When was the last time you had a headache? Do you often feel tired in the early afternoon after a long day at work? You might find yourself relying on a caffeinated soda to bring those energy levels back up, but how often do you reach for a glass of water?
Fatigue, headaches, weak muscles, and dizziness are all signs of mild dehydration, which is your body’s way of letting you know that it needs some water. Getting the right amount of fluids can seem daunting when your schedule is full with work, family time, and self-care.
Staying hydrated is more than just getting your daily intake of water — it’s about ensuring that your body has long-lasting, sustainable energy to get you through the day. Keep reading to learn why getting enough water intake is so important and how prioritizing hydration will help support your commitment to wellness.
Why Is Hydration Important?
Your body is made up of 60% water. Like food fuels our body, water plays a critical role in keeping our minds alert and our bodies functioning.
Hydration is essential for various bodily processes, including:
- Regulating your body temperature
- Improving sleep quality
- Keeping your organs functioning properly
- Preventing infections
- Helping you to stay awake and alert throughout the day
Hydration is responsible for many other vital functions, but this brief list gives you an idea of just how important staying hydrated is!
It’s not just the AC that keeps you cool. Drinking the recommended 8-11 glasses of water a day helps keep your body at a healthy temperature. If your body becomes too hot, your body will sweat to maintain a stable temperature. That’s why after a morning workout, or even during a poolside afternoon, it’s critical that you stay hydrated to make up for lost fluids.
Maintaining a healthy immune system is more important than ever. Without immunity, your body is left defenseless against disease. Not only that, but if your days are filled with busy work schedules, taking care of your family, and finding time for yourself, then staying healthy is paramount. By prioritizing hydration, you ensure that vital nutrients and immune cells are traveling to the parts of the body that need them.
Even the toughest parts of your body need hydration to function properly. The musculoskeletal system is the architecture of your body, and without it, simple functioning like sitting, standing, and moving through your day would be impossible.
Your joints rely on water to create cushioning, and if you’re not getting enough fluids, those joints will pull water from other areas of your body to provide padding. As you age, your body relies on that cushioning more and more.
The smallest parts of your body rely on hydration to work correctly, too. Water brings crucial nutrients into your cells which, in turn, transform those nutrients into energy. Being hydrated at the cellular level plays a critical role in providing long-lasting energy throughout the day.
Staying hydrated ensures that organs flush toxins and properly digest food and nutrients. Not only that, but water keeps your organs, including your brain, cushioned and protected.
Cognitive Function and Mood Regulation
If you’re feeling hangry, it could be because you’re dehydrated. Your body is an interconnected system, and if you’re not getting enough water, your mind is going to feel the effects. Getting enough water helps you stay alert and regulate your mood.
Not to mention, thirst can bring that same sensation of hunger, so if you’ve recently eaten, but your water bottle is still full, it may be time to take a few sips.
What Are the Signs of Dehydration?
You know what it feels like to be dehydrated. Maybe it’s hit you after a few hours of shopping, or after a long day at the office. Headaches, dry mouth, and dizziness are all signs of dehydration, which means that your body is telling you to grab a glass and get hydrated.
Not only is a dry mouth inconvenient, but it’s also a sign that you’re dehydrated. Every time you breathe, water molecules escape. If you’re an athlete or in a profession where you speak a lot, you may be losing more fluids than you think. A dry mouth is an early sign of mild dehydration and is a good reminder to grab a glass of water and drink up.
Being thirsty may seem like an obvious sign of dehydration, but it’s often overlooked. Reaching for a sugar-packed drink like a sports drink or juice might feel like it is quenching your thirst. However, a sugary beverage might not be doing as much as you think it is to get your body hydrated. If you’re thirsty, it’s a sign that your body wants hydrating fluids that will work to increase your hydration, not your blood glucose levels.
Decreased or Dark Urine
The color of your urine can indicate hydration or dehydration. Pale yellow urine indicates a hydrated body. If you notice dark urine or find that you're not going to the bathroom frequently throughout the day, it might signify that you’re dehydrated. If your urine is darker than a light yellow, it’s likely a sign that you aren’t getting enough water to keep your body regulated.
Being dehydrated can also have more serious effects. Fatigue impacts both your body and mind, as a lack of energy can result in decreased motor skills and cognitive functioning. Long hours outdoors or on your feet, or improper hydration after a great workout, can result in a fatigued body and mind.
Dizziness is another serious side effect of dehydration. When you don’t drink enough water, your blood pressure can drop, causing that uncomfortable spinning feeling in your head. Just like food, water plays a vital role in keeping you alert and functioning normally throughout the day.
How Can I Stay Hydrated During the Day?
Staying hydrated can fall to the wayside if you have a busy work schedule. Building in ways to stay hydrated is committing to a routine that sets you up for success. Here are some suggestions to help you prioritize hydration:
Get a Reusable Water Bottle With Goals Marked
There’s no better reminder to hydrate than an empty water bottle. Getting a reusable water bottle that indicates when and how much you should drink is an even better motivator. All you have to do is pick your bottle up and drink at the indicated times, and you’ll have finished your daily fluid intake before you know it.
Drink Water in the Morning and With Each Meal
Starting your day with a glass of water sets the tone for a well-hydrated day. The Cranberry Hydration Elixer by Kroma Wellness gives your water an extra hydrating boost with electrolytes. Its light, delicious flavor is supplemented with magnesium, which helps you hydrate, gives you a long-lasting boost of energy, and even helps with a better night’s sleep.
Consume Fruits and Veggies With High Water Content
Another way to stay hydrated is to find fruits and vegetables with high water content. Veggies like cucumbers, lettuce, and celery are made almost entirely of water, and fruits like watermelon and grapefruit are flavorful and help you hydrate with every bite. Lemons and limes, cantaloupe, peaches, and tomatoes are other high water content options.
Even better, you can add high water content vegetables to soups, broth, or even smoothies!
Kroma Wellness’ Supergreens Elixir offers a delicious, easy way to get all the whole food-sourced ingredients you need to stay energized and alert throughout the day. Not to mention that it makes hydration oh so tasty.
Always Keep Water Within Reach
Keeping your reusable water bottle nearby is a great way to stay on top of hydration throughout the day. If your office has a water cooler, take intermittent breaks to refill, and prioritize grabbing your water bottle when you’re heading out the door. Keeping water within reach is an easy way to ensure that you’ll remember to hydrate.
If you want flavor-packed hydration, incorporating whole-food-based flavors like fresh-cut cucumbers, strawberries, or mint is an easy (and colorful) way to quench your thirst. These fresh elements will add some flair and flavor to your hydration without adding unnecessary sugars.
How Much Water Should I Be Drinking?
When it comes to how much water you should be drinking, general guidelines suggest that women get 11 eight-ounce glasses of water per day, and men get at least 16.
If you’re someone who exercises regularly, spends time outdoors, or otherwise expends a lot of energy, you might need to up that intake to match your lifestyle. Drinking plenty of water can help ward off muscle cramps while re-energizing your body.
Is It Possible To Drink Too Much Water?
Even though it’s unlikely, it is possible to drink too much water.
If your urine is clear, or you find yourself drinking significant amounts of water even when you’re not thirsty, it could indicate that you are over-hydrating.
A great way to ensure that you are getting the right amount of hydration is to build it into your schedule, hydrate regularly, and monitor for signs of mild dehydration.
What About Coffee and Tea?
Caffeinated beverages, like coffee and tea, are mild diuretics that encourage your kidneys to flush water and sodium through urine. However, recent research shows that caffeinated drinks may not be the huge culprits for dehydration as was previously thought.
If caffeine is a part of your morning routine, try including a glass of water to ensure that your body is getting hydrated as you prepare for the day ahead. Upgrade your morning ritual with a superfood alternative, like the Majik Matcha latte from Kroma, to bring alertness and nourishment to the start of your day.
Like coffee and tea, alcohol also acts as a diuretic, encouraging you to urinate more frequently. If you’re headed to happy hour or are enjoying a glass of wine with dinner, prioritizing water will not only have you feeling better in the morning but can also help with a more restful night’s sleep.
What About Sports Drinks?
Sports drinks are packed with electrolytes and nutrients, like potassium, to nourish your body after a workout or a day spent in the sun.
Just make sure you’re aiming for a 1:1 ratio of sports drinks and water. You can either alternate sipping on your sports drink and sipping on water, you can “chase” your sports drink with water, or you can alternate bottle for bottle.
Plus, with lower-calorie and sugar-free options, sports drinks are a great way to replenish your body with a bit of flavor without packing in unnecessary sugars.
The Bottom Line
If you’re looking for easy ways to up your wellness, hydration should be at the top of your list. Hydration improves your overall lifestyle by supporting energy, boosting sleep, and improving your overall alertness. Not only does your body rely on water to function as it should, but every part of your interconnected system depends on water to keep you at your best.
Prioritizing hydration as a part of your morning, daily, and evening routine can have tremendous benefits for your overall wellness. Whether you’re an athlete or a busy professional, getting enough water is an easy and effective way to give yourself a natural boost.
The importance of hydration | News | Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health
Caffeine: Is it dehydrating or not? | St. Clair Hospital
Hydration: Why It's So Important | familydoctor.org