Eight glasses are the general rule of thumb. Most of us know this already. But this doesn’t necessarily apply to everyone, does it? After all, there are many factors to take into consideration: a person’s size, their diet and environment, level of activity, and general overall health for instance.
If you’re unwell and losing fluids either via sweat, vomiting or diarrhoea, then those fluids need to be replenished. Breastfeeding mothers also need to replace vital fluids whilst nursing their babies. And if they’re not replaced promptly, then dehydration is an imminent danger!
While we’re unable to determine exactly how many glasses of water it takes to remain hydrated all the time, there are some tips we can use to stay out of the danger zone!
1. Look down the toilet!
Looking at the colour of your urine is a good indicator of how hydrated you are. The darker in colour, the more likely you are to need hydration. If it’s a very pale-yellow colour, then the chances are that you’re drinking the adequate amount. You may have noticed that your first wee in the morning is darker in colour – this is because our body has depleted its reserves overnight. Have a quick glass of water to top up before you jump in the shower!
2. Don’t get thirsty
Feeling thirsty is the easiest way to realise you need a drink! It’s also the perfect indicator that you’re on your way to dehydration. The thirst sensation doesn’t usually present itself until we’re already 1 or 2% dehydrated by which time it’s starting to have an impact on our brain and body performance. If you’re exercising on top of that, then dehydration will be accelerated. Sip plenty of water throughout the day (whether you’re active or not) to combat those tell-tale symptoms: headaches, dizziness and cramp to name but a few!
3. Eat well
Water intake doesn’t just have to come from a glass. What we’re eating can make up a large portion of our fluid intake, and the healthier the better! Some fruits and vegetables contain up to a whopping 90% water, so eating these can only be beneficial. Although we would advocate drinking as much plain water as possible, other beverages all contribute to our fluid intake. Unfortunately, most if those ‘other’ beverages contain calories, so if you’re watching your weight, then water is most definitely the best option.
4. Aaaaand… rest
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of dehydration, then the chances are you won’t be getting a good night’s sleep. The knock-on stress of dehydration will almost certainly impact on both the quality and quantity of sleep you get. Always have a glass of water at your bedside, so that if you do wake in the night you can take a few sips.