Brains Need Water

Of course humans need water for many reasons, but I was still impressed by this:

Brain cells require a delicate balance between water and various elements to operate, and when you lose too much water, that balance is disrupted. Your brain cells lose efficiency.

Years of research have found that when we’re parched, we have more difficulty keeping our attention focused. Dehydration can impair short-term memory function and the recall of long-term memory. The ability to perform mental arithmetic, like calculating whether or not you’ll be late for work if you hit snooze for another 15 minutes, is compromised when your fluids are low.

Over the course of a typical twenty-four hour period, the longest spell most of us go without fluid intake is the six to eight hours we spend sleeping. Sleeping is hardly the kind of activity that you sweat over, but that doesn’t mean you’re not losing water during the night. With every somnolent breath, you expel moisture, and the cumulative effect of a night’s sleep is to dry out.

according to Joshua Gowin, a neuroscience doctoral student.

If the “delicate balance” is important, then too much water is probably bad as well.

I’ve experienced a light headache or near-fainting spell after sitting indoors without drinking enough water. I’m pretty sure that mild dehydration is possible without feeling extremely thirsty.