Lack of Water Makes People Cranky

Staff Writer
A study shows even mild dehydration can affect a person's mood, particularly women

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

Does anyone really drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day, as doctors order?

Probably not, but a new study shows that not only does dehydration cause headaches and fatigue, but even mild dehydration can lower a person's mood, energy, and ability to think clearly.

The tests found that both young men and women suffered from fatigue when dehydrated, but mood swings were "substantially greater in females than in males, both at rest and during exercise."

And while young women found tasks more difficult when dehydrated, the study found no substantial reduction in their abilities. Lack of water, however, did cause some difficulty in vigilance and memory for young men, according to a University of Connecticut study.

"Even mild dehydration that can occur during the course of our ordinary daily activities can degrade how we are feeling — especially for women, who appear to be more susceptible to the adverse effects of low levels of dehydration than men," researcher Harris Lieberman said in a press release.

Further research is necessary to discover why females are more susceptible to mood swings when dehydrated. Past research, however, shows that neurons that detect dehydration may also signal other parts of the brain regulating mood. So if anyone is ever abnormally cranky, water, not coffee, may be the answer.

The Daily Byte is a regular column dedicated to covering interesting food news and trends across the country. Click here for previous columns.