Telltale Signs You’re Not Drinking Enough Water
Water is one of the most important elements in your body. It helps digest food and transport vital substances throughout your body.
Water also helps maintain a normal body temperature and a healthy environment within cells. In fact, almost 60% of your make-up is water. To say you need to drink enough is an understatement.
But how do you know if you’re meeting your body’s water requirements? Here are some signs that you aren’t drinking enough water:
If you’re feeling tired, dehydration may be the reason. Dehydration can lead to fatigue in several ways. First, dehydration concentrates the fluid in your bloodstream, making it more difficult for the heart to pump blood effectively. This can lead to a decrease in oxygen and nutrients delivered to the body’s cells, which can cause fatigue.
Dehydration can also affect your body’s electrolyte balance. Electrolytes, such as sodium and potassium, are important for maintaining the body’s fluid balance and proper muscle and nerve function. When your body is dehydrated, the levels of these electrolytes can become imbalanced, leading to fatigue.
If you are experiencing fatigue and think it may be due to dehydration, try increasing your fluid intake and see if it helps. If not, check with your doctor and make sure there’s no medical reason for your exhaustion.
Your urine is dark in color
Another sign that you’re not drinking enough water is dark yellow or cloudy urine. When your body’s dehydrated, your urine becomes more concentrated and looks darker. Therefore, urine color can be a good indicator of your hydration status. If your urine is pale-yellow or lighter, it’s a sign that you are well-hydrated. On the other hand, if your urine is dark yellow or amber, it may indicate that you are dehydrated and need to drink more fluids.
Your mouth is dry
Dry mouth is a common sign of dehydration. Dry mouth is a common symptom of dehydration because your body needs sufficient fluids to produce saliva to moisten your mouth and throat. Without adequate saliva, it’s harder to swallow or speak. Saliva also helps neutralize acid in the mouth and protect the teeth from decay.
When you’re dehydrated, saliva production dwindles, which can cause your mouth to feel dry and uncomfortable. Dry mouth can also lead to other problems, such as bad breath and gum disease. Remember that other things can cause a dry mouth, including medications, autoimmune conditions, and aging. Talk to your doctor if a dry mouth persists.
You have headaches
A mild headache is one of the most common symptoms of dehydration. When you’re dehydrated, the volume of fluid in your brain contracts. This causes the blood vessels in the brain to constrict, leading to a headache. Of course, headaches have a variety of causes. If drinking more water doesn’t resolve a headache, or if they don’t decrease in frequency, see your healthcare provider.
Your mood is ‘blah,’ and you’re not motivated
A study by the University of Connecticut’s Human Performance Laboratory found that even mild dehydration can negatively affect mood and cause irritability, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating. When you’re dehydrated, your body doesn’t have enough fluids to function properly, which can affect your ability to think and your motivation.
A study found that people who increased their water intake felt less anxious and more content than when they let their water intake decline. So, if you’re not feeling motivated and a bit “down,” try drinking more water.
It’s important to drink sufficient water and stay hydrated. Also, consider other ways to stay hydrated, such as by eating fruits and vegetables that contain a lot of water. General recommendations are to drink at least eight cups (64 ounces) of water per day to maintain proper hydration. However, the exact amount you need may vary depending on your age, sex, weight, and activity level.
Here are a few factors that can affect your water needs:
• Age: Older adults tend to have a lower thirst sensation and may not feel as thirsty as younger adults. They need to be more mindful of their fluid intake.
• Gender: Men generally need more fluids than women, due to their typically larger size and muscle mass.
• Weight: Heavier individuals generally need more fluids than lighter individuals.
• Activity level: If you are physically active or exercising, you will need to drink more fluids to replace the fluids lost through sweat.
• Climate: If you are in a hot or humid environment, you will need to drink more fluids to compensate for the fluids lost through sweat.
Pay attention to your body’s thirst signals, and drink fluids as needed to maintain proper hydration. If you are experiencing thirst, fatigue, dry mouth, or a down mood, drink fluids and rehydrate as soon as possible. Even better, drink throughout the day so your body doesn’t become dehydrated in the first place.