Water And Brain Function: How Staying Hydrated Makes You Smarter

By Steve McGrath

January 17, 2018   •   Fact checked by Dumb Little Man

Water helps keep our skin looking vibrant. It boosts our immune system and helps increase our energy level. And you know what else? Water can also make you smarter. For the brain cells to function properly, there needs to be a balance between water and various compounds. Whenever you fail to drink enough water, this balance gets disrupted and your cognitive performance declines. Apart from that, dehydration can also cause your neural pathways to shut down. As a result, the section of the brain responsible for planning and problem-solving starts struggling. Now, to help you get a clearer understanding of the relationship between water and brain function, here’s a list of how staying hydrated can make you smarter.

Think with More Clarity

Dry skin, rapid heartbeat, and sunken eyes are some of the most common symptoms of dehydration. There’s one more sign people rarely notice and that involves their brain tissues. When you fail to drink enough water, your brain is forced to work harder than usual. In one study presented to the British Psychological Society Annual Conference, it was found that undergraduate students who took water with them to an examination room performed better than their colleagues who did not.

Boosts Your Concentration Level

Recent studies also indicate that drinking enough water keeps you more attentive and alert. Zip Water conducted an experiment involving two gamers who competed against each other in a virtual game of ping pong. Rather than use controllers, the players were set up with EEG headsets, which enabled them to navigate the ball using mind control. In the end, the dehydrated player performed considerably worse than his opponent because of fatigue and a decline in focus.

Improve your Problem-Solving Skills

In a different experiment, staying hydrated was found to be indispensable for individuals trying to resolve issues. This particular study involved two chess players: a 13-year-old kid and a chess grand-master. The kid was provided with enough water while the chess master was set up in a one-man sauna during the entire game. Surprisingly, the kid won and this shows just how important hydration is to a person’s mental performance.

Improves your Memory

Are you having a hard time recalling recent activities? If you are, then you should consider switching to brain-friendly foods, like leafy greens and fish. Staying hydrated can also help. Regardless of how minor your dehydration is, it will instantly result in a homeostatic imbalance. This can affect your cognitive function, which can make it difficult for you to memorize basic things, recall information, and create long-term memories.

Improves Reaction Time

Scientists have also discovered that staying hydrated helps an individual’s brain to operate faster. Those who drink a pint of water prior to engaging in mental activities were 14% faster than those who did not drink. If you feel like your concentration is drifting, try drinking a glass of water and your brain will resume normal functioning within seconds.

Improves your Mood

Do you always argue with your partner? Do you feel irritable all the time? If you’re wondering why you’re feeling grumpy, start examining how frequent you drink water. Even the slightest dehydration can bring your mood down. Think of it this way: There are two core factors that determine an individual’s mood: energy and motivation. Drinking enough water ensures that you stay energized and motivated.

Reduces Anxiety Levels

drinking water and anxiety level Chronic anxiety can affect your life in profound ways. If you’re always overly concerned about things, this may get in your way of performing well in your job or excelling in your studies. You need to be calm if you want to ace that test or meet a deadline. The association between staying hydrated and reduced anxiety is well presented and it’s been shown to reduce cortisone levels and anxiety.

See Also: 3 Healthy and Inexpensive Ways to Cope with Anxiety

Prevents Headaches and Migraines

You won’t come up with a good house design if your head is yelling at you in pain. And even if your job is not as intricate, a migraine can make any task harder to accomplish. Based on multiple studies, staying hydrated helps to prevent and cure headaches. In fact, if you have a headache, this could be a sign that you’re dehydrated. Health experts recommend that you don’t wait up to that point you feel thirsty. By such time, you’ll have lost about 2% of the water volume in your body. Drink water as often as you can and you’ll never have to buy headache painkillers again.


Water is important for a lot of your body’s functions, including your brain’s performance. Without enough water, you can lose concentration and you’ll have difficulty recalling things. You can even get headaches and migraines. To prevent those things from happening, make sure that you drink as much water as possible. This will not only improve your skin’s health but also ensure that you remain energized and attentive at all times. Remember, water is important for every cell, tissue, and organ in your body.

See Also: Top 5 Tips On How To Stay Hydrated

Steve McGrath

Steve is a blogger, who writes for smartpillwiki.com. He writes mostly about health, medicine and lifestile topics.

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