The common “rule” often recited is that you should drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water daily.
This “8×8 rule” can be a helpful guideline in most cases, but it’s not a perfect one-size-fits-all solution for optimal hydration.
Why You Might Need To Drink More Water
Several factors can affect how much water you need to drink each day.
For example, if you live in a hot climate and are physically active, you’ll need to drink a lot more water than someone who lives in a cooler climate and has a sedentary lifestyle.
Your weight and body composition are also important factors. The heavier you are, the more water you’ll need to drink.
Factors that can affect your hydration needs include:
- activity levels
- temperature and humidity outside
- your diet
- health condition
- pregnancy or breastfeeding
- alcohol consumption
How To Tell If You’re Dehydrated
If you’re wondering whether you’re drinking enough water, there are a few signs and symptoms of dehydration to look out for.
- feeling thirsty
- dark-colored urine
- feeling tired or fatigued
- dry mouth
- low blood pressure
If you are experiencing these symptoms, sip on more water and see if you start to feel better. If that doesn’t help or your symptoms worsen, don’t hesitate to call your doctor or emergency services.
Dehydration can lead to serious and potentially life-threatening conditions if left untreated.
Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink more water. By the time you feel thirsty, you’re already dehydrated.
How Much Water Should You Drink Each Day?
Another helpful rule of thumb is to drink enough water daily so that your urine is clear or slightly yellow and nearly transparent. If your urine is yellow, that’s a sign that you need to drink more water.
But again, this isn’t a perfect recommendation. Other factors such as medications, supplements, and certain foods and drinks can also affect your urine color.
When exercising or sweating a lot, it’s essential to drink more fluids to replace the fluids you’re losing.
If you’re unsure if you’ve had enough water today, there’s a good chance you should be drinking more. Many people are under-hydrated or are consuming less than optimal amounts of water each day. Beyond the health risks, this can lead to weight gain, low energy levels, dry skin, difficulty concentrating, and an irritable mood.
Drinks like coffee, soda, and alcohol are not suitable substitutes for water, as they can actually contribute to dehydration. Caffeinated beverages like coffee and soda can have a diuretic effect, making you urinate more and lose fluids.
Water is still the best choice for optimal hydration. If you don’t like the taste of plain water, try adding a slice of lemon or lime, or drink sparkling water.