Mild dehydration is classified as a 1% loss in body mass and studies have shown that this deficit can result in reduced concentration and awareness levels. Many of us can be mildly dehydrated without even knowing it, which means our performance is not what it should be; but during a week like the one we’ve just had with such sweltering temperatures, it can play havoc with our bodies, mental agility and mood.
A study entitled ‘Mild dehydration impairs cognitive performance and mood of men’ published in the British Journal of Nutrition in 2011, studied the effect that dehydration can have without incurring hyperthermia – the condition of having a body temperature greatly above normal.
The test group of 26 young men, with an average age of 20 years, participated in three randomised trials. Each trial had the men complete three 40 minute treadmill walks at 5.6 km/hour, on a 5% grade in a 27.7 °C environment. During each trial an extensive computerised cognitive test battery was administered examining mood states, vigilance, reaction time, short-term spatial memory and pattern recognition, learning, and logical reasoning, amongst others.
The results showed that the level of dehydration achieved in the study, without incurring hyperthermia, is similar to the level of mild dehydration encountered routinely by adults during a normal work day. This led to adverse changes in vigilance and working memory, and increased levels of tension/anxiety and fatigue.
So yes, being mildly dehydrated definitely impairs productivity, but add to that the extreme heat we’re currently experiencing which can lead to heat stroke and ultimately hyperthermia, and the detrimental results above may become even worse. Which is why it’s imperative at all times, but especially during periods of extreme heat to keep ourselves properly hydrated – make sure you visit your office water cooler multiple times during the day, set an alarm if you must; and increase your water intake while at home as well.
And remember, for all your office water needs, call AquAid – we’re the UK’s leading water cooler supplier and will provide an affordable water solution perfectly tailored to your needs.
We’ve all been sweltering in the heat wave this week! Understandably we’ve been visiting the office water cooler more often during the day to replenish all the water we’ve lost, but it’s not only our bodies that suffer during these extreme times – our gardens are also worse off for it. And if one considers that heat waves and drought are very much part of our new ‘normal’, then we need to give some thought to better planning, going forward.
Here are a few tips to help with the next heat wave and with the increasing pressure of saving water:
Reduce Lawn Size
Yes it’s obvious, but unless you already have a postage stamp sized lawn, you might want to consider reducing your lawn size. Replacing or breaking up vast expanses of green grass with hard landscaping like stone pathways, a beautiful gazebo or even a super-sized sandbox if you have little ones are all ways of using less water; because let’s be honest, as much as we all love grand expanses of green grass, nothing looks worse than grand expanses of yellow grass.
Water More Effectively
Yes your garden needs water, but it benefits more from a deep watering once or twice a week than it does from a light wetting more frequently – remember that shallow watering leads to shallow root systems all of which reduces the plants vigor and longevity. And it goes without saying that you need to water either early morning or late evening to avoid unnecessary evaporation during the warmer hours.
Mulch More Efficiently
Cover your garden with mulch at least twice a year, it helps your garden retain moisture for longer which means you’ll need to water less frequently. Mulch is typically organic matter which can take the shape of leaves, grass clippings, peat moss, bark chips or straw, to name but a few. Using your lawn cuttings is one of the better ideas, because not only will it help your garden remain wet for longer, but it also means less garden refuge to take away.
So here’s to keeping not only ourselves cool and hydrated during these dreaded heat waves, but to keeping our gardens beautiful too!
As adults we know when we’re feeling the effects of a heat wave and dehydration, we know it means making far more regular trips to the water cooler and canteen, we know it means conserving our energy; but with children it’s a lot more challenging.
Children don’t perspire as much as adults do, which means their bodies are inclined to overheat more quickly. They don’t always act on their thirst mechanism, which may also not be fully developed in some cases. And they don’t know how to conserve energy, most children generally move at one speed – hyper speed.
So how are you to keep children safe during heat waves like the one we’re just coming out of?
- To begin with, don’t wait for them to start showing signs of fatigue and lethargy – by then it’s too late and they may already be dehydrated, instead give them water at regular intervals during the day.
- Keep time outdoors limited, unless it means paddling or swimming in a pool, but even then you’ll need to keep a watchful eye, because the excitement of water play can initially mask the symptoms of overheating.
- Make water intake fun, add sliced fruits or berries to their water, keep lots of frozen juice lollies and juicy fruits handy – you can also try fancy ice cubes in their favourite superhero shapes and a kiddies water cooler just for them.
- If they’re older and have access to a smartphone (even if it’s yours) or a tablet, then consider using an app that encourages water intake, something like Plant Nanny is ideal because it’s highly interactive – you choose a seedling and help it grow by tracking how much water you drink.
By being careful and ensuring they drink water as regularly as you do, you’ll make sure they breeze through these heat waves without feeling any adverse effects.
The University of Warwick led a study to determine whether happy employees work harder, and as it turns out they do – in fact, they’re 12% more productive.
The study included four different experiments with more than 700 participants. During the experiments participants were shown either a comedy clip or treated to free chocolates, fruit and drinks; while others were questioned about recent family tragedies, to assess whether lower levels of happiness were later on associated with lower levels of productivity.
One of the researchers, Dr Sgroi, added: ‘The driving force seems to be that happier workers use the time they have more effectively, increasing the pace at which they can work without sacrificing quality.’
So what does this have to do with a water cooler you might ask?
Well, if we know that happier employees work harder and are more productive, then it stands to reason that we’ll want to encourage happiness wherever we can! And one of the things conducive to happiness is a healthy body, and one of the factors contributing to that, is ensuring we remain properly hydrated – ergo, regular visits to the office water cooler.
Many companies provide additional perks like gym memberships and healthcare plans, but if you’re not a Google or an Apple, your budget will probably not run that high, so here are 5 suggestions that any business can implement which will help make your office a happier (and therefore more productive) place to work:
- Build respect and trust
- Have a positive office culture
- Acknowledge, recognise and reward employees who work hard
- Encourage growth and creativity, and
- Ensure open communication at all times.
Many of us spend more time at work than we do at home, so aim to make your office a happy place to work and you’ll end up with happier, more engaged, and more productive employees!
The principle function of a water cooler is to dispense water – that invaluable natural resource that none of us can live without. Naturally we talk about water a lot, how it allows our bodies to perform optimally, how it improves our health, lifts our mood and increases our productivity in the office. We also talk about the lack of water for people in third world countries and how AquAid established the Africa Trust to help bring clean and safe drinking water to impoverished communities. But there’s also the poetic side of water – the side that acts as a symbol, the side that inspires, which we don’t touch on frequently, so here are a few of our favourite water related musings, courtesy of Everyday Power :
Nothing is softer or more flexible than water, yet nothing can resist it. – Lao Tzu
A drop of water, if it could write out its own history, would explain the universe to us. – Lucy Larcom
The fall of dropping water wears away the Stone. – Lucretius
When the well’s dry, we know the worth of water. – Benjamin Franklin
When life places stones in your path, be the water. A persistent drop of water will wear away even the hardest stone. ― Autumn Morning Star
Human nature is like water. It takes the shape of its container. ― Wallace Stevens
Thousands have lived without love, not one without water.― W. H. Auden
All water is holy water. ― Rajiv Joseph
Love, like a river, will cut a new path whenever it meets an obstacle. – Crystal Middlemas
Always be like a water. Float in the times of pain or dance like waves along the wind which touches its surface.― Santosh Kalwar
You can’t cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water. – Rabindranath Tagore
A river cuts through rock not because of its power but because of its persistence. – Jim Watkins
In one drop of water are found all the secrets of all the oceans; in one aspect of you are found all the aspects of existence. ― Kahlil Gibran
You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.― Mahatma Gandhi
Pure water is the world’s first and foremost medicine. – Slovakian Proverb
Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.― Ryunosuke Satoro