At this point, most people are under the impression that they should drink around 8 glasses of water a day. And while that may be true for some individuals, you may actually need more or less than 8 glasses a day—which is okay! Everyone’s body is different. If people aren’t consuming the same amount of food every day, why should you be expected to require the same amount of hydration daily?
By following the 8 glasses rule, you may be making yourself dehydrated. Symptoms of dehydration include dry mouth, dizziness, extreme thirst, and more. Here are some ways that dehydration can affect your well-being ranging from minor to severe:
Fatigue: You might not think that not getting enough water is too big of a deal, but it might be the reason why you’ve been feeling tired. Most people probably don’t associate fatigue with not drinking enough water, but yes, there’s a connection. Remember, people are made up mostly of H2O, so it’s hard for your body to function properly without it. Water carries essential nutrients to your cells, giving you the energy to go about your day.
Chances are, if you’re not getting enough water, it’s because you weren’t aware you needed more, or it’s difficult for you to increase your daily intake. For the first case, the best thing you can do is listen to your body. If your mouth is feeling dry or you’re feeling dizzy on a really hot day, keep a water bottle handy, so you can have water easily accessible. As for being uninterested in water, you can do a variety of things to make water more enjoyable. Try adding fruits to your water to sweeten it, or add some Nuun Energy to help your fatigue.
Brittle Hair & Skin: This is one of the more minor effects of dehydration. While you certainly won’t die if your hair and skin aren’t healthy and glowing, it’s still a part of your appearance. Appearance may not be a big deal for some. Although for others, it can influence their self-esteem, confidence, and overall mental well-being. Your skin is 64% water, according to USGS, so obviously, without hydration, your skin and hair may struggle a little.
Lack of water for extended periods can lead to excessive dryness in your hair and skin. For your hair, brittle strands are more prone to breakage and can lead to hair thinning. While for your skin, excessive dryness can lead to premature aging and even acne. Try increasing your water intake and add ingredients like cucumber or strawberry for added benefits. For your hair, brittle strands are more prone to breakage and can lead to hair thinning in women and male pattern baldness in men.
Potential Weight Gain: First off, there’s nothing wrong with gaining weight as long as you’re healthy. However, if you're gaining weight and wondering why—it could be dehydration. Have you ever wondered why you keep reaching for snacks but are still unsatisfied with something? It may be because you’re thirsty. People’s bodies release signals that let them know when they’re thirsty, and sometimes these signals can be weak due to a disease like Adipsia.
Whatever the reason for your confusing thirst and hunger, there are ways to improve it. One thing you could try implementing is drinking a glass of water before your meal. This can help prevent you from overeating while letting your body and brain know that it’s been hydrated. Additionally, dehydration can cause your metabolism to slow down. Similar to how it slows down other bodily processes. Another tip you can try is setting water break timers. When you’re working or otherwise busy, you can forget to hydrate, so setting timers can help remind you to get your water in. Water does not substitute food and having a healthy meal alongside drinking water is crucial!
Heart Complications: In an article by UPMC, it’s been found that lack of water can affect blood volume in your body and make your heart work harder. As it beats faster and faster, you may feel heart palpitations occasionally. Your heart is what keeps your body running, so you want to make sure that it has everything it needs to run correctly. Since water helps ease the muscles around the heart and helps things run smoothly, it’s essential to consume the right amount of H2O, especially when doing an activity like exercising. Adding vitamins to your water for an additional boost during workouts can be a game-changer.It may benefit you to keep track of how much water you’re consuming and how you feel throughout the week. If you find that drinking 8 glasses of water is what makes you feel the most healthy and rejuvenated, then continue to do so. But if you feel your heart having issues or you’re feeling mentally groggy, increase your hydration goals.