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.