How often have you heard the words “I hate water”. “I don’t drink water”, among children, teens and adults?
Many children, teens and adults take inadequate quantities of water each day. They are sub-clinically dehydrated much of the time and underperform in school, college and at work. They feel tired, drained out and don’t feel as well as they could. Normally peaceful and calm children become cranky and misbehave when they are dehydrated.
The role of water in behaviour control for children is seriously overlooked in Ireland. I believe that from early childhood we should be encouraging them to sip water and to hold the sip of water in their mouth until saliva is produced. When saliva is produced in the mouth it means that the brain and body have properly recognised what has been ingested. In the case of water this means that the brain and body know that adequate supplies of clean water are available.
Clean water was the only drink that our ancestors had and there is a special process for absorbing water that ensures we can re-hydrate quickly when we sip and hold water in the mouth for a few seconds.
When the brain and body feel sure that adequate supplies of fresh drinking water are available then the water already in the system can be redistributed to optimise thinking, learning, memory, concentration, movement and self-control.
When the brain and body system notice that there is a shortage of water – because the person isn’t drinking water regularly, it tends to ration where the water is used. Good behaviour and self-control depend on having adequate supplies of water as well as a healthy balance between blood sugar and insulin and as well as a number of other factors that allow a person to be at peace in body and in mind.
I believe that water plays a major role in regulating behaviour. Notice what happens to your body when you become dehydrated when on holidays in a warmer country or on hot summer’s days here. You may become cranky, lethargic, lazy, slightly disorientated and definitely clumsier. You may become more quick tempered and tend to react rather than respond to situations.
In this short clip I convinced a three year old girl to sip and now she continues sipping water at home.
By removing the need to drink a glass of water or a bottle of water from the situation, I took away the stress that was previously involved. She has a highly sensitive sense or taste and sadly, despise all the rain that falls in Ireland we have some of the worst tasting water on the planet. The taste of the liquid from our taps (being called water) varies frequently and bears little resemblance to real spring water. The main drink of our ancestors was water. Our bodies need clan fresh water daily as we cannot store it like camels but burn it up, sweat it out, pass it or breathe it out with every breath.
Sadly, “foul” tasting “water” is off-putting for many people and especially for children who are very sensitive to the taste of foods and liquids. The taste of the fluorine content which may vary from day-to-day and the other chemicals added to our water either naturally e.g. sulphur, the run off from the slurried fields or the chemicals added to make our drinking water safe have put many people off drinking tap water.
I suggest that you sip and take in the highest quality water that you can afford. This especially important for children and learners of all ages, athletes and sports players. Even young children need up to a half litre of water each day. Adequate water intake is needed to replenish and replace the water that they are perspire and expire (notice the steam in one’s breath as we breathe out on a cold day) You get an idea of how much water you breathe out if all the vents, windows and doors are closed in a room and you are sleeping in there, a layer of expired water may steam the inside of the window, mirrors etc. This water must be replaced daily so that you can be healthy and able to function at your peak.
Each adult needs to sip at least 1 litre of clean fresh water for every 30 kg of body weight.
Those who are active may perspire more and may need to replace more water even up to double the quantity as they use more. 70% of every muscle is water and 1% dehydration means a drop in physical performance.
The brain has many processes that depend on water and a 1% dehydration means these processes either get postponed (“I can’t remember now but it will come back to me”) or you may mis-calculate, misunderstand and mis-communicate. You may become cranky, bad-tempered, foul-mouthed and certainly less in control than when you are fully hydrated.
When you sip water and hold it in your mouth, until saliva is produced, much of the water is absorbed quickly through the lining of your mouth and throat. This becomes part of the water in your blood and quickly becomes part of the resources available in the brain and other essential areas like heart muscles. Once your mouth senses the presence of a good clean water and in good supply a basic need of life is satisfied.
When your basic need for water is met your body and brain relax a little more. Less water is drawn out of the “septic tank” of your large intestine to meet the water needs of your brain and body. A major source of water for some Irish people is the tea, coffee or soft drinks that they consume each day. For others it is the water content of fizzy drinks or dilute led drinks that hide the taste of water.
The body treats as a food any liquid which is not clean, fresh so tea, coffee, herbal teas etc, or water tainted by flavours, fruit juries, sugars or artificial sweeteners is seen as food and must be processed in the digestive tract.
Where the brain and body feel the need for water that us not being met with clean fresh water sipped and absorbed immediately at the mouth and throat. Then it will soak out the water content of the waste in your bowel to irrigate your brain, muscles etc. The water which finally reached the bowel/ large intestine is if course mixed with all the contents if your guts, old foods, bacteria and faeces. This means that your kidneys need to filter this water so it can be pure enough to be used safely .
If your kidneys are having an off day this filtering may be inadequate to remove much of the slurry and peptides in the water and you begin to underperform, are less self controlled and your behaviours may be different than expected.
This 3 year old “hated ” water but now takes adequate quantities each day. Her behaviour changed in minutes and she has become more placid, forgiving and tolerant of others. Each day she now gets her water through sipping and her absorption of pure clean water through the sipping technique means she will grow to be happy, calm, relaxed and ready to learn, play and enjoy each day.