Struggling to concentrate at work? Feeling tired and lacking motivation? You could be dehydrated. In fact, it’s one of the top reasons we aren’t feeling at the top of our game during the day, alongside a poor night’s sleep, lack of fresh air and our diet.
Hydration: The Facts
- 60% of our body weight is water, so even mild dehydration can reduce our ability to concentrate
- Excessive amounts of caffeine can be dehydrating
- Our brains are 73% water: poor hydration can affect how our brains function
- Dehydration affects physical performance
- Adults are recommended to drink 6 to 8 glasses of water a day
So, we teamed up with Harley Street Nutritionist, Rhiannon Lambert, to speak about how we can stay hydrated and make the most of the day.
1. Drink enough water
The body is approximately 60% water and it makes sense that we need to keep this optimum level topped up. Most of us should aim to drink two litres of water a day – having a bottle of water on you will help you track your daily water intake. If you prefer some flavour in your drink, then add a squeeze of lime juice and you won’t feel you’re missing out.
2. Get enough sleep
Sleep deprivation hurts you both physically and emotionally, yet the myth exists that we can do our jobs just as well on four or five hours of sleep as we can on seven or eight.
Set aside some time to wind down into your sleep routine. Turn your phone off 30 minutes before bedtime and leave it outside the bedroom. Take a hot bath, change into dedicated pyjamas and drink some water to help you relax.
3. Think nutrients, not numbers
Calculating every single meal and restricting what you really want to eat based on calorie counting is not going to nourish your body or mind. A balanced plate will help you achieve optimum nutrition, be free from cravings and will satisfy your body’s every need. As a general rule for everyone, you can follow hand portion sizes:
- One palm of protein, such as tofu, chicken and fish
- One handful of carbohydrate, such as rice, oats, starchy vegetables and fruit
- Two handfuls of non-starchy vegetables, such as broccoli, spinach and peppers
- One thumb of healthy fats, such as olive oil, butter, coconut oil and nut butter
4. Make time for exercise
Exercise offers benefits that can improve nearly every aspect of your health. Regular physical activity can also increase the production of hormones that make you feel happier and help you sleep better.
You can get health benefits even if you split it into a few short bouts of exercise a day. Try incorporating more walking into your commute, or taking up a hobby you’ll enjoy, such as swimming or dancing.
5. Stay motivated
There is the goal-setting theory called SMART, which can help us set better goals. It states that for a goal to be truly motivating, it should be: smart, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely.
What this means is a clear and easily measurable goal that is realistic for you and set within a specific timeframe. By creating goals that meet these criteria, you will significantly increase the success rate of achieving them and you may even get superior results.
6. Don’t diet
Almost half of all Brits have tried to lose weight at some point, with the figure rising to as high as 57 per cent for just women. And almost two-thirds of dieters say that they are pretty much on a diet ‘all or most of the time’. But what faddy diet peddlers don’t share is that the true measure of a diet isn’t how you feel hours, days or even weeks later; it’s how you feel after months and years. Rhiannon tells YCB how she always empowers her clients to live a life where food has no power over them, except to bring you nourishment and joy.
7. Moderation is key
Believe it or not, having the odd indulgence can be really good for you, just try to make sure it’s not all the time. Your relationship with food and your body will only benefit from a relaxed approach. Rhiannon tends to live by the 80/20 rule: ‘I am ‘healthy’ 80 per cent of the time and then for the other 20 per cent I don’t worry about it’.