The Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge has a quote that starts, "Water, water, everywhere..." and it might want to finish, "...and for good reason." The degree to which you are hydrated dictates your overall state and health. In fact, few things in this universe perpetuate life as well as water.
Insert boring facts here:
- The human body is comprised of 72 to 83 percent water.
- We can live for only three days without water.
- There are approximately 30,000,000 chemical reactions happening in the human body every 10 seconds of the day.
- Ninety-two percent of these 30,000,000 reactions rely on water as a part of that reaction. If there is no water, there will be no reaction.
Now let's look at the nervous system and its responses to a well and poorly hydrated state. Remember the nervous system monitors and regulates every system in your body from your immunity to your heart, digestion, aging, etc.
There are two parts of the nervous system, one conscious that we directly control and one unconscious, or your auto pilot. The conscious one is what we use to move an arm or type a text. It is about movement. The unconscious one regulates things in our body without our direct influence. Some examples would include digestion, temperature, growth, repair, mental state, energy, clarity of thought, immunity, etc. This second system is known as the autonomic nervous system or ANS. This is the system that we use approximately 90 percent of the day. The ANS is most important to our well being.
I believe it best to drink about two to three litres of water per day. Not only does this amount of water keep us healthy, but it detoxifies our system as well. Anything less than that would have us in a state of dehydration.
In a dehydrated state, the ANS is intensely impacted upon. When we do not get enough water, our nervous system becomes more irritable and fires in a poorly regulated way. Our systems become somewhat dysfunctional and more erratic. Dehydration causes the system to be constantly 'on.' This could be considered being stuck in a mild 'fight or flight' scenario.
The dehydrated person is easily irritated; they concentrate poorly and feel rather aggravated. The body and mind are in a mild state of stress. Subsequently, the fragile system that runs all our other systems becomes uneven in its performance. The cruise control is altered and your engine revs and slows constantly.
I can describe at great length the neuroanatomy and neurophysiology of this, but I will spare you. Simply know this: your nervous system is comprised of two switches: on and off. In a well-hydrated state, these two systems function in perfect harmony, in concert with one another. In a dehydrated state, these allies are at war. To not drink enough water is like trying to light a room using a lamp without a bulb.
Try this simple experiment -- drink two to three litres of water a day for the next few days. See how you feel. Observe how you operate. "Water, water everywhere..." a simpler solution for whole body wellness has never been more available.