Summer!! The time of the year when you want to be outside all the time! And that’s great, go for it, enjoy nature and the warmer days. But don’t forget your water bottle! Your sense of thirst is unreliable – by the time you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated. Even though tea and coffee count towards your fluid intake, water is still the best way to hydrate your body and brain. Enjoy the great outdoors but don’t forget to hydrate and rest which are often overlooked helpers of your mental health.
Water is not only essential when you enjoy being outdoors in warmer weather or when you exercise. If you don’t drink enough, your brain function will be compromised, your mood can be affected, and you may even develop headaches. Once you are dehydrated, several body functions will suffer, and organs perform less efficiently: you may feel lethargic or dizzy, have difficulties concentrating and focus, your internal body temperature can be disturbed.
Your body is really clever! It can cope with short-term dehydration by changing the concentration of salts in your blood. It releases a hormone (it’s called ADH – anti-diuretic hormone), and your kidneys draw water back into the blood to balance the salt concentration until you drink again and re-hydrate. But only because you have a clever body that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t drink!
Have a water bottle on your desk or kitchen counter and whenever you walk past, have a sip. Your body and brain will thank you! As a rule of thumb, try to drink 1.5 – 2 liters of water per day, more if you are exercising.
Hydration and Sleep
It seems that a lack of sleep has become a badge of honor these days. Most people feel best after 7-8hrs of sleep, but many of us don’t sleep enough. Your body and brain are resting when you sleep, and this rest is crucial for your wellbeing. Did you know that lack of sleep can suppress your immune system, increase mood disorders, and it’s linked to gaining weight, too!
If you struggle with your sleep, stop drinking tea or coffee after 14:00; try to keep a sleep-wake pattern during the week and the weekend; eat a lighter dinner and reduce your alcohol intake as it disrupts deep sleep. Oh, and drink plenty of water!
Your diet plays a significant role in your energy levels and sleep. A few simple steps will make a big difference:
- reduce your sugar intake
- opt for whole grains rather than white flour in baked goods
- eat more protein – lean meat, fatty fish or choose plant protein in nuts, lentils, quinoa, beans, and other pulses
- Eat a lighter meal at dinnertime
Avoid the foods that slow you down: fizzy drinks, refined vegetable oils in margarine, salad dressings, or mayonnaise; low-quality dairy and animal products. Hydrate yourself appropriately every day and you will sleep better and enjoy the summer to the fullest.
Here’s to your health! Are you looking for some additional support to uplevel your health? Connect with me here!