There’s a 90% chance that, at this very moment, you have access to an anti-aging, energy-boosting, brain fog eliminator right inside your home. It’s called water.
Water is one of nature’s most overlooked and underrated resources for healthy living. It’s estimated that 75% of Americans experience chronic dehydration. Our bodies have intricate systems that alert us when we are thirsty, and studies show that these thirst signals are sent to the brain well before we approach dehydration. Unfortunately, our fast-paced, sugar-laden culture distracts us from our bodies’ signals and makes unhealthy solutions easily accessible resulting in dehydration.
Is outsmarting distraction and staying hydrated possible? We believe it is. So, this article is packed with research and strategies to help you find your own system for staying hydrated. We’re covering common symptoms of chronic dehydration, how much water you should drink, and the fastest ways to reverse chronic dehydration.
If you’re ready to reclaim energy, mental clarity, and younger-looking skin by drinking more water, keep reading!
What Is Chronic Dehydration?
Have you ever asked someone to do something so many times without them following through that you gave up and stopped asking?
This is the difference between dehydration and chronic dehydration. When your body senses that you need more water, your body sends thirst signals to your brain. You drink water, and the thirst signals go away. However, if you regularly ignore your thirst signals or consume something that doesn’t improve hydration, eventually, your body will become less sensitive to your need for water and send much fewer thirst signals. This desensitization to dehydration is likely to lead to chronic dehydration.
Symptoms of chronic dehydration can include:
- Dry or flaky skin
- Constant fatigue
- Weight gain
- Frequent headaches
- Brain fog
- Bad breath
- Sugar cravings
- Urinary tract infections
Over the long term, chronic dehydration can lead to gastric acidity, muscle weakness or cramps, accelerated wear and tear of knee joints, chronic fatigue, premature aging, acne and dry skin, and kidney stones.
When considering dehydration, it’s important to take into account your lifestyle and environment. People who live in hotter climates or high altitudes are more prone to dehydration. Also, athletes and those whose occupations include manual labor, especially outside, have a higher likelihood of dehydration.
How Much Water Should I Drink?
Have you ever worked on a project for forever only to look up and realize you’re a mere five minutes in?
Drinking water can feel like this for a lot of people. They think they drank enough, but in reality, they only drank half of the recommended daily amount. There is also such a thing as drinking too much water. So, to avoid both of these extremes, here are some general guidelines for drinking the right amount of water.
- Drink half your weight in ounces. For example, if you are 200 lbs (90kg), you should drink 100 oz (3 liters) of water a day.
- Drink at least one full cup of water after physical activities.
- Drink two cups of water for every cup of coffee. Coffee is a diuretic, which dehydrates you by pulling water out of your body. Two cups of water make up for the water coffee pulls out of your body.
If you want a straightforward rule of thumb to follow, the Mayo Clinic recommends this minimum daily intake of water:
- Women — 11.5 cups, or 92 ounces
- Men — 15.5 cups, or 124 ounces
If you’re thinking, That is a lot of water. How am I ever going to drink that much? Remember, this is a journey — an important one, but still a journey. You’re not going to go from drinking two cups of water a day to 12 cups a day overnight, and that’s okay. What you can do overnight is understand the value of hydration and make a plan to drink more water today than you did yesterday.
What Is the Fastest Way to Cure Dehydration?
If you find that you’re dehydrated and ready to do something about it, where do you begin? Is chugging water enough?
Drinking water is a good start, but it’s probably not enough to rebalance your body if you’re dehydrated. You’ll need electrolytes, too.
Electrolytes are like adhesives between water and your cells. Without electrolytes, it’s possible to drink water all day and still be dehydrated. The good news is electrolytes are easy to add to your diet and usually come in delightful drinks.
Three dependable drinks to consume electrolytes include:
Himalayan pink salt is an excellent addition to your water, whether or not you’re dehydrated. It is known for creating an electrolyte balance within your body and improving cellular health.
Darin Olien, superfood expert and developer of Shakeology said during an interview with Lewis Howes that a pinch of Himalayan salt is one of the easiest responses to fatigue and dehydration, “Fatigue is a consequence of dehydration, right? This happens because there’s not enough water interacting with cells that create energy. … The easiest thing for people to do is to put a pinch of unrefined Himalayan salt per glass.”
Whether you’re trying to recover from dehydration or just want to make sure your cells are fully energized, intentionally adding electrolytes is a great start!
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5 Ways to Stay Hydrated Throughout the Day
It’s safe to say that dehydration is a bad habit, but it’s probably made possible by other bad habits like drinking your coffee before you drink water, ordering soda with lunch instead of water, or not having water easily accessible throughout the day.
The good habit you’re adopting is drinking more water. Generally speaking, the bad habit you’re replacing is not drinking water. But the more specific you are about your bad habit, the better you will be able to replace it with a good habit. To help pinpoint why you don’t drink enough water, ask yourself these three questions:
- Why don’t I drink enough water?
- What do I eat, drink, or do when I’m thirsty throughout the day?
- What might help me drink more water?
Hopefully those questions helped you narrow down a specific habit leading to drinking less water and dehydration. As you read through the following five ways to drink more water throughout the day, pick one that could serve you best and make it your new habit!
Drink a Full Glass of Water Before Your Coffee
Did you know that we wake up dehydrated?
We lose almost a liter of water throughout the night. Our bodies need water in the morning. When the first thing we drink is coffee — a diuretic — we’re dehydrating our already dehydrated self. Flip the script and help yourself drink water before coffee by setting out a cup of water in one of three places the night before:
- Your nightstand. Most people scroll their phone after their alarm goes off, so drink your water while you scroll.
- Your bathroom next to your toothbrush. Before you leave your bathroom to make your coffee, drink that water
- Beside your coffee pot. Before you pour a nice steaming cup of joe, chug that water.
Drinking a cup of water before coffee will help you avoid dehydration, but it is also known to help people feel more energized. Throughout the night, your body builds up a protein called adenosine which makes you feel sleepy. Water first thing in the morning helps your body process and remove the leftover adenosine so that you feel more awake.
Give yourself a hydration and energy boost by drinking a cup of water before you drink your morning cup of coffee.
Drink One Glass of Water Before Bed
Routines are valuable because they help us get the things done that we want to get done. They don’t have to be complicated or backed by lengthy scientific data. They can be simple and effective — the best ones usually are.
A secret to making a new routine — like drinking more water — effective is adding it to a routine you already have in place. For example, going to bed at night is something you do regularly (daily, hopefully). Add to that routine, “drink a glass of water before bed,” and you’ve stacked an old and new routine to get hydrated.
Drinking a glass of water before bed might be a great way for you to avoid dehydration, but maybe not. So ask yourself, “What is a routine I already have that I could add “drink a cup of water” to?” and see where it takes you!
Have a Reusable Water Bottle
Have you ever known someone to get a new gym outfit to help motivate themselves to workout?
You can apply the same idea to drinking water. Get a reusable water bottle to motivate yourself to drink more water. BONUS: When you get thirsty, you will have something easily accessible to fill with water and drink out of. While you’re at it, get a water bottle you really like!
Also, we’re not throwing shade if you get a case of water and leave it next to your desk or in the trunk of your car for easy access. Reusable (glass) water bottles are the healthiest option for you, but drinking water is better than not drinking water.
Flavor Your Water
When you thought about what might help you drink more water, did you say “flavoring,” or something along those lines?
Some people don’t like water because it’s tasteless. Luckily, there’s a simple solution for that — fruit-infused water. You can even make it for yourself. Here are a few popular combos:
If you decide to go all in with infused water, consider getting a water bottle like this that includes space for infusing. There are water enhancers on the market. When selecting them, be careful to avoid any added sugar or dye.
Water doesn’t have to be boring or tasteless. It can be vibrant and bursting with flavor.
Drink Water Before Snacking
The last time you were super thirsty and super hungry at the same time, did you drink water first or eat?
Believe it or not, when we’re super thirsty, our body sometimes tells us we’re hungry. Hydration is one of our body’s top priorities. If we’re not drinking water, our bodies know that we can get water through food, so our brains tell us we’re hungry. This can lead to eating when we’re not truly hungry (aka weight gain) and never truly meeting our hydration needs.
A simple way to know whether or not you’re thirsty or hungry is to drink a glass of water before snacking. If you’re still hungry in 15-20 minutes, eat the food; if not, you successfully cared for your hydration needs even though your body was sending you mixed signals. Nice work!
It’s Time to Drink Some Water
Drinking more water can feel overwhelming in the midst of an already packed schedule, but dehydration isn’t something to take lightly.
Your new drink-more-water routine can be as simple as adding pink salt to your water, drinking a cup of water first thing in the morning, or getting a reusable water bottle that brings you joy. Each of these things can dramatically increase your chances of staying hydrated. So start as small as you want, but start because starting is the real difference between staying dehydrated or getting hydrated.
Start right this second by drinking one whole cup of water before you click away from this article!
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