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Water isn’t something we give too much though to, unless we get to the point our bodies are begging us for some. By then, dehydration has already occurred, along with a host of health issues as a result. Perhaps because you’re busy or you just don’t feel thirsty, you might not be drinking water like you know you should. Or, if you’re opting for other beverages in place of water that are high caffeine, sodium, and sugar, your body isn’t getting the hydration it needs like it would from regular water. Those alternatives can actually dry out the body because they affect the natural water balance in the body.

What is Dehydration?

Dehydration is as simple as you’re not putting enough water in compared to what comes out. Your body literally dries out (sounds appealing, right?) The human body is made of mostly water, so don’t expect to deprive it of what it wants and feel so great as a result. When you’re dehydrated, cells don’t function like they normally would when they’re well-hydrated and you might experience some negative side effects as a result.

Here are some common things that are often experienced all because of dehydration:

1. Constipation

Most people think that a lack of fiber causes constipation, and while it can, a lack of water can be just as problematic. If you’re eating a high fiber diet and not drinking enough water, all that fiber isn’t getting pushed through the body, which can lead to constipation. It’s recommended to drink one whole liter of water first thing in the morning before you eat breakfast to help hydrate the body and help regulate your system. Drinking it all day long will naturally prevent constipation as well. Decaf herbal tea and decaf coffee will count towards your water requirement if you want to enjoy those instead, but caffeinated sources may worsen the problem.

2. Dry mouth

“Cotton mouth,” as some call it, is also caused by dehydration and is something you might have experienced while talking a great deal, which dries out the mouth naturally. You may also notice your lips peel and even bleed when you’re especially thirsty, all of which are no fun and can’t easily be reversed. To prevent this, even if you’re having a conversation, giving a speech, or somewhere that’s a little inconvenient to be drinking water, be sure to have some on hand so you can drink some at least every 30 minutes or so.

3. Sleepiness and Fatigue

If it’s the middle of the day and you can’t keep your eyes open, then have some water and see how you feel. The body slows down when it doesn’t get what it needs and this doesn’t just include food, but also water too. Your metabolism requires water to function properly and if it doesn’t get enough, then it will try to reserve energy as a preservation method, which results in you feeling draggy and tired.

4. Dry Skin

Chronic dry skin is another sign of dehydration. If you apply lotion and oils and have no success, you’re likely just dehydrated. Drinking water regularly can help plump out the skin and increase moisture within the cells naturally.

5. Headaches

Headaches are not usually thought to occur from dehydration, but they can. Most of the time, they come way past the point of no return, meaning once you develop a headache, it’s usually too late to hydrate yourself enough to reverse the problem. You’re much better off having a glass of water and then lying down until the headache passes as you allow your body to rest and balance itself back out. Then next time, be proactive and drink more water so you don’t get a headache in the first place.

6. Confusion and Lightheadedness

If you’re feeling a little out of it, you might just be dehydrated. Remember, your brain can’t function properly when your body is out of balance. If you feel a little weak and lightheaded without any other known reason, have some water, sit down, and take some deep breaths to see how you feel. Since a lack of water can affect your blood sugar, this can also lead to lightheadedness and even false hunger. Have some water and you’ll feel much better in no time!

7. Blood Pressure Problems

Low blood pressure and even high blood pressure can be caused by a lack of water in the body. High blood pressure can be caused by too much sodium which naturally dehydrates the body and low blood pressure can simply occur because you’re not drinking enough. Blood pressure is very important to your health so you need to manage it as best as possible.

It’s hard to know how much water your body needs and when, so the easiest way to prevent dehydration is to drink a glass of water throughout the day at least every two hours. This may seem like a lot but will quickly help you see how much you need to feel your best. Thirst isn’t always the best way to tell if you’re well-hydrated or not, and it’s not always the first marker for telling you that you haven’t had enough water. Also remember that some foods contain diuretic properties (celery, fennel, parsley, asparagus, coffee, caffeinated tea), and some vitamins such as B vitamins, also contain diuretic properties that cause more water excretion from the body.

While you can drink too much water if taken to extremes, aiming for 8 glasses a day is a pretty safe bet you’ll get enough without any problems. You might just surprise yourself at all the ways your health improves from this inexpensive, easy action.

How many glasses of water do you drink a day?

Image Source: Pete Markham/Flickr

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