5 Signs You’re Not Drinking Enough Water

Source: Pexels | Yaroslav Shuraev
Source: Pexels | Yaroslav Shuraev

Our bodies are made of about 55-60% water, and they need to stay hydrated in order to operate at their highest level. Hydration is a key component of health and wellness, and drinking enough water helps with temperature regulation, joint lubrication, organ functionality, cell health, and infection prevention as well as keeping skin looking beautiful and preventing brain fog. During the summer months when we sweat more than usual, it’s easy to let hydration levels deplete, even when sipping on water throughout the day. BTW, hydration is not just about good ol’ H2O, but making sure the body has enough of both water and electrolytes, which are also essential for proper hydration. How do you know if you’re drinking enough water and electrolytes? Your body may be trying to tell you it’s not hydrated enough if you experience any of these signs


5 Signs You’re Not Drinking Enough Water

1. You have a dry mouth (including bad breath), skin, and lips

When we lose more fluids than we take in, the skin, mouth, and lips are usually the first to feel the effects. A dry mouth, which is often accompanied by a case of bad breath, can be very uncomfortable and unpleasant, while dry, flaky skin and lips can be itchy and dull-looking. If you’ve been noticing dryness in your mouth or on your face, you’re likely dehydrated and should start sipping on some water ASAP. 


2. You feel tired often or experience brain fog

If you’ve been feeling major mid-day slumps, step away from the coffee and reach for some water instead. Tiredness and brain fog are two major signs of dehydration, but because we often interpret these symptoms as signals that we need a caffeine boost, we do more damage by further dehydrating ourselves with caffeinated beverages like coffee, tea, and soda. The next time you’re feeling sluggish or have a hard time focusing, start rehydrating your body and see how much better you feel. 


3. You get really hungry between meals

A growling stomach, lightheadedness, and irritability are pretty basic signs that it’s time for a snack, but did you know that those same symptoms are your body’s signals telling you that it needs water too? Symptoms of hunger and thirst are so similar that it can be easy to mistake one for the other. If you often find yourself hungry between meals, try drinking water before reaching for a snack to identify if your body is actually asking for water instead of food. 


4. You’re constipated and have dark-colored urine

Perhaps the most obvious sign of dehydration is dark-colored urine (urine color should be a pale yellow if you’re optimally hydrated–clear urine could be can be a sign that you’re overly hydrated or experiencing hyponatremia, which means your body has gained too much water and lost important electrolytes, like sodium and potassium). Digestive issues or gut symptoms can also be a sign of dehydration since the digestive tract requires optimal hydration for regular bowel movements. If you’re bloated or constipated, dehydration may be the culprit. Try drinking more water to help alleviate gut symptoms.


5. You get a lot of muscle cramps

If you’ve ever experienced a muscle cramp or a charley horse, you’re familiar with the painful, involuntary muscle tightness or spasm sensation it causes. Muscle cramps occur when we’re not properly hydrated, due to electrolyte imbalances and reduced blood flow to the muscles. If you’re experiencing even minor cramping or discomfort, it may be a sign you need to increase your water or electrolyte intake (specifically try sodium, potassium, magnesium, or chloride). 


5 Easy Ways to Increase Water Intake

1. Get a fun water bottle and keep it with you 24/7

From the HydroFlask to the Stanley Cup, cute and fashionable water bottles are not in short supply. By having a refillable water bottle you’re proud to carry around, you’ll be saving the environment and your health. Whether you prefer a stainless steel bottle that keeps water cold for over 24 hours, a bottle with a straw, or one you can cover in fun stickers, having a bottle-turned-accessory is a great way to help you stay hydrated.  


2. Flavor your water with fresh fruit

If plain water just isn’t calling your name, try adding a hint of flavor with some fresh fruit. Fruits like pineapple, strawberries, kiwis, and watermelon quickly and easily spice up plain old water, but there’s no limit to the creativity you can bring to a bottle of water. This water drinker’s personal favorite? Cucumber, lemon, and mint.


3. Drink water for every caffeinated beverage

Despite its liquid form, caffeinated beverages are considered diuretics, which causes you to urinate more frequently. 1-2 cups of coffee are typically mild enough to not cause dehydration, but a good rule of thumb to ensure you’re hydrated enough is to replenish every cup of caffeinated beverage with water or something hydrating like coconut water (especially if you’re having more than two cups of coffee, or enjoy your afternoon iced latte when you haven’t had any water since morning).


4. Drink a big glass of water first thing after waking up

If you get eight hours of sleep, that means it’s been at least eight hours since your last sip of water (which is a long time to go without rehydrating!). Drinking a big glass of water first thing after waking up not only ensures you’re setting up your day for hydration success, but you’re replenishing the hydration you missed out on while you were sleeping (bonus: water can also boost energy so you may not even need your morning cup of coffee). 


5. Finish a full glass of water with each meal

Sitting down to enjoy a meal is the perfect time to finish a full glass of water. By sipping between bites, you’ll not only ensure that you’re properly hydrated, but you’ll also avoid overeating. Additionally, water helps your stomach break down food, aiding in digestion and reducing bloat or digestive discomfort. The next time you have a meal, finish your water as you finish your meal, and you’ll be left hydrated and feeling full.