THE HUMAN BODY is 60 per cent water, and blood 90 per cent, so it’s no wonder we need to keep ourselves topped up with H20.
Maintaining adequate hydration is essential in everything from regulating body temperature, keeping the brain sharp, and getting your bowels moving.
And if that’s not convincing enough, some evidence also suggests that staying hydrated can help with weight loss.
Everybody knows you’re supposed to drink “eight glasses of water per day”.
But there are many ways you could be doing this wrong, outlined below.
1. You’re drinking too much
It seems these days the more water you drink, the better.
But Prof Stergios Stelios Doumouchtsis, a consultant obstetrician & gynaecologist and leading expert in urogynaecology, said this “sometimes comes at the cost of more activity of the bladder”.
He told The Sun: “I would recommend a total volume of 1.5 to two litres on a normal weather day.
“When it is warmer, or people train for physical activity, then up to three litres is unlikely to affect bladder frequency because this accounts for perspiration.
“You see more and more women carrying a large tank or bottle of drink all the time.
“Sometimes we don’t realise we are overloading ourselves with drinks, and then the bladder has to work more, and then we start this vicious cycle of going to the toilet ‘just in case’. This perpetuates the problem.”
As well as straining the bladder, drinking too much can cause hyponatremia, otherwise known as “water intoxication”.
This is when sodium levels in the blood drop dangerously low due to the sheer volume of water. It can cause nausea, headaches, confusion, seizures and even a coma.
2. You drink a glass before bed
If you’re chugging back a glass of water just before you turn the lights off, it’s no wonder you’re taking toilet trips throughout the night.
This will disrupt your sleep, and a poor night’s rest can leave you grumpy, irritable, hungry, and unable to concentrate.
Erin Palinski-Wade, a leading diabetes registered dietician in the US, recommends “tapering off your fluid intake about three hours before bedtime”, according to Eat This not That.
3. You’re adding sugar – rather than natural alternatives
Squash is a British household staple.
But per serving, it can contain up to three teaspoons of sugar, which is not only detrimental to your waistband, but your teeth.
You’re better off switching to a zero calorie natural alternative, such as fresh fruit (strawberries or raspberries), frozen fruit, or mint and cucumber for freshness.
A squeeze of lemon adds a nice zing and may have additional health benefits, as i is
4. You don’t drink it with alcohol
Many drinkers swear by a glass of water before bed to try and ward off a headache in the morning.
But those downing a glass between alcoholic beverages during the night are doing it right, not just to relieve a hangover, but a potentially fatal heart condition.
When you drink alcohol, it can cause changes in your heart rate, which could lead to a condition called atrial fibrillation (AF or AFib).
Studies show AF can be triggered by both binge drinking and daily drinking – as little as one beverage a day.
Dr Suzanne Steinbaum, a cardiologist, told Well and Good: “If your heart rate increases after drinking, it is most likely due to dehydration.
“To help counteract this, make sure that you are staying properly hydrated when consuming alcohol.”
5. You don’t have a glass upon waking
Starting the day with a large glass of water is thought to wake the body and its organs.
It will also jolt the metabolism, said Lisa Jubilee, a holistic nutritionist based in New York, who recommends 20 to 32 ounces of water (2-3 cups) shortly after waking.
Lisa said: “My clients who have implemented this report less bloating, more energy, and a smaller appetite.”
6. You don’t realise you’re thirsty, not hungry
Often when we think we are hungry, we are in fact just dehydrated.
Studies have shown that more than half of people mistake thirst for hunger because thirst signals can be weak.
It means you may be unnecessarily eating calories that you don’t need because you’re thirsty.
Next time you’re hankering for a snack, drink a glass of water first and see if the feeling passes.
True hunger typically feels like an empty feeling in the stomach, growling or stomach rumbling, irritability and lack of concentration.
7. You don’t drink it when you’re tired
If you’re feeling tired and fuzzy-headed in the day time, you don’t always need coffee – a glass of water should put a spring back in your step.
Your brain is about 80 per cent water, so staying hydrated keeps the brain sharp both in the short term and long term, said Dr Martin Kinsella, founder of BioID Heath.
He previously said: “If you are dehydrated, your reactions may be slower, you may feel foggier than usual, and it may affect your concentration.
“It’s best to always keep a glass of water in front of you, and sip throughout the day to keep you sharp.
“It’s also worth noting that cognitive responses naturally become slower as we age, this is down to hormonal changes, and again, it is crucial that you keep hydrated.”