Dehydration isn’t just a matter of being thirsty

Photo by Boxed Water is Better/Unsplash

Did you know that by the time you feel thirsty you’re already more dehydrated than you think? Dehydration should not be taken for granted. It affects your physical and mental performance and causes feelings of fatigue and headache. That’s why it’s important to know all the signs that you need more water in your body. Here are five signs of dehydration you should look out for: 

When you experience a headache


When you’re dehydrated, your brain cells often shrink so the tension gives you a headache. This happens when your body loses more water than what it has taken. That’s the reason why you get that annoying ache in your head when you spend too much time under the sun. Drinking enough water before you go out or work out can prevent this type of headache. 


When your pee is a little too dark


There’s a reason why doctors tell you to look at the color of your urine—because urine color says a lot about your hydration. When you’re dehydrated, your kidneys attempt to absorb water back into your body which results in a much darker and highly concentrated urine with little volume. 


When exercise seems hard


If you’re dehydrated, your usual jogging routine may seem more difficult because having no water in your body alters the concentration of your blood volume. When your blood volume is affected, your heart rate is expected to pump harder to look for more oxygen and nutrients for your muscles. And this causes  your heart rate to increase to keep up with your usual pace. This can be avoided by making sure you have enough fluid in your bloodstream. 


When you feel you’re not as sharp


According to a study published in Medicine & Science in Sports and Exercise, dehydration significantly affects your focus, executive function and motor coordination. It impacts your sodium and electrolyte levels, which has been linked to cognitive changes. This then affects your brain and your ability to process information as sharp as possible. 


When you feel easily tired


When you’re dehydrated, your heart has a reduced ability to deliver oxygen which in return makes you feel tired. The core temperature in your body also increases causing brain and body fatigue. That’s why it’s best to drink glasses of water to start your day in order to hydrate your body right away. In addition to water, you can eat food rich in potassium like banana or drink electrolyte-rich drinks like coconut juice.