10 Signs You Don’t Drink Enough Water
By Melissa Halas, MA, RDN, CDE
If you have a busy lifestyle, how can you know if your hydration habits are keeping up with your demanding schedule? Here are 10 warning signs to pay attention to.
Water is one of the 6 main nutrients we need to survive. And as little as 2% fluid weight loss can negatively impact exercise performance and well-being. (1) While your body may give your brain a necessary nudge when needed, your actions don’t always align with the request.
Meeting your fluid requirements is imperative to health—allowing it to thrive and function optimally. Especially because hydration status affects so many aspects of health, including:
So, let’s take a closer look at how to prevent dehydration, and the 10 key signs you aren’t drinking enough water and other fluids.
10 Signs and Symptoms That You May Be Dehydrated
Here are indicators that you may need to up your fluid intake.
1. Dry Mouth
As a result of dehydration, the body cannot make adequate saliva. Saliva is necessary to swallow and digest food and keep your mouth clean. A dry mouth can be a choking hazard and may result in bad breath.
It seems simple enough! While some people may wait until feeling thirsty to drink, this cue is a sign of dehydration. So, try to avoid this common cue by consistently sipping on fluids throughout the day.
3. Dry Lips
As a result of dehydration, your lips are unable to stay moist. Unfortunately, no amount of lip lubricant will solve the underlining condition of dehydration. (2)
4. Dark Urine
Have you ever paid attention to your urine color? While it may feel like a T.M.I (too much information) situation, your urine visually represents your hydration status. So, the darker the color of your urine, the less you are hydrated, and vice versa. Ideally, your urine color should be a pale yellow—like lemonade! (3)
Hunger and thirst cues are very similar, sometimes making it confusing. If you feel adequately nourished yet still long for something more, it may be a hydration issue. How many fluids have you drank today?
6. Muscle Cramps, Aches, & Pain
Is your body struggling to keep up with your daily workout or physical activity? Dehydration leads to reduced blood flow, making it more challenging for the body to deliver nutrients and manage lactic acid buildup—often resulting in cramps or pain.
When the body is dehydrated, it conserves fluid by limiting its flow to the skin and organs for survival purposes. It’s a stressful process for the body—often leaving it worn out and ready to call it a day! So simply speaking, being dehydrated can make you tired.
Dehydration can lead to an imbalance of electrolytes which can result in the onset of a migraine. Rehydrating can often mitigate this symptom.
Since dehydration results in reduced blood flow to the brain, it may cause a state of confusion.
10. Hot Flashes
The body is struggling to properly regulate body temperature, causing you to feel hot, hot, hot! (4)
Unique Ways to Rehydrate
While water is the easiest way to reach your fluid needs, it’s far from the only option.
For those who find water a snooze, consider alternatives such as clear liquid broth, milk, vegetables & fruit (mostly made up of water!), and tea & coffee.
When choosing a beverage, opt for an option low in added sugars for better overall health.
For a food-first approach to electrolyte consumption, try consuming a banana with a dash of salt.
Experiment with a salty snack combined with coconut water—a fluid option naturally rich in potassium.
As you can see, there are many elements to your health that can be impacted by your hydration status. If you think you fall short on your daily fluid intake, find a simple way to keep yourself accountable.
MyMenu Concierge’s TRACK feature includes a nutrient tracking tool that can help you monitor your fluid intake, including fluids from other beverages and food as well. These insights can help your performance both at work and during exercise and can ensure you stay hydrated throughout the day!
The United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee https://www.usada.org/athletes/substances/nutrition/fluids-and-hydration/ Accessed 10/1/2022.
Halas M. (2019) The Plant-Based Boost Nutrition Solutions for Athletes and Exercise Enthusiasts. 2019
Popkin BM, D'Anci KE, Rosenberg IH. Water, hydration, and health. Nutr Rev. 2010 Aug;68(8):439-58. doi: 10.1111/j.1753-4887.2010.00304.x. PMID: 20646222; PMCID: PMC2908954.