The Real Way to Know If You’re Drinking Enough Water

| Oct 30, 2015


The issue of proper hydration gets a lot of attention. In fact, “How much water should I drink each day?” is actually one of the most frequently asked questions on Google.

This is definitely a question worth asking. Water is absolutely essential for every one of our bodily processes…and studies show that nearly ⅔ of us are chronically dehydrated.[1]

You’d think that avoiding such a deficiency would easier. After, we’re made of water; shouldn’t it be at the forefront of our minds?

And yet, many people either don’t drink enough water, or they cancel out the water they have consumed with sugary sodas, caffeinated drinks, and other diuretics.

Everyone would like to hear the magic number that dictates exactly how much water they should drink on a daily basis. You’ve probably heard the 8×8 rule (8 glasses, 8 ounces each), but there’s no official source or specific evidence for this recommendation. In all likelihood, someone just made it up to appease the masses…and now doctors simply continue to pass it on.

There’s no such thing as “health by numbers”

The truth is that there’s no hard and fast rule when it comes to hydration (except that everyone needs to drink water, of course).

Water requirements (like most bodily needs) vary from person to person—and even from day to day for the same person.

Think about it: you’ll obviously need to drink more water after running 10 miles than after a relaxing day at home. If you take a vacation to a hotter climate or higher elevation, you’ll need to drink more water.

The point is that it’s better to listen to your intuition and common sense. Don’t get caught up in the numbers game; just pay close attention to the momentary signs that your body gives you.

Luckily, your body has plenty of built-in mechanisms that will tell you when you need more water, as long as you’re willing to listen…

Drink when you’re thirsty. We’ll start with the obvious. Simply drinking a generous portion of purified water whenever you feel thirsty takes all the overthinking out of the process.  

Just be warned that if you wait until you’re thirsty, you may already be dehydrated (especially after physical exertion, during which your body loses a lot of water through perspiration).

Paying attention to thirst is a good starting point, but learning to tell the more subtle signs could be the difference between satisfactory health and radiant health—many doctors even believe that dehydration is a leading cause of diseases.[2]

Pay attention to your pee. The color of your urine and your frequency of urination are important (and very accurate) markers of your hydration level.

Your urine should always be a pale yellow color. If it is darker, it means that your kidneys are retaining fluids (in turn, a greater percentage of your urine is made up of toxins and other excretions).   

Because of this fluid retention, you’ll also urinate less often while dehydrated. I’ve heard people complain about having to urinate frequently when they drink a lot of water. The reality, though, is that a healthy, well-hydrated person will urinate at least 7 or 8 times a day—the inconvenience of which is far overshadowed by the dangers of dehydration.

Look out for symptoms of dehydration. Aside from thirst, dryness, and dark-colored urine, there are some tell-tale signs that we wouldn’t necessarily think to associate with dehydration.

Headaches, digestive problems, heartburn, fatigue, high cholesterol, confusion, anxiety, urinary tract infection, and signs of premature aging can all signal chronic dehydration. If you suffer from any of these symptoms, make a conscious effort to up your water intake and see if they’re alleviated.

Make sure you’re drinking the right kind of water

Once you have your personal water needs figured out, you’ll need to ensure that you’re drinking clean, nourishing water.

I wish that I could say that any water is good water (maybe that was the case a long time ago), but in reality, both tap water and bottled are often dangerous toxin sources. In some case, bottled water is even worse than tap water.

In some cases, the body will not retain impure water as effectively. So if you think you’re drinking enough water but still feel dehydrated, you may need to upgrade your water source.

Natural spring water is always the best option, but at the very least, avoid bottled water and consider investing in some kind of water purification system.

Your body will thank you

By learning to listen to your body, you’ll be able to make choices that are precisely aligned with your needs. And the better shape you keep your body in, the more equipped it will be to send you accurate signals about what it needs. It’s a virtuous cycle.

Hydration is a perfect context for practicing this kind of self-listening, because the signs are so easy to discern. Doing so with regularity will enable you to live consciously, brightly, and vibrantly.





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