Is drinking water good for mental health?

By Bob Fear

Is drinking water good for mental health?

Can drinking water improve your mental health? Research shows that there may be links between dehydration and anxiety. Some studies suggested drinking more water could improve mood and lower tension. All of this means that staying hydrated could help maintain good mental health.

In one study, no matter how much water people normally drank, they felt more happy when they increased their water intake. Researchers discovered that people who usually stay healthily hydrated by drinking the recommended amount of water each day, experienced more tension and felt less calm and content when they drank less water than normal.

Dehydration and anxiety

In a larger, more recent study, it was found that people who didn’t drink the recommended daily amount of water experienced more anxiety. People who drank more water felt less anxiety and were at a lower risk of experiencing depression.

Further studies also found a link between dehydration and tension. People who didn’t drink enough water experienced more tension, more confusion and were more prone to depression. More studies have shown a link between dehydration and depression, confusion and fatigue.

Hydration and sleep

One study has shown that dehydration may be linked to a lack of sleep. Poor sleep can make you feel more anxious during the day and generally affect your mood. Although more research is needed, it has been suggested that staying healthily hydrated could improve the quality of your sleep and help prevent you from experiencing anxiety during the day.

Hopefully, scientific research into the links between dehydration and mental health will continue so we can gain a better understanding of how drinking more water could improve our mood. In the meantime, there are lots of symptoms to look out for that help to tell us that we need to drink more water.

Top ten signs of dehydration

  1. Feeling thirsty
  2. Dry mouth
  3. Dry skin
  4. Dark urine
  5. Constipation
  6. Tiredness and fatigue
  7. Headache or light headedness
  8. Lack of focus and concentration
  9. Poor hand-eye coordination
  10. Irritability and aggression

How much water should we drink?

The UK government’s ‘Eatwell Guide’ says we should all drink six to eight cups or glasses of water a day to replace normal water loss. That’s around 1.2 to 1.5 litres a day.

Water, low-fat milk and low-sugar or sugar-free drinks, including tea and coffee, all count. But fruit juice and smoothies contain ‘free sugars’ that are released when fruit and veg are juiced or blended. They can damage our teeth, so we should drink no more than 150ml a day. That’s about one small glass.

In hot weather or if exercising, then we should drink more. Fizzy drinks, flavoured waters, squashes with added sugar, energy drinks and flavoured milk drinks all contain lots of sugar so you should avoid these. Also beware of caffeine. It’s a stimulant that can affect some people more than others and it can also make you produce urine more often. Tea or coffee are fine as part of a healthy balanced diet.


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