Why Hydrating Before A Major Conversation Helps You Communicate Better

If you're in a relationship, the Instagram algorithm has probably noticed and started targeting you with funny posts on a common issue  — that is, the dreaded hydration question. A trendy joke these days is couples giving each other a hard time, asking their partner if they've had enough water. One video by @JessAndQuinn that has been viewed more than 19 million times shows one such exasperated girlfriend running from her boyfriend as he asks her, "Have you drank enough water today?!" Another video by @LittleHerculette, viewed over 7 million times, shows a girlfriend saying her head hurts and mocking her boyfriend when he asks, "How much water have you had today?"

While our partners might sound annoying, they aren't wrong for thinking dehydration might be causing a whole host of problems. Studies show dehydration is responsible for headaches, fatigue, bloating, and body aches. Feeling dehydrated affects your bodily functions, which is why experts warn that if you haven't had H2O before an important conversation, it can negatively affect that discussion.

Dehydration can make communication difficult

According to the Mayo Clinic, dehydration can lead to mental confusion or that dreaded "brain fog" we often hear about. That brain fog can range anywhere from forgetfulness to slurred speech. A 2018 study published in the Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise journal indicated that dehydration also affects your attention span and ability to retain information.

"Any processes in the brain need water, so essentially nothing will function without having appropriate hydration levels, and so dehydration, in general, has a wide array of negative impacts," Dr. Margaret Morrissey, president of the National Heat Safety Coalition, told Well+Good. Now, imagine your cognitive functions are behaving this way right before a serious conversation with your romantic partner, children, colleague, or even worse, your boss — you might cringe just thinking about it. 

Relationship therapist Kimberly Panganiban also told Well+Good that you should take care of yourself before those important talks. "I always tell people it's important to 'do your own work,' and what I mean is getting yourself in the right mental and physical state so you have the ability to hear and process what the other person is saying," Not only are you doing yourself a disservice by not chugging your H20, but you're also sabotaging the point you're trying to get across.

Here's how much water you should be drinking

A 2010 review in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition indicates that around 6 cups of water, or 1.5 liters, is what you need to stay hydrated, and you will probably have to chug that well before you even attempt to have that important conversation. "It takes time for hydration to reach your body on the inter-cellular level, meaning that the fluid has reached all the cells in your body," Patricia Johnson, co-author of "Partners in Passion: A Guide to Great Sex, Emotional Intimacy and Long-term Love," told SheKnows. She recommends starting your hydration the day before your important convo.

If that important convo has to be had with your romantic partner, water can help with another activity once you're done talking. "Being sufficiently hydrated is important for female sexual response, in part because it may facilitate natural lubrication, and also because it can make it easier to experience orgasms," Johnson told SheKnows.