As you undoubtedly already heard, the daily recommended amount of water is eight glasses or about 64 fluid-ounces of water. This is actually a myth, and most people can get by fine by drinking water whenever they’re thirsty. Unfortunately, most people around the world don’t drink enough water to compensate for water expulsion through breathing, sneezing, talking, sweating, crying, and urinating. Symptoms of not drinking enough water include feeling thirsty, obviously, but here are 20 other ways our bodies are screaming at us to drink more water.
1. Dark urine
Ironically, not having enough water in your body can lead to frequent visits to the bathroom. If you’re going to the bathroom up to 10 times a day and find the color of your urine to be dark-yellow instead of clear or pale-yellow, then it might be one of the ways your body’s needs more water. It’s either that or you’re taking a certain medication that’s altering the color of your urine.
2. Muscle cramps
People will experience extreme muscle cramps when they’re dehydrated but remain physically active. This is a dangerous mix since you release more water through sweat and heavy breathing. Experiencing muscle cramps or spasms in the middle of a workout session might be an indication that you need to drink more fluids.
3. Mental sluggishness
People suffering from even the slightest case of dehydration will suffer slight bouts of mental impairment. If you’re not drinking enough, concentrating on work might seem like an impossible task, no matter how light your workload.
Next time you experience a headache, no matter how minor, trying downing a glass of water. Our brains are about 80% water, and losing water causes our brain tissues to contract, leading to pain around multiple areas of our brains. If after a glass of water and/or pain meds doesn’t do the trick, you need to consult a doctor immediately.
5. Dry skin, mouth, and eyes
Our skin needs water to produce natural moisturizing oil, replenish our tear supply, and maintain a healthy saliva level. Not having enough water can impair all three organs. Common symptoms that afflict these organs include a lack of skin elasticity, dry coughs, and red eyes.
Mid-day naps are great for giving us a much-needed boost of energy. However, if you feel even more tired after waking up than before nodding off, dehydration might be the culprit. A mid-afternoon slump can most likely be easily fixed by drinking a couple more glasses of water daily.
7. Lack of sweat despite physical activity
We sweat in order to cool down during and after physical activity. However, if you’ve already run laps but hardly broke a sweat, your body doesn’t have enough water to spare. Be sure to take in a couple glasses of water before and after a workout.
8. Perpetual hunger
Being dehydrated can play tricks on our bodies. For instance, in extreme cases of dehydration, our brains might perceive thirst with hunger. No matter how many snacks or meals you eat, your hunger will never diminish. Be sure to end every meal with a glass of water or organic juice to bring your fluid levels back up.
9. Smelly breath
No matter how disgusting you think it is, spit is actually beneficial for keeping our mouths clean. We stop producing spit in our sleep, and this is what causes nasty, funky morning breath. The principle is the same in cases of dehydration; if you don’t have enough water, you can’t produce spit, forcing people to hold their breaths when talking to you.
Since our mental faculties become impaired when we don’t drink enough water, it’s not unsurprising that we can experience mood swings. Dehydration leads to the breaking down of several bodily functions, including rational thinking. When we don’t drink enough, a simple “hello” from a co-worker might send you off the rails.
11. Sugar craving
This is most common in people suffering from dehydration after a workout session. When cooling down, you might feel the need to put food in your mouth. This is due to decreased glycogen levels, and our bodies want to keep the sugar ratio balance in check. Chocolate cake might be enticing, but it’s better to start off with a couple glasses of water, just to see if dehydration really is indeed the culprit of a sudden need for sweets.
12. Trouble sleeping
Not having enough water in our bodies can disrupt our sleep. Dehydration can lead to snoring and muscle spasms in your sleep – two things that can jolt you awake in the middle of the night. However, drinking water right before bed can wake you up by forcing you to go to the bathroom, ruining your sleep cycle. Instead, drink your body weight’s recommended amount of water before 8 PM; you’ll be thoroughly hydrated but have expelled all the urine from your body before climbing into bed.
13. Loss of muscles
The muscles around our bodies are mostly made up of water. Not having enough water can cause muscle spasms and a loss of muscle mass. No matter how many weights you lift, you might notice that you’re not getting optimal gains and might even be losing muscle mass. Drinking a glass or two before and after a workout can help you build your muscles right back up.
14. Prolonged bouts of illness
Water helps our bodies flush out toxins through urination, sneezing, and coughing. Without sufficient water in our bodies, many of our organs will begin to deteriorate, including our kidneys. What happens when we don’t have enough fluids to expel these toxins is that our organs steal water from other areas of our bodies, including our blood, which can potentially lead to a whole new range of health problems.
15. Problems digesting
Our digestive tracts are lined with a naturally occurring mucus which helps move food down the system and protects our organs from gastric acids. Without enough water, the mucus lining will become thinner and less effective in moving food and shielding our organs from the acids. Heartburn and indigestion will usually occur after our stomach acids roam freely.
16. Accelerated aging
We mentioned earlier that dehydration can affect our skin due to the inability to produce the natural moisturizing oils. What this can do is actually cause us to look a lot older than we actually are. Looking young requires having enough fluid to keep your moisturized, and long bouts of minor dehydration can cause premature lines and wrinkles.
17. Weight gain
Dehydration can actually cause an increase in body weight. Without enough water in our systems, our bodies will latch onto anything they can get from anywhere, including the salty and sweet snacks you mistakenly ate to fight off thirst/hunger. You’ll also increase your carb load through sweet or salty treats in the attempt to reduce your thirst.
18. Aching joints
Our joints are in constant need of water to stay squishy and absorb shocks. The cushioning between joints will deteriorate in cases of dehydration since they don’t absorb water from other sources. Unexpected cracked knuckles might be a way that your body is in dire need of hydration.
19. Cholesterol imbalance
When we become dehydrated, our bodies respond by commanding it to increase its production of cholesterol. This thickens our cellular walls in order to retain as much moisture as possible. As a result of this defensive mechanism, our blood cholesterol levels will spike and become harder to maintain.
20. Respiratory problems
From our noses to our bronchi, the entire respiratory tract needs an ample lining of mucus to prevent foreign bodies from passing into our lungs. Without proper hydration, the mucus lining will become thin, allowing more and more airborne pollutants to enter and reside in our lungs. This opens our lungs to a host of different problems, including allergies and excessive, dry coughing.