Water and Mental Health - Benefits and Effects

Water is an integral part of the body's composition- making up about 60% of the body weight of the average person. It is a crucial component of many metabolic reactions,  optimizes body circulation and aids absorption of food. It also aids gut mobility, among other functions.

Water and Mental Health - Benefits and Effects
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In other words, it is a critical determinant of physical health.

However, much more intriguing is that studies have suggested that drinking habits may have links to mental states. This implies that water's indispensability in the body encompasses not just physical health, but mental health as well.

How Much Water Do We Need to Drink per Day?

There have been different answers to this question over the years. This is because scientists have made different submissions and recommendations in this respect. However, a safe estimate is eight glasses per day, on average.

The actual volume of water needed differs per person. This is because of differences in variables such as activity level, ambient temperature and humidity. Age may even be a determinant as well.

Also, the rate of loss of water from the skin ( sweat), kidneys (urine), lungs (vapor), affect body water levels, and in turn, water intake.

Therefore, adopting a healthy water-drinking culture is important in stabilizing water levels. This is particularly important in homes and offices, where work and stress can make one forgetful.

Water coolers at strategic locations can prove very helpful in this respect. 

Water and Mental Health

Studies have shown that water plays a profound role in mental health. This is due to its role in the nervous system. The brain is the hub of consciousness and mental states, and fluid disturbances can markedly affect its activity and cause some mood disorders.

Water intake, for example, has links to anxiety levels. Low intake of water is associated with higher anxiety levels and vice-versa.

Some studies suggest that low water intake plays a role in depression. Low water intake predisposes people to depression. Dehydration also predisposes people to stress as well.

In addition, water intake affects sleep patterns. Studies have shown that people with a poor water-drinking culture have haphazard sleep patterns. A good sleep pattern is necessary for preserving mental health and refreshing the nervous system.

Low water intake is also implicated in disruption of cognitive ability, it lowers attention spans, and so on.

How then does hydration fit in all these?

Hydration cancels out the loss of water via different routes and keeps water levels stable (or within a healthy range). This keeps the nervous system functioning optimally. It therefore prevents the arising of altered (unhealthy) mental states.


Of the various therapeutic options for maintaining mental health, it is very easy to miss out on something as ordinary as hydration. It is therefore important to adopt a healthy water-drinking habit and be very consistent with it.  

Proper hydration preserves the quality of both physical and mental health. It can also help reduce the risk of neurodegenerative diseases in the long run.

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