“You’re a tall drink” isn’t just a (really lame) pick-up line (that no one uses)—it’s actually a pretty accurate description of your body. After all, you’re about 60 percent water, and water is a building block for every cell in you, according to the US Geological Survey (USGS).
Drinking water is important for every system in your body. “Water moves food through the gastrointestinal tract, helps absorb nutrients and transport them to cells, is important for physical and mental function, and helps regulate body temperature,” says nutritionist Libby Mills, RDN, LDN, spokesperson for Nutrition and Dietetics. regiment academy reported to LIVESTRONG.com.
In other words: “To be on top of your game, you need to be fully hydrated,” says Mills.
So, how can you tell if you’re dehydrated? Here are some signs of not drinking enough water. If you notice, fill up your glass and drink. “For most of us, drinking a glass of water makes sense,” Mills said.
- You are thirsty
While it may seem obvious, “thirst is the body’s first natural signal that it needs to drink water, and it’s a sign of at least some degree of dehydration,” says Mills.
What’s happening, he explains, is a fascinating physiological process: As dehydration sets in, your blood’s electrolytes (minerals like sodium and potassium) become more concentrated, signaling your brain that you’re thirsty. Salivation also decreases and the mouth feels dry.
- You don’t pee much
When electrolytes in the blood are concentrated, the brain signals the pituitary gland to release anti-diuretic hormones, which tell the kidneys to excrete less water and not produce as much urine, Mills said.
So how often should you pee? This varies from person to person and from day to day, but if you’re staying adequately hydrated, you should urinate every three hours, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK).
- You fail a urine test
Normal urine color is light yellow according to NIDDK.
If your urine is the color of one of those black and yellow “Present” traffic signs, or darker, you need to hydrate, says Mills.
- You feel weak
You got enough sleep yesterday, but you’re dragging today. “Lack of energy is a sign of dehydration,” says Mills.
In January 2013, a small cross-sectional study in the British Journal of Nutrition found that dehydration, as a result of mild dehydration, increased confusion, fatigue, and decreased alertness. But drinking water directly helped participants feel more alert.
- You are too clingy
No one will tell you to eat, drink water instead of food. (Of course not satisfied).
However, “people can stay full longer between meals if they’re properly hydrated,” Mills says.
A December 2019 review of six randomized controlled trials in Nutricion Hospitalaria found that while more research is needed, there is limited evidence that drinking water helps with weight loss, with the greatest effect when people replace caloric drinks with plain water. .
If you’re feeling an unusual snack, it can’t hurt to drink a glass of water first, says Mills. (Of course, if you’re still hungry, eat!)
- You have a headache
It’s been a busy day so you don’t have to worry about getting up and filling your water bottle. Now I have a headache. Dehydration can trigger headaches and migraines, according to the National Headache Foundation.
If you’re taking these regularly and know you’re not drinking enough water, one of the natural ways to relieve headaches is to increase your daily H2O intake. Hydration may not completely eliminate headaches, but an August 2012 study in Family Practice found that it can help reduce the negative impact migraines have on people’s quality of life.
- Your skin is dry
The USGS notes that 64 percent of your skin is made up of water.
“Water is the skin’s natural moisturizer. While healthy, hydrated skin looks beautiful, it also hinders the body’s defenses,” says Mills.
If you’re dehydrated, you may notice that your skin feels dry and flaky. A small 2015 study from Clinical, Cosmetic, and Research Skin found that increasing your water intake—if you don’t already drink enough—can help improve skin health and hydration.