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CLARE JOHNSTON: I swear by the restorative powers of drinking water – and science agrees

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It’s the most humble of drinks and, yet, I’ve come to believe water has super powers.

Take last week, for example, when I woke one morning with one of these dull headaches that then seemed to spread and get progressively worse until I was really struggling.

Unless I go for the more powerful ones, painkilers don’t usually touch the sides of these kind of headaches so that’s when I turn to my ‘flushing trick’.

For this, I down three large glasses of water in a row in a bid to give my system a mega hydration boost.

I first tried it a few years back when I was due to give a presentation at work but developed a headache so bad I thought I was going to throw up.

I could barely string my words together and I was starting to panic about how I was going to get up and talk to a room full of people – which likely wasn’t helping the situation.

That’s when I decided to drink a lot of water. After painkillers failed to help it was the only option I could think of.

Having downed three large glasses in quick succession at the water station I felt my body cool down rapidly thanks to the chilled liquid, and I felt a bit shivery.

Within half an hour the headache had gone.

At the time it felt like a miracle because it had been so severe before.

I’m not saying drinking water will cure everyone of a headache, but science suggests there is some merit in turning to hydration as a first port of call when you’re feeling under par.

Poor hydration can trigger tiredness and headaches

That’s because we are 60% water so studies suggest that even a small drop of around 2% in our hydration levels can start impacting on our physical wellbeing.

Fatigue and headaches are two of the most common signs of dehydration so if you’re experiencing either of them, then it makes sense to knock back a couple of large glasses of water to see if that’s enough to perk you up.

I usually start the day by downing at least one large glass of water, often two.

But I often find that if I forget to regularly top up then by mid-morning or early afternoon I’m starting to slump.

That’s an immediate sign that I need to sink another glass – and I’d say nine times out of 10 that is enough to leave me feeling a lot more energised and focussed.

Research shows drinking water can improve cognitive functioning, as well as reduce headaches and tiredness.

Clearing the brain fog

Your brain is around 75% water, and studies have shown that lower hydration levels can start to impact on cognitive functioning.

Conversely, rehydrating has been found to improve your processing speeds, working memory, and mood.

So why wouldn’t you?

My husband has been feeling ropey all week and has been greeted every morning by the sight of me dangling a large glass of water in front of him.

He rolls his eyes and tells me it’s the way I hector him to drink it that puts him off.. but I’m convinced he’s dehydrated.

He’s just started going to the gym again and the weather is warmer. D’oh!

Better for sleep

And if I haven’t convinced you yet, the list of benefits goes on.

While I don’t often have sleepless nights these days, from time to time I can struggle to nod off.

Often on those nights I realise I’m feeling wired – like my nervous system is all fired up.

Putting two and two together I realised it nearly always happens when I’ve been eating saltier food and/or drinking alcohol.

Whenever it happens now I get up and – you guessed it – sink a couple of large glasses of water and it works like a charm.

Among the host of benefits from being fully hydrated, it can also support a good night’s sleep.

Again, this experience is supported by science with researchers at Penn State University in the US discovering that people with poorer amounts of sleep had significantly more concentrated urine and were more dehydrated compared to those who regularly slept eight hours a night.

And when I dug deeper into the benefits of staying well hydrated, I found among them that it supports your joint health too.

After all, your joints are cushioned by fluid which also keeps them lubricated.

It’s why arthritis sufferers are recommended to drink plenty of water to help manage symptoms, along with medication.

We are blessed in Scotland to have a plentiful supply of tap water that is among the best quality in the world – tested on average every two minutes.

So let’s make the most of this free health tonic and start each day with a couple of glasses of the good stuff.

Just be glad you don’t have me hovering over you when you first waken ordering you to drink it.