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Drink More Water Without Losing Your Mind

Updated on March 23, 2019
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Nicole is a freelance writer, health and wellness enthusiast and water lover.

How Much Water Should I Drink Each Day?

Expert opinions vary on how much water you should drink each day. Many factors determine your specific water needs, including your weight, metabolism, level of activity, prescription drug use, environment, diet and overall health.

The 8x8 Rule: Drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day is an easy formula to remember. But the suggestion is not based on scientific study. According to research by Heinz Valtin, our beloved 8x8 Rule likely came from a casual remark in a 1945 report by the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Research Council.

Constant Sip. The body constantly loses water, primarily through sweat and urine. Just the act of breathing causes the body to lose water. Which may be why some health experts suggest that you constantly sip water all day, whether you're thirsty or not.

Fortunately, if you are a reasonably healthy adult, living in a temperate climate, you have a built-in ally in the battle against dehydration. Your own thirst.

If you’re thirsty, you may be headed for mild dehydration. Stop what you’re doing. Grab a glass of water or a beverage that contains electrolytes.

Other signs of dehydration include headaches, migraines, bad breath, lack of urine or sweat, fever and chills, and cravings for sugary foods.

Early Signs of Dehydration in Adults

Urine Decrease
Dry Skin
Dark Urine
Increased Thirst
Bad Breath
Dry Mouth

So, Seriously How Much Water Should I Drink?

Ask not how much water should I drink. Ask, how much water am I drinking now?

Use paper and pen to journal the amount of water you drink in a 24-hour period. Temporarily ignore any water intake that you may be getting from food.

You could also try an app like Plant Nanny which challenges you to drink a set amount of water each day. Warning, if you don't meet your quota, your plant can and will die.

Now that you know how much water you typically drink per day, track your water intake over the course of three days. More importantly, take notes on how you felt throughout the day. Were you frequently thirsty? Did you experience any other signs of dehydration? If not, your water intake is probably fine. Even if you feel guilted by your inability to achieve the 8x8 Rule.

If you found that you were regularly thirsty, or experienced other signs of dehydration, you need more water. As this could be signs of a serious health issue, immediately seek the help of a medical professional.

Ask not how much water should I drink. Ask, how much water am I drinking now?

How to Increase Your Water Intake

If you've tracked your water intake, and it's not working for you, here are some simple ways to get more water.

Create Water Triggers: A water trigger is an event or action that compels you to drink water. For example, you may decide that each time you use the bathroom, you will drink a cup of water. Some people choose to always drink water before or during a meal. Others choose to drink water when they wake up in the morning.

Get creative with it. What if you have a sip of water every time you get a text message? Just don't go too far with that. There is a such thing as overhydration.

Eat Water-Rich Foods: Many foods are loaded with water, especially fruits and vegetables. Add water-rich foods like peaches, soups, and coconut water to your diet.

Battle Hunger With Water: There is some debate as to whether or not humans really mistake hunger for thirst. If you feel hungry, even though you've eaten a well-balanced meal, grab a glass of water. If you feel satiated then you've probably satisfied your fluid and nutritional needs. At least for the moment.

Always Bring Water: Buy a reusable water bottle. Make sure it's the right size and something you don't mind looking at. Because your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to take water everywhere you go.

Water-Rich Foods: Strawberries, Watermelon, Oranges, Soups and Broths, Bell Peppers, Tomatoes, Grapefruit, Coconut Water, and Cantaloupe.
Water-Rich Foods: Strawberries, Watermelon, Oranges, Soups and Broths, Bell Peppers, Tomatoes, Grapefruit, Coconut Water, and Cantaloupe. | Source

Don't Drink Too Much Water

Water is king. Every part of the human body, from the nervous system to the reproductive system, needs water to function.

Not only is water essential for health, your water regimen could be your fountain of youth. Dehydration causes skin to become dry and wrinkled. Proper hydration ensures tissues and skin cells are replenished, and toxins are flushed out of the body more efficiently, all of which leads to younger, healthier-looking skin.

All these goodies might lead us to think we should drink as much water as we possibly can.

The Dangers of Overhydration

You can have too much of a good thing. Water is no exception. Too much water can lower sodium levels in the body. Sodium helps regulate the amount of water in the cells. When the concentration of sodium in the body is abnormally low it leads to a condition called hyponatremia. Hyponatremia, most common among athletes, includes symptoms like muscle cramps, confusion and fatigue.

Too much water can also overwhelm your kidneys. The kidneys help filter toxins from the blood, which is ultimately flushed out in urine. When you drink too much water you force your kidneys to work overtime.

Signs of overhydration include nausea and vomiting, headaches, confusion and disorientation. More severe symptoms include seizures, coma and loss of life.

All things in moderation. By monitoring your thirst and the color of your urine you can avoid overhydration, a well as dehydration. If you are not thirsty, and your urine is pale yellow, you are likely getting the right amount of water. If you are thirsty, and your urine is dark yellow, it's time to drink up.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2019 Nicole Alinea


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