If we asked you to list the reasons that productivity falls over the summer months, most of the answers would be obvious – vacations, long holiday weekends, lunches that run a little long because it’s so hard to come back in from the sun. What if we told you there was a hidden culprit behind your collective inability do get things done when it’s hot? What would you say it is? Would you guess thirst?
It shouldn’t come as that much of a surprise. Our bodies are 60% water, so fluctuations in our fluid levels can really throw us for a loop. Going without drinking for even a few hours can have serious effects on your body and your brain. Read on for three reasons why skipping your drink break can ruin the rest of your work day.
Have you even been working on a project and suddenly hit a mental wall mid-morning? Most people assume they need a snack to get over the hump, but it’s just as likely that what’s needed is a drink. Several recent studies show that people have trouble completing mental tasks when they’re even mildly dehydrated. When they’re low on water, people have difficulty concentrating and have to expend more mental energy to accomplish the same amount of work. We’re even more likely to feel like a given task is difficult when we’re dehydrated. Working (short-term) memory, which helps us learn, reason, and comprehend information is also affected. Add all of this together and it’s easy to see how you might have trouble getting work done when your water bottle is empty.
You know that sleepy, worn-out feeling you get in the afternoon? The one you usually blame on eating too much for lunch? Your fatigue could have another cause. Your brain isn’t the only part of you that gets tired when you’re not drinking enough. Your body gets tired, too. In order to function properly, your body needs water. It uses it to regulate body temperature, carry nutrients to cells, flush waste, protect organs, and more. If you don’t regularly rehydrate, your body doesn’t have sufficient fluids to perform efficiently. It has to work harder to get its work done and you’re left feeling drained. So do your poor body a favor and drink an extra glass or two of water or tea this afternoon. You might just get the energy boost you need to finish the day strong.
Nothing can derail your day quite like the feel of a headache coming on. Who can work with a throbbing head? Most people chalk up the headaches that crawl up your neck and across the back of your head to tension or stress, but dehydration can cause the same sort of headache. In fact, headaches are one of the most common symptoms of dehydration. When you forget to drink, your body loses water, but it also loses electrolytes. Your brain is very sensitive to these chemical shifts and rewards you with a headache. So, next time you have a headache, instead of sipping just enough water to swallow your aspirin, fill your water bottle to the top and make sure to drink it all!
The biggest point to remember is that all of these symptoms start to pop up when you’re just mildly dehydrated. In the case of the studies we discussed, mild dehydration is considered a loss of just 1.5% of your normal water volume. Most people don’t start to feel thirsty until they’re between 1% and 2% dehydrated, so you may be suffering the effects before you even realize you need a drink! If you want to keep these productivity killers in check, the best thing to do is keep your breakroom stocked with plenty of drink options. It’s a relatively small expense that can make a big difference in the way your business operates. Next time you need to restock your breakroom, give Rogards a call. We have a great new selection of cold drinks, including water, soft drinks, iced tea, and more!