It’s the elixir of beautiful people and the “life hack” of high-profile business leaders: plain water, chugged heartily first thing in the morning. Of course, staying properly hydrated is a basic tenet of health. It balances chemical processes in the brain, keeps your organs functioning properly and aids in recovery after a particularly grueling workout. But it turns out, there’s something to this early-morning hydration.
For starters, depending on your sleep schedule, your body has essentially just gone six to eight hours without a sip of anything. While most of us go right to coffee, water does wonders for your body and sets you up for success all day long. After all, water is officially considered an “essential nutrient,” meaning that your body cannot produce enough of it through metabolism to meet its daily needs. Therefore, we need to supply our bodies with enough to function properly. According to the Mayo Clinic, there’s no one-size-fits-all recommendation for how much water is needed every day, but starting off with a full glass of water can have real benefits.
If you’re looking to keep hunger at bay and increase the fat you burn during a workout, downing water first thing not only helps keep you satiated but boosts your metabolism. This is partly attributed to water’s thermogenic effect—which refers to the energy required to warm up cold water in the digestive tract after consumption. Multiple studies have shown that water-induced thermogenesis has the potential to increase the body’s metabolic rate by 24-30% in adults, and the effect lasts about an hour.
Another welcome benefit? Increased mental performance. Even mild dehydration can result in a brain fog, so an extremely strong cup of coffee won’t provide you with the clarity you need. Water, however, has been shown to increase alertness and short-term memory performance. Which means drinking it before you start your day is a guaranteed way to combat grogginess and improve your concentration.
And while there’s nothing detoxifying about plain tap water, consistently drinking it will help your body naturally filter out toxins via the kidneys. By hydrating more, you’re getting rid of bad bacteria in your system, and it allows good bacteria in your gut to grow and flourish. But you don’t have to go overboard—drink too much and your body won’t process it, instead you’ll just pee it out.
The bottom line is that water is essential in our most important bodily functions—from lubricating our joints, powering our brains and carrying nutrients and oxygen to our muscles. So waking up with a cool glass of water is a simple, affordable and highly effective way to jumpstart the day’s hydration. It’s not a cure-all to bad diet or lack of sleep, but it does a body good. And after you empty that glass, you’re rewarded with a sense of accomplisment and pride that you’re taking care of yourself. Not a bad way to start the day, right?