Dehydration can cause a whole lot of unpleasantness: stress, headaches, cramps, dizziness, fainting, low blood pressure, and in extremely severe cases, even death. Kids will dehydrate faster than adults, so make sure your little ones are regularly topping up with good old-fashioned water.
Without water, our bodies wouldn’t be able to function. H2O regulates body temperature, gets rid of waste via urine, and it acts as a vessel for carrying nutrients around the body. Blood is composed of 92 per cent water and our bones contain water too – in fact, nearly all our bones are actually one quarter water!
How to hydrate regularly:
- Carry a water bottle with you that keeps water nice and cool
- Pop a slice of lemon or lime in your water for a refreshing drink
- Keep a glass of water on your desk at work, or nearby you at home, and top it up at least every two hours
- We lose water out of our system every time we breathe, and often wake up dehydrated. Keep a glass of water next to your bed to help combat this
- It’s easy to forget to drink when you’re busy, so set a reminder every hour on your phone, until drinking regularly is a habit
- Drink little and often, rather than lots all at once
Ensuring we are adequately hydrated is also important when it comes to keeping our stress at bay. Because our body is largely made up of water, all of our organs are put under stress if we are dehydrated. This in turn actually causes emotional stress as well, due to more cortisol, the stress hormone, being released. When we are stressed, we tend to slide into ‘flight or fight’ mode, where our hearts beat quicker, and we breathe faster, resulting in a loss of fluid, and in turn, we become dehydrated.
In short, being dehydrated causes stress, and stress causes dehydration, so you can get into a tough cycle to break. That’s why it’s crucial that you stay on top of your water intake, so that you can stress less when life gets hard to handle.
Adults should aim to swig 1.5–2L of water every day, which is around 6–8 glasses, and youngsters should be drinking around 1–1.5L, which is around 4–6 glasses. However, this will need to be increased if you or your family are engaging in physical activity, or the temperatures are soaring. Bear in mind that everyone is unique, and so is their hydration. A good way to check in on your hydration is to check your urine. It should be a pale yellow colour – anything darker means you are probably dehydrated.
During activities that make you sweat profusely, it could be worth looking at an electrolyte replacement drink, which will help replace any important salts and minerals that you lose through sweating. Coconut water is a good option, because it contains electrolytes, Potassium and B vitamins. And on the topic of coconuts, coconut oil is fantastic for keeping skin hydrated, and can be great for those with eczema. If you do find your skin is dry and lack lustre, argan oil, which contains omega 3 fatty acids, is believed to boost collagen production, while avocado and olive oils are also a great way to pamper dry skin.
“If you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated – and that isn’t good for your body.”