How to Stay Hydrated at Work

April 27, 2021

A Plastic Water Bottle

Let’s take a short anatomy lesson:

  • 60% of the human body is made up of water 

  • The heart and brain are composed of 73% water

  • The lungs are composed of 83% water

  • The skin contains 64% water 

  • Kidneys and muscles contain 79% water

  • Bones contain 31% water

So, when you don’t drink enough water, your body starts to shut down. Any deficit that occurs in your normal body water, whether it’s through dehydration, exercise, heat stress, or sickness, can make you feel rotten. 

First, the thirst starts and leads to fatigue. Slowly, you develop a headache, and your mood begins to sour. Eventually, you become grumpy and snap at the people around you. The mild headache turns into full-blown distress, and finally, your body goes towards physical decline. Though you don’t see your body losing water with your naked eye, it does happen via your breath, feces, urine, and skin.

What Happens When Your Body Loses Water

The moment you start to feel thirsty, it means you are already dehydrated. Your thirst mechanism works a little late compared to the feeling of dehydration. According to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, dehydration affects your memory, attention, and mood and motor coordination negatively. When you exercise or expose yourself to heat, your body loses more water

Data in this area is a bit contradictory and lacking because not many studies include other affecting factors, such as caffeine and alcohol intake. However, a study published in the Journal of Neuroradiology revealed that dehydration impacts your brain by decreasing the tissue fluid, which reduces the volume in this body party and temporarily compromises cell function. 

When the body loses water at a rapid pace, your blood turns more concentrated, which triggers the kidneys to work harder to retain water. As a result, you urinate less. The more concentrated and thicker your blood gets, the harder it becomes for the cardiovascular system to reimburse the water. This increases your heart rate so that the body can maintain blood pressure.

Dehydration that occurs due to heat, stress, or exercising is more harmful. It carries a risk of exhaustion and can even make you collapse. Have you ever exercised for so long and hard that when you took a break, you felt as if you were about to faint? For a while, little black spots come in front of your eyes and stop you from walking in a straight line. That’s dehydration telling you to drink a glass of water!

Less water hampers the attempt of the body at regulating temperature and causes hypothermia. At the body’s cellular level, when water is borrowed to make sure that other body parts are working properly, shrinkage occurs. Since water is being supplied to selected body parts, the brain senses this division and triggers the thirst sensation.  

How Much Water Intake Is Recommended

The amount of water you should drink daily depends on a couple of factors, like your body composition, clothing, climate, metabolism, and diet. Experts recommend that adult males should drink 3.7 liters/day and females 2.7 liters/day. 80% of your daily water should come from beverages such as water, alcohol, and caffeinated drinks. However, we suggest that you stay away from the latter two.

Here’s a chart that lists how many glasses of water you should drink in a day according to your weight:

Weight

8 oz. of Glasses

80lbs / 36.2874 Kg

5

100lbs / 45.3592 kg

6.25

120lbs / 54.4311 Kg

7.5

140lbs / 63.5029 Kg

8.75

160lbs / 72.5748 Kg

10

180lbs / 81.6466 Kg

11.25

200lbs / 90.7185 Kg

12.5

220lbs / 99.7903 Kg

13.75

240lbs / 108.862 Kg

15

260lbs / 117.934 Kg

16.25

280lbs / 127.006 Kg

17.5

300lbs / 136.078 Kg

18.75

330lbs / 149.685 Kg

20


A great way to track whether you are drinking enough water is to monitor your urine output. On a regular day, you should urinate at least 3 to 4 times. The color of the urine should light yellow or pale straw. If you are urinating less frequently, and the urine is pungent or too dark in color, you need to drink more water. 

Now that you know the basics of dehydration and how it affects your body, let’s discuss how lack of water impacts your work efficiency.

How Dehydration Affects Work Productivity

Did you know that your work productivity falls by 12% when you are dehydrated? The more your body loses water, the more difficult it becomes to work at your 100%. When you are dehydrated to the point you feel lethargic and lightheaded, it means you have lost about 3% to 4% body water and your work productivity has fallen by 25%. 

As a result, you experience reduced alertness and concentration, slower reaction times, and decreased cognitive abilities. Below are these problems explained in detail:

  • Slower Reaction Time

A 3% decrease in your body water can have the same effects as .08% blood alcohol content. In this state, you are 5 times at risk of getting into a car accident. So, imagine not drinking water at work at all and then heading home in your car in a stressed and dehydrated state. Drinking a glass of water could mean the difference between life and death.

  • Reduced Alertness and Concentration

Dehydration can reduce your physical as well as mental performance. Drinking water is as much important for office employees as for on-site workers. One of the most common causes of dehydration is air conditioning. Water content from the air vanishes due to the cold air, which increases the loss of water through the skin and from the lungs.  

  • Decreased Cognitive Abilities

That tired feeling you experience every now and then in the office is because of dehydration. Employees often forget to drink water in the chaos of completing projects and deadlines. The mistakes you are making in your work are because you aren’t working at your full capacity.

Here are five tips to keep you healthy and energized at work:

5 Tips on How to Stay Hydrated at Work

Drink lots of water… that’s a given! However, sometimes, it can be a little difficult to keep track of what you are putting in your body. Here’s how you can keep your reservoir full all the time:

1. Bring a Personal Water Bottle to Work

Keeping a water bottle on your desk can enforce the habit of drinking at regular intervals. Get a cute, stylish water bottle, and you will see how it changes your life. It will fulfill a practical purpose and boost your mind every time you will reach for it. Don’t forget to take your water bottle everywhere with you and refill it before the water reaches its end.

2. Add Flavor to It

Some people don’t like to drink water. Just look at Jake Peralta from the TV show Brooklyn Nine-Nine. In one episode, Amy Santiago talks about the benefits of drinking water and how Jake has been neglecting his body’s basic needs. That episode got us thinking, and an idea was created. You can make your water a bit flavorful by adding fruits or veggies to it such as strawberries, raspberries, cucumbers, etc. There are even zero-calorie flavored packets available, which you can pour into your water bottle. Lastly, if you want a little fix, try flavored soda water. 

3. Eat Hydrating Foods

What’s your lunch like? Do you grab a croissant and a slice of cheesecake from the cart downstairs and pair it with your protein shake or order a burrito? Both options are a bit heavy and don’t hydrate your body that well. We suggest having hydrating foods, which translates to a salad or food bowl. Some of the best hydrating fruits and vegetables are cucumber, tomatoes, spinach, broccoli, oranges, apples, mushrooms, watermelons, and blueberries. 

4. Stay Away from Caffeine and Alcohol

This one’s a no-brainer! Yes, caffeine can help boost cognitive function. However, having too much of it will overcharge you and make you come down crashing from the high in a matter of minutes. As for alcohol, say goodbye to Happy Hour and stop indulging in ever a few sips. Alcohol affects your overall capabilities, and that’s a fact! So, better stay away from both these beverages.

5. Drink Milk

According to a study published by the McMaster University, a glass of milk is more refreshing compared to sports drinks or water. Milk is full of carbohydrates, protein, electrolytes, and calcium that keep you energized.

Final Thoughts

And there you have it ― five of the best and easily manageable tips to keep yourself hydrated at work. There are plenty of other ways how to stay hydrated at work such as slurping soup, turning your fruits into ice lollies, etc. You just need to find the right balance to keep up with your personal life and water intake. In case, you are still having trouble completing your recommended water intake for the day, we suggest setting reminders on your mobile phone.  

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