How to tell if you’re dehydrated

Picture: iStock

Picture: iStock

We often mistake hunger for dehydration and reach for sugary snacks instead of a refreshing glass of water.

Dehydration occurs when the total water level inside your body is too low. This comes from ‘losing’ more water (through sweat, urine, tears and so on) than you replace through drinking and eating certain foods, like fruits.

Water can be replaced by anything that contains liquid, so a glass of water isn’t the only thing that acts against dehydration; a cup of tea or a slice of watermelon helps too.

Dehydration affects everything from your brain function to your energy level and weight loss ability.

Here are some ways to keep tabs on your hydration level, so you don’t end up suffering the consequences of dehydration:

You’re thirsty (kinda obvious!)

By the time you are thirsty, you’re already a little dehydrated. But thirst is your brain’s first warning signal that your water level is lower than it should be. So when you get thirsty, get something to drink.

Picture: iStock

To completely avoid this, get into the habit of drinking water after every time you urinate. This will help you regain most of what you lose, as long as you also keep drinking at other times too.

Also, be aware that we often mistake hunger for dehydration and we reach for the sugary snacks instead of a nice refreshing glass of water. So make sure you hydrate before you satisfy your cravings. You’re probably just thirsty.

You don’t need to wee very often

If you’re only going to the loo for a wee twice a day then you’re definitely not at the right level of hydration. You ideally should need to use the bathroom every hour to ninety minutes. And you can keep that up by drinking water after every successful trip to the porcelain throne.

Picture: iStock

Your urine is smelly and dark

This is a nasty one, but if your urine is smelly and dark in colour then you are almost certainly dehydrated. You really do want to ramp up your liquid intake if you’re in this position.

And if it’s happened because you’re engaging in athletic activities that make you sweat profusely, then you want to start drinking ‘on the run’ (while you exercise) too. Your athletic performance will be severely and adversely affected by dehydration.

You are cranky and/or confused

If you find yourself cranky and/or confused, then you may be dehydrated.

Sit down, grab a big drink of water (aim for a litre) and see if the symptoms go away. If you are also feeling light-headed or dizzy, then it’s even more likely that your problem is lack of fluids. Get drinking, this is serious.

Picture: iStock

So how much should you drink per day?

The old ‘eight glasses per day’ thing may have once been a good guide, but nowadays, with people exercising more and doing all sorts of extreme sports, plus warm temperatures and less healthy diets, a better aim would be around twelve drinks per day.

This number could include a couple of cups of tea or coffee, and one alcoholic beverage – a beer, or a glass of wine. So aim for eight big glasses of water, and then your other normal drinks on top of that, and you should be in good territory.

The post Tired? Cranky? Not losing weight? You could be dehydrated! Here’s how to tell first appeared on All4Women.

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