Encourage staff to drink for greater productivity, says study

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A lack of concentration at work throughout the summer could be due to dehydration, researchers at the University of East London and the National Hydration Council have warned.

The European Food Safety Authority recommends the consumption of 2.5 litres of water per day for men and 2.0 litres for women in accordance with NHS guidance, but a new survey from the National Hydration Council found that one in ten GP consultations are linked to dehydration.

Dr Emma Derbyshire, nutritionist and adviser to the Natural Hydration Council added:

“On average our brain is about 70 percent water. Studies show that even a reduction in hydration levels as little as two percent body weight may lead to impaired cognition and physiological responses.

Dehydration at work can lead to a dip in productivity due to the impact on cognition, as well as endangering the health of employees. The researchers are calling for staff to keep a bottle of water with them throughout the day – particularly during a warm commute – for greater health and efficiency.

Reaction time is the greatest impairment of dehydration, creating potential hazards for workers who drive or operate heavy machinery as part of their job. Further research from the University of East London demonstrates that people who drink water prior to performing a mental task had a reaction time of 14 percent faster than those who did not have a drink.

Dr Caroline Edmonds, Senior Lecturer at the School of Psychology, the University of East London, said:

“Hydration effects brain activity and poor hydration can have an adverse effect on alertness, concentration and short-term memory.

“Research that we have conducted suggests mental performance, such as visual attention and memory can improve if you drink water.”

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2 Comments - Write a Comment

  1. Misquotation from the good doctor. Should be “reduction in hydration” not “reduction in dehydration”

  2. Thank you Terry – updated.

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