This article exists as part of the online archive for HuffPost Australia, which closed in 2021.

Tired? Struggling To Concentrate? There Could Be A Simple Fix

Tired? Feeling Cloudy? There May Be A Simple Fix (And It's Not Coffee)
Man Sleeping at His Desk
Tim Pannell/Fuse via Getty Images
Man Sleeping at His Desk

Derek Zoolander put it best when he said "water is the essence of wetness". Fact is, the human body is made up of about 60 percent water and we need to be adequately lubricated to live.

Though, not all of us are drinking enough.

An independent study conducted by Galaxy Research on behalf of Sodastream (a brand with vested interest but the findings are interesting nonetheless) discovered that 80 percent of Australians suffer from symptoms typical of dehydration and the majority don’t recognise those symptoms.

We're not just talking about feeling thirsty. In fact, thirst comes well after you're mildly dehydrated. The study found that there is mass confusion around the effects of dehydration, with only a third of Aussies recognising key symptoms like lethargy, loss of energy and lack of concentration, despite the majority (80 percent) suffering them a regular basis.

"Consuming the right amount of fluids is absolutely essential to how our brains function," neuroscientist Dr Sarah McKay told The Huffington Post Australia.

"Our brains require that ideal homeostasis to function normally. A strong biological indicator we've got is thirst, but mild symptoms of lethargy and loss of concentration they would kick in in prior to that. That's what a lot of people aren't recognising."

So, we need to drink more. But how much? And how often?

"Eight glasses a day is one of those myths out there as there are so many factors. The NHMRC (National Health and Medical Research Council) doesn't have a recommended guideline of eight glasses a day because it depends on your age, climate, and level of physical activity. For women it depends on if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Those variations differ quite widely," McKay said.

If you get to 3pm and realise you haven't had any H20 it's wise to drink up, though skolling a litre at a time isn't the best approach.

"From my neuroscience perspective I think that any healthy habit or behavior that you can make it an auto habit is best. Try having a glass of water every time you go to the toilet and wash your hands. Or every time you get up from your desk at work. Tag that behavior to another existing habitual behavior," McKay said.

Lastly, and arguably most importantly, don't forget about the kids.

"The people who are most vulnerable are the elderly and children. Three-quarters of kids are beginning their school day not adequately hydrated. Essentially we have our kids going into the school day grumpy, with lack of concentration, so it's important to ensure children begin the day adequately hydrated. I have two little boys and I have become so aware of ensuring they begin their day adequately hydrated. Sparking water can help if they don't like tap water," McKay said.

Or, try these fun ice cube ideas.

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