding more water into your daily repertoire can fight fatigue and even improve your mood.
2. BOOST BRAIN FUNCTION
Similar to our energy levels, recent studies suggest that dehydration – even a body water loss of 1–2% – can impair cognitive performance. Our brain is comprised mostly of water, so it makes sense that our hydration levels can impact our ability to think clearly. So, before you spring for that extra large latte ahead of your 2pm meeting, save yourself the five dollars and chug a glass of water instead!
3. DETOXIFY AND IMPROVE IMMUNITY
When toxins build up, they weaken our immune system. The good news is that increasing water intake helps us rid of toxins naturally and can actually prevent colds. Our immune system functions the absolute best when our muscles and organs are at peak performance — that is, they are getting plenty of oxygen and nutrients. The proper amount of water ensures that our blood stream will carry oxygen to our cells and further support the health of the rest of our system. Getting sick can certainly hinder our productivity, so why not take preventative measures into your own hands and drink up!
Now that you know drinking more water can help you knock out your to-do list more effectively, here is how to make it a habit:
1. PUT A NUMBER ON IT
The amount of water you need to drink can depend on a number of variables — your size, weight, how active you are, and the climate you live in, to name a few. The general recommended amount varies depending on what research you reference, which ranges from 13.0 - 15.5 cups for men and 9.0 - 11.5 cups for women (two sources: here and here). Another way to figure out approximately how many ounces of water you should be drinking is multiply your bodyweight by 0.67. In either case, set a goal that makes sense for you and track your progress!
2. LET TECHNOLOGY HELP
There are plenty of apps that can help you track your water intake, as well as remind you when you need to drink. Hey, we’re all busy, so why not use a free app to help make yourself more efficient? We recommend My Water Balance or Waterlogged. Both apps have a calculator, reminders, and useful tips.
3. BUY YOURSELF A WATER BOTTLE
You’re more likely to stick to your goal if you’re carrying around your own water bottle. Plus, you’ll save money and help the environment by not opting for plastic. We recommend picking a bottle that’s larger or has measurements. We’re big fans of the stylish collections from S’well and the functionality of bobble Insulate.
4. GET A JUMPSTART AND ESTABLISH A ROUTINE
We suggest starting each morning by downing a 16-ounce glass of water mixed with a squeeze of lemon. This AM ritual gets you closer to your daily goal and is a good way to spur your digestion system ahead of breakfast. Another trick to reaching your daily target is to be sure you’re drinking at least one 8-ounce glass of water with each meal.
5. THINK OUTSIDE THE PROVERBIAL "GLASS"
Another route to better hydration aside from drinking water straight from the glass is eating fluid-rich fruits and veggies. As an added bonus, when water is bound to food, it slows absorption and makes us satiated longer. We suggest eating high-H2O-content food like watermelon, strawberries, grapefruit, cucumbers, spinach, and broccoli.
From our experience, it’s relatively easy to hit your daily goal once you get into the groove. It’s often the small changes (and daily habits) that improve our productivity for the longer term. With that, we hope we’ve provided you with a little hydration inspiration!