When we think of finally “getting hydrated”, a lot of us think about the physical changes that it might bring. We hope for brighter skin, watching the dark circles under our eyes disappear. We hope our daily headaches will stop, we’ll lose weight, and maybe slow down the aging process.

And while those physical transformations are incredible and make it worth it all on its own, the thing about hydration that really fires me up and makes me passionate is the changes you can experience in your brain —– your cognitive functioning, mood state, and productivity to be more exact….and how that can impact everything in your life.

Let’s start with a couple definitions (source):

Cognitive function refers to abilities such as attention, memory (short-term, long-term, and working memory), learning, language, executive functions (reasoning, planning, decision making), and your visual and psychomotor functions.

Mood state includes feelings and emotions like happiness, tension, vigor or calmness. It can also include perceptions like overall mood, sensation of fatigue or headaches, perceived difficulty to concentrate or to perform a task.

You’ll quickly realize that there are few things in your life that aren’t impacted by either your cognitive function or mood state, especially your motivation and productivity.

I like to tell people that as they start hydrating they’ll probably notice physical things first — they’ll physically feel better and might even start to notice improvements in their skin, breath, or ability to maintain their weight. But that if they stick it out and are consistent, they’ll soon be amazed by the way hydration can change their brain. Below are just some of the ways¬†that hydration impacts our cognitive function and mood state to lead to more energy, heightened motivation, and increased productivity. I’d encourage you to watch for some of these as you being your journey toward Optimum Hydration:

  • More than 75% of adults live with chronic mild dehydration.
  • Just a 1-2% decrease in hydration can cause measurable cognitive impairment
  • A 3-4% decrease in hydration can reduce our productivity by as much as 25-50%.
  • Proper hydration can result in a significant increase in energy, leading to measurable increases in motivation and productivity.
  • It can take up to 2 weeks of consistent hydration to feel the positive effects, especially the cognitive effects.
  • Hydration primes our fascial system and allows our brain’s messages to transmit faster and more efficiently to all parts of our body, resulting in faster response time and less wasted energy which leads to less fatigue, slump, and brain fog.
  • Mild dehydration is enough to cause moodiness and fatigue.
  • Dehydration in children can cause and exacerbate behavior problems.
  • Although depression is complex, dehydration can impede your brain’s ability to produce serotonin and can lead to depression.
  • Water helps us mitigate the impact of stress hormones on our body by diluting the extra cortisol produced by our adrenal glands.
  • Dehydration does not cause anxiety, but dehydration can amplify anxious feelings. A brain that is properly hydrated has a better chance of navigating challenging situations.
  • Dehydration can decrease your response time and motor skills, and most people report a noticeable increase in their body’s reflexes and fine motor skills once they are properly hydrated.
  • Hydration impacts your ability to properly store and recall memories as well as the speed at which your brain accesses them.


Instead of waiting to “feel thirsty” (which is actually a bad indicator of hydration) pay attention to the signals your brain gives you that it is becoming dehydrated. When you start to feel sleepy, are lacking energy, having a hard time thinking or processing information, or catch yourself feeling moody or struggling to process emotions —- drink some water. Think of it as fuel for all the complex situations your brain is navigating every day, and when you are in particularly stressful or challenging situations rely on water to improve your performance and help you get through it.


Hydrating can be a challenge for a lot of us, but I promise that once you start hydrating consistently (for at least two weeks) and you start to experience both the physical and cognitive benefits you will never struggle to drink water again. You’ll never consider going back to your dehydrated way of living. And you’ll become way more in tune with even the most subtle signals from your body. You’ll realize how hydration gives you energy, drives your motivation, and increases your productivity and hydrating will become a lifestyle.

The way hydration impacts our brain is truly fascinating to me, and I hope this has made you start thinking more about it, too! If you’re interested in learning more bout my methods for Optimum Hydration check out my online course, The Hydration Checklist.

How Hydration Impacts Our Cognitive Function, Mood State, and Productivity

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