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Dehydration May Result in Lower Reaction Times

Water makes up about 60% of our bodies and some studies say that up to 75% of Americans are dehydrated. That fact could mean serious repercussions for brain performance, as a study has recently been released suggesting that even mild dehydration may lead to noticeably shorter reaction times.

Participants in the study included 34 adults who had nothing to eat or drink overnight. They were tested on two mornings for memory, attention, learning, and reaction time. On one morning they were given a cereal bar and 500ml of water before the tests and on the other morning they were given only a cereal bar.

The researchers tested the participant’s reaction times on both mornings and found that on the morning that the participants did not drink water they had a 14% lower reaction time when compared with the morning they did drink water.

An unexpected result, however, was that performance on the complex-rule-learning task was worse after drinking water, but only in the individuals who had reported especially high thirst after the night without water. In the other participants, with lower levels of thirst, the results were the same.

Researchers from the University of East London and the University of Westminister, London, conducted the study. It was published on July 16, 2013, in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.

Stay hydrated throughout the summer by making sure you drink at least eight glasses of water daily. If you have trouble remembering to drink water, consider buying a reusable water bottle that you can keep with you at all times.

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