When you're busy trying to live your best professional and personal life, remembering to drink eight glasses of water a day can be the lowest priority on your daily totem pole. But hydration is one of the most important acts of self-care there is, and it's essential to feeling energized on any given day. If you're not sure whether you're currently drinking enough water, you might want to pay more attention to the red flags for dehydration that can often go unnoticed.
Hydration isn't about simply drinking a bottle of water a day. In fact, you actually need way more water than you probably think in order to be properly hydrated each day, as most experts suggest a minimum of half a gallon of water a day (around eight glasses daily), and some athletes drink twice that amount during peak training periods.
While it depends somewhat on how much you move around, and even how much you sweat each day, a good rule of thumb is to shoot for about eight glasses of water each day. That might feel daunting at first, but there are apps out there to help you, and plenty of beverages that can contribute to your hydration beyond just plain water.
But the first step toward healthy hydration is admitting that you're not hydrated enough. Here are six signs that you might be more dehydrated than you realize.
1Your Eyes And Mouth Are Dry
It's not just about feeling thirsty. When you're dehydrated, your eyes and mouth might start to feel dry to the point where you become physically uncomfortable, or even itchy.
One great way to start your day off the right way is to drink two glasses of water as soon as you wake up. The morning hours can be your most dehydrated part of the day, and drinking water first thing in the a.. will boost your energy and your metabolism for the rest of the day.
2Your Heart Rate Is Elevated
If your heart rate is up to 20 or 30 beats higher per minute than your average resting heart rate, it could be a sign that you're dehydrated. Either way, you should speak to a medical professional whenever you notice a significant change in your heart rate.
To find your resting heart rate, press two fingers to the inside of your wrist or against your neck, and count the number of beats over one minute. A healthy resting heart rate tends to be anything under 80 beats per minute, although this ranges widely depending on the person. Again, it's always best to speak to your own doctor about what your "normal" is with these things.
When was the last time you pooped? If you just had to frown and think for a few seconds, you're probably not going to the bathroom as frequently or regularly as you should be.
Constipation, and even not peeing that often throughout the day, are both signs that you might be dehydrated. Water keeps your gastrointestinal tract healthy, and not having enough of it can tend to block everything up down there.
4Your Pee Is Seriously Yellow
Is your pee bright yellow, burnt orange, or even a creepy brown color? Yeah, you're most likely drinking way too little water.
The stronger the smell and color of your urine, the more dehydrated you probably are. Ideally, your pee should be almost as clear as the water you're drinking, which is a great way to measure how hydrated you are. Of course, make sure to talk to your doctor if you notice any significant changes in your pee to make sure all is good down there.
5You Have "Gravity Skin"
Pinch the skin on your arm. If the skin remains hunched after you release it, and then slowly returns to normal, your body might be super dehydrated.
When your skin is dehydrated, it doesn't possess the same elasticity as it usually does. Another sign of this is when you wake up with those pillow wrinkles on your face. Ideally, hydrated skin won't hold those indents as much as dehydrated skin.
6You're Completely Wiped Out All The Time
Are you flat-out exhausted? There are a lot of different reasons for why you might feel extra fatigued these days, but lack of hydration is one of the top causes of feeling sleepy throughout the day.
Staying on top of your sleep and hydration habits is super important, so that when you inevitably feel a drain of energy during the day, you can try to track the cause of the problem and correct it ASAP.