Effects of dehydration: why you need to drink more water

One of the most powerful things you can do for yourself each day is to make sure you are regularly refilling your body’s water tank.

One of the key jobs of our blood is to remove heat from the body’s core by trapping heat in molecules of water. These water molecules are then transported to the lungs for us to breathe out or to the sweat glands, to perspire and unless it is a humid day we might not even notice this happening. As the blood gives the water away it needs to replace it with more water from the bowel, otherwise known as the body’s water tank.

Now, this all works very well, except when we are dehydrated because the body can not give heat and water away or else we would overheat and cook ourselves. So the day goes on, there’s no more water in the bowel and the water levels in the blood drops, the blood thickens, and the overall circulation is compromised. Then we stop getting adequate blood flow to the brain, which means it's not enough oxygen so it switches on a reflex designed to enrich the oxygen supply of the brain ... The YAWN.

How often do you start to yawn at 10am or 2pm in the afternoon? You think you’re tired. Your not tired, you're dehydrated. Most Australians are chronically dehydrated. When we hit the fatigue point maybe we go and get a coffee, energy drink or chocolate, something to stimulate us, then we come back to our desk or work we feel better. But the reason we feel better is that we got up and walked. Walking pushes the blood pressure up and you get blood flow, water and oxygen to the brain. However, once you sit back down or get back into work, 15-20mins is all it takes and the fatigue symptoms reappear.

The brain goes to plan B. to slow down the metabolic rate and reduced heat production and to get your body horizontal so the blood flows easier to the brain... you guessed it plan B... you start falling asleep. How often do you start falling asleep in a meeting, studying or when you’re driving a car? People fall asleep driving mainly because they are dehydrated and our Government advertises on the side of our roads to stop and drink coffee! Which only adds to further dehydration, its crazy.

You might say why don’t I feel thirsty? It's sad but 90% of Australians have lost their thirst reflex due to wetting our lips with things that don’t hydrate us like coffee, tea and soft drinks.

Dehydration is also a type of defence pattern that affects the general function of the brain, as well as specific organ and gland functions

The brain functions as a wet computer and needs water as a medium, to carry electrical impulses from one nerve to another. When we go into a fight/flight defence response, blood leaves the brain to go into the muscles. It takes with it the water we were using to help the brain function efficiently, the end result is that we have a brain with deplete fluids and is unable to function at its optimum.

This dehydrated state becomes associated not only with what caused the flight/fight response, but also any ‘perceived’ threat that would lead to flight/fight. The dehydrated state becomes a habit and is chosen as a ‘preferred’ reaction to threats.

To help your body rebalance its dehydrated state and allow it to absorb water better, put two fingers from your left hand in the hollow under your sternum, then two fingers from your right hand under that and take your left hand away. This point your right hand is touching is Central Vessel 13 a meridian point for general dehydration. Give it a firm rub (it may be tender) this allows your brain to absorb the incoming water and water already in your system better


So how much water should I drink...?

You might be shocked to realise that we need approx. 1L for every 25kgs of body weight each day. You may think ‘Whoa I can’t drink that much!’. Yes, you can, just a bit of practice and you will find it easy.

Now if you were to increase your water up to the say 3L a day (for someone weighing 75kg) you would find you would be spending a lot of time on the toilet if you started drinking that much straight away because your body needs time to adapt to the extra water. So start with ½ the daily amount required and build it up slowly over a week or two.

Points to remember

In the morning you are at your most dehydrated, you’ve been asleep for 6-9 hours with no water, sleeping under a doona, next to someone else radiating heat or even with an electric blanket. To start the day off on the right foot you need to drink ¼ of your daily water total as soon as you wake up, that way by the time your up and dressed and you walk into the kitchen your more likely to choose a healthy nutritious breakfast.

If you exercise regularly you will need more water. The rule that athletes live by is to keep drinking water after you exercise until your urine runs clear. Note: when your dehydrated our bodies hold on to our urine a lot longer, making it more concentrated and turning it yellow.

Your body needs minerals to help balance all the fluids in your system so it’s a good idea to pop into the health shop and get hand-harvested Celtic Sea Salt or Himalayan Pink Salt. These salts are highly nutritious and help manage the body’s hydration.

Do this and you will find you have more energy and sleep better, your appetite will probably drop off, you will be more alert and enjoy life a whole lot more

by Lana Storm

Lana is a kinesiologist with a passion to help you discover yourself by creating a safe environment, where you can go deeper inside yourself to release all those fears, habits, pain & beliefs that you no longer want weighing you down. To find out more about her, visit here