You know the scene: it’s festival season, and you’ve been at it all day. You’re hungry, tired, and your mouth feels as dry as a desert. But why all at once? You’re probably dehydrated! Our bodies are made up of 60% water, and losing too much over a hot day can affect a number of things, including your mood and energy 1,2. So keeping well hydrated is vital!
But Doc, how much water should I be drinking? Unfortunately that’s tough to say. Previous guidelines, such as drinking eight glasses a day, have been shown to be flawed 3. However, we think that the following rules will keep you right as rain during the festival season and beyond.
Rule Number 1: When you’re thirsty, drink some water! Our bodies are telling us something when we’re thirsty: we need some water! If you’re feeling parched, it’s time for a glass of water. But keep this in mind: as we age, we don’t pick up on being thirsty quite as quickly or as often, so you can be dehydrated but not thirsty at the same time 4.
Rule Number 2: If you’re hungry before mealtime, drink some water! Folks can sometimes find themselves getting hungry between meals, and while on occasion a snack is warranted, oftentimes water is the answer. Dehydration can stimulate the hunger response, so don’t discount that the next time your stomach is grumbling well before that next meal.
Rule Number 3: When you wake up in the morning, drink some water! While we sleep, we lose a good amount of water. Experts agree that drinking 8 glasses a day is no longer the rule of thumb, but they still recommend consistent water intake throughout the day, so it’s best to start drinking water first thing in the morning 5.
Rule Number 4: When you sit down for a meal, drink some water! Studies have shown that those who drink water, especially at mealtime, tend to have lower BMIs than those who don’t drink water 6,7. Most of this is can be linked to drinking water instead of sugar heavy beverages, but the link is clear: those who drink water tend to remain slimmer!
There is so much more to learn about our bodies and our water needs, but if you keep these four simple rules in mind, you should do well during this festival season. Now grab a glass of water and let the good times roll!
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Armstrong, L.E. et al. (2012). Mild dehydration affects mood in healthy young women. The Journal of Nutrition, 142(2), 382-8.
Gano, M.S., et al. (2011). Mild dehydration impairs cognitive performance and mood of men. The British Journal of Nutrition, 106(10), 1535-43.
Valtin, H. (2002). “Drink at least eight glasses of water a day.” Really? Is there scientific evidence for “8x8”?. American Journal of Physiology: Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, 283(5), R993-1004.
Begg, D.P. (2017). Disturbances of thirst and fluid balance associated with aging. Physiology and Behavior, 178, 28-34.
Appel, L. et al. (2004). Dietary Reference Intakes: Water, Potassium, Sodium, Chloride, and Sulfate. National Academies of Medicine.
Chang, T. et al. (2016). Inadequate Hydration, BMI, and Obesity Among US Adults: NHANES 2009-2012. Annals of Family Medicine, 14(4), 320-4.
Daniels, M.C. and Popkin, B.M. (2010). Impact of water intake on energy intake and weight status: a systematic review. Nutrition Reviews, 68(9), 505-21.