“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 the building block of all your tissues, 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 move them into cells, is important for physical and mental function, and helps regulate body temperature,” says nutritionist Libby Mills, RDN, LDN, and spokeswoman for sarahwrite. said. com, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
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 this 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,” Mills says.
What’s happening, he explains, is a fascinating physiological process: As dehydration sets in, your blood electrolytes (minerals like sodium and potassium) become more concentrated, signaling your brain that you’re thirsty. There is also less saliva and a feeling of dryness in the mouth.
- You don’t pee much
When electrolytes in the blood are concentrated, the brain signals the pituitary gland to release anti-diuretic hormones, which cause the kidneys to excrete less water and not produce as much urine, Mills said.
So how often should you pee? It varies from person to person and from day to day, but according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), you should urinate every three hours if you’re staying hydrated.
- Stumbled on urinalysis
According to the NIDDK, normal urine color is pale yellow.
If your urine is the color of these black and yellow road signs, or dark, 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.
A small cross-sectional study published in the British Journal of Nutrition in January 2013 found that mild dehydration can result in dehydration, confusion, fatigue, and decreased alertness. But drinking water directly helped participants feel more alert.