Proper hydration (with a Clear Theory boost) can do more than ward-off hangovers. Studies show hydration can help with symptoms of ADHD, as well as help regulate the nervous system.
Let’s face it, we all get hangovers every once in a while. When we do, we may swear to “never drink again!” But, when the next weekend rolls around we have already forgotten our gruesome, head-whacking hangover from the week before and are ready to sail into Saturday with a few drinks. Afterall, we deserve it!
Yes, we do deserve to relax and celebrate but hold the hangover, please!
What causes a hangover?
Drinking too much alcohol, (duh!). But it’s not that simple.
The actual substance alcohol isn’t completely to blame, it’s the diuretic effect alcohol has on our system (plus the lack of consistent rehydration) that can contribute to a hangover. Since alcohol is a diuretic, it makes you go to the bathroom more than you might normally, which can cause your body to lose more fluids than is healthy. In turn, your body will feel parched and stripped of essential hydration that keeps your body and mind vital.
Ever heard the term, “breaking the seal” -- which accurately (and playfully) articulates the experience of having to pee all the time during a night of drinking? This not-so-pleasant side effect of drinking is the diuretic at work; it makes you have to go. And in doing so, your body gets drained of essential fluids, like water and key electrolytes, and therefore you start to become dehydrated. When you are consuming drink after drink, you are filling your body with sugary alcohol while flushing out the good stuff. The combination is the perfect cocktail (pun intended!) for a hangover disaster.
While dehydration plays a role in causing hangovers, there are other factors to consider. Congeners and histamines. Congeners are a chemical bi-product caused by the fermentation process found in some alcohols, typically in wine and other darker liquors like whiskey or bourbon. A common and naturally occurring congener are tannins, found in the skin, seeds, and stems of grapes that make wine. Tannins are responsible for giving wine that famous dry taste; the drier your mouth feels, the higher concentration of tannins are present in the wine.
Ok, so how do tannins affect hangovers?
Tannins are known to boost serotonin levels (the stuff that is supposed to make you feel happy) in your brain. This typically sounds like a good thing but high levels of serotonin can also cause headaches in some people, which can contribute to hangover symptoms. If you are looking to reduce consumption of congeners, drink clearer alcohol like vodka or gin which have lower levels of congeners (or in the case of vodka, almost none at all).
Another factor that might be contributing to nasty hangover headaches are histamines. Histamines (the stuff that makes you itchy or congested) are typically found in fermented alcohols (like wine). So, if you suffer from seasonal allergies and your body already produces an abundance of histamines to combat the effects of pollen, then by consuming fermented drinks you might be adding fuel to the fire. If you are prone to headaches after drinking, it might make sense to experiment with cutting out fermented alcohols to reduce the chances of getting histamine-induced headaches.
What else can I do to prevent a hangover?
Besides from being stone-cold sober, or drinking very little, you probably can’t prevent a hangover altogether. But you can absolutely help yourself out by properly hydrating while enjoying a night out on the town.
Here are a few tricks to keep the hangover at bay:
- Don’t drink on an empty stomach; make sure you eat first!
- Spread out your drinks: try drinking one drink an hour -- in other terms “nurse” your drink. Under this rule of thumb, if you are out on the town for three hours then you would be consuming three drinks over the course of the night (rather than three drinks in the first hour!). We’ve all been there...
- With every alcoholic beverage you consume, drink a glass of water before starting your next drink.
- Add Clear Theory Water Booster to your glass of water to replenish your system with essential electrolytes and zinc to boost your immune system.
- The added electrolytes will help replace the electrolytes your body is eliminating during the joyous experience of “breaking the seal” (over and over again!).
- Alcohol can impair your immune system, so adding zinc to your water (an ingredient that happens to already be in Clear Theory!) could help support your immune system that is being run down by alcohol.
Generally speaking, hydration is the key to solving (or at least helping) a variety of health ailments and conditions. In addition to hangovers, studies show that proper hydration can help with symptoms of ADHD and can help regulate the nervous system.
How Proper Hydration can Help ADHD
Since Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a brain-based condition, one that impacts your behavior and executive function, it is critical to take extra care of your brain. Of course there are many ways to do this, including prescription medications, eating nutritious foods, getting good sleep, and drinking water. Hydration is a crucial component in preserving high brain function (for everyone). In fact, without proper hydration, symptoms of ADHD can get worse.
When it comes to ADHD, like most things in life, knowledge is power. Understanding how you can function better is essential to living at your highest potential. And for the most part, it's not rocket science. Small lifestyle changes (as simple as drinking more water) can improve your life.
Symptoms of ADHD
According to the American Psychiatric Association, ADHD is the most common mental disorder affecting children. In fact, an estimated 8.4% of children and 2.5% of adults have been diagnosed with ADHD. Even if you don’t have this condition, you might be surprised to see that some symptoms of ADHD are experienced by many people at one point in their lives.
According to ADDitude - Inside the ADHD Mind, “adults and children with ADHD typically exhibit some or most of the following symptoms:
- Short attention span, especially for non-preferred tasks
- Hyperactivity, which may be physical, verbal, and/or emotional
- Impulsivity, which may manifest as recklessness
- Fidgeting or restlessness
- Disorganization and difficulty prioritizing tasks
- Poor time management and time blindness
- Frequent mood swings and emotional dysregulation
- Forgetfulness and poor working memory
- Trouble multitasking and executive dysfunction
- Inability to control anger or frustration
- Trouble completing tasks and frequent procrastination
- Difficulty awaiting turn”
While of course there are many ways to treat ADHD (including medication prescribed by your doctor) there are also some basic, everyday lifestyle changes that could help combat some of these symptoms -- and water is one of them.
According to SachsCenter, studies indicate that children who drank water before a test did marketley better on the test by comparison to when they did not drink water. The study, which included 40 children around age eight, were tested on their memory recall and attention skills. The first day they were able to freely drink water at the water fountain or from a water bottle and were also given 200 mL of water at lunchtime and 300 mL of water in the afternoon. All of the water was consumed 20-50 minutes before taking the test. The next day, the same group of children were not permitted to drink any water before testing. The study found that the test results were much better on the day when water was consumed by comparison to the day water was not.
Another study, conducted with 23 seven-year-olds, showed that hydration impacted mood. The study split the participants up into two groups - one group of 11 and one group of 12. The group of 11 participants received water before taking the test and the other group did not receive any water. The test lasted 20 minutes. After 40 minutes, 500 mL of water was distributed to half of the children (with an average of 409 mL consumed), and another test began 45 minutes after the water break. Both groups were surveyed at the end of the testing and the group who drank water reported being happier by comparison to the group who didn’t drink water. Additionally, the test indicated that visual attention was also improved in the group who drank water.
Considering that our brains are made up of 85% water, it makes perfect sense why keeping our brains well hydrated would help with cognitive function, memory, and mood, (among other things), regardless of the presence of pre-existing conditions.
Your Brain Won’t Be The Only One Thanking You: Your Nervous System Will Also Reap The Benefits!
Your nervous system is a complex communication system made up of nerves and cells that transmit messages to and from the brain and spinal cord, and other parts of the body. The nervous system has a huge job: it controls your senses (sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch) as well as your movement, balance, thought process. Additionally, it regulates basic functions like, breathing, waking up, and awareness. The nervous system is analogous to the motherboard in your computer, it basically controls everything. And if it’s not running properly or is overwhelmed, just like your computer, you’ll probably be able to tell(!) i.e. it’ll slow down, shut down, not work, or explode! (Just kidding).
Unsurprisingly, your nervous system needs water to flourish. Since the nervous system controls the neurons that communicate important information throughout your body, it is critical that your nervous system is well hydrated. Without proper hydration, your brain and body may not communicate as efficiently or effectively as needed which could cause many issues.
Ok, I am convinced. But how do I get enough water?
Incorporating new routines into our lives can be hard. It’s a challenge to remember to drink enough water, especially when there are more flavorful drinks out there.
Here are a few tips that could help:
- Set a goal to increase your water intake. If the recommended eight cups of water a day (depending on your sex and weight) seems like too much to start, that’s okay. Instead, increase your water intake week by week. Maybe start with four cups a day and slowly increase to eight.
- Set a daily reminder (or several!) or use an app to help you keep track of your water intake.
- Find a drinking buddy - no, not that kind! A water drinking buddy. Someone who also wants to increase their water intake. You both can hold each other accountable.
- Add a water booster (ideally Clear Theory!) to your water to maximize flavor and increase electrolyte intake while you hydrate. Try a few different flavors like Watermelon Berry, Fruit Punch, Blue Raspberry, or Orange Vanilla, and spice things up each day.
- Use a liter water bottle so you can keep track of your daily water intake.
- Make it a habit - drink water with other routines you already do regularly, like brushing your teeth or eating meals.