Do you ever feel sluggish in the afternoon even though you had a great night’s sleep? Maybe a headache strikes or you’re suddenly feeling short tempered with no explanation. Many of us may overlook these symptoms of mild dehydration, not realizing the solution may be simple: drink water.
Each day, you lose water from activities like sweating and urinating. When you don’t replenish your body with fluids, your body reacts and your brain is most susceptible. In fact, mild dehydration can cause your brain to shrink and pull away from your skull. This can cause you to experience headaches, not think clearly and feel drained or moody.
Consistently drinking water throughout your day may help. Water does more than just quench your thirst – it keeps your body running. It allows your cells, tissues, joints and organs to work properly. It regulates your body temperature, especially during physical activity, and helps get rid of waste.
Although we commonly hear that drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water is sufficient, some people may actually need more. According to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, the amount of liquid we should consume on a daily basis is 15.5 cups for men and 11.5 cups for women. Keep in mind, 20 percent comes from liquid-based foods.
If you are finding it difficult to achieve this daily goal, here are some ideas that will help keep you from becoming dehydrated:
- Drink two to four glasses of water each hour.
- Drink a glass of water with each meal or between each meal.
- Drink water before, during and after exercise.
- Drink water if you’re feeling hungry – hunger often gets confused with thirst.
If you need even more incentive to keep your fluid intake up, drinking water may also help you shed some extra pounds. Staying hydrated may actually make it easier to lose weight. Not only does it increase the tendency to eat less because you feel full, it also increases the body’s ability to perform the process of lipolysis, which is the breakdown of fats. Over the long term, staying hydrated can help to manage diabetes and lower the risk of stroke and cancer.
Don’t like the taste of water? Try infusing it with citrus fruits, cucumber slices, berries, ginger or mint.