Skip to content

Weight Loss & Diet Plans

Water and Stress Reduction: Sipping Stress Away

What's the link between water and stress reduction?
Font Size
A
A
A
By
WebMD Feature

If you’re looking for a simple way to unwind from your stress-filled life, try this: drink a glass of water.

Sound too easy? The link between water and stress reduction is well documented. All of our organs, including our brains, need water to function properly. If you’re dehydrated, your body isn’t running well -- and that can lead to stress.

“Studies have shown that being just half a liter dehydrated can increase your cortisol levels,” says Amanda Carlson, RD, director of performance nutrition at Athletes’ Performance, a trainer of world-class athletes.

“Cortisol is one of those stress hormones. Staying in a good hydrated status can keep your stress levels down. When you don’t give your body the fluids it needs, you’re putting stress on it, and it’s going to respond to that,” Carlson tells WebMD.

That doesn’t mean that drinking plenty of water throughout the day will magically cause your money problems, your kids’ troubles at school, and your deadlines at work to disappear. But if you’re already stressed by coping with all of these things, you don’t need the additional stress of dehydration to add to your burden.

“You’re actually likely to get more dehydrated when you’re under stress, because your heart rate is up and you’re breathing more heavily, so you’re losing fluid,” says Renee Melton, MS, RD, LD, director of nutrition for Sensei, a developer of online and mobile weight loss and nutrition programs. “And during times of stress, you’re more likely to forget to drink and eat well. Just getting enough fluids helps to keep you at your best during times like these.”

Stress and Dehydration: Breaking the Cycle

Stress can cause dehydration, and dehydration can cause stress. It’s a vicious cycle. You can break it by building more water consumption into your day. “Stress can result in many of the same responses as dehydration -- increased heart rate, nausea, fatigue, headache -- so if you can remain hydrated you can reduce the magnitude of the physiological responses we have to stress,” says Trent Nessler, PT, DPT, MPT, managing director of Baptist Sports Medicine in Nashville.

Today on WebMD

measuring waist
4 tips for shedding yours.
apple cider vinegar
Does it have health benefits?
 
Chocolate truffle
For weight loss, some aren’t so bad after all.
woman holding red dress
24 simple, practical tips.
 
woman shopping fresh produce
Video
butter curl on knife
Quiz
 
eating out healthy
Article
Smiling woman, red hair
Article
 
thumbnail_woman_tossing_spinach
Video
lunchbox
Article
 
What Girls Need To Know About Eating Disorders
Article
fat caliper
Tool
 

Special Sections