Here’s How to Tell If You’re Dehydrated

How to Tell If You're Dehydrated
Photo by Haley Read

Did you know that the majority of Americans are chronically, mildly dehydrated? Does this include you? Here’s are the dehydration symptoms you should look out for.

First, What Is Dehydration?

Dehydration is when your body doesn’t have as much water as it needs to function at its best. This can range from mild, i.e. a headache and yellow urine, to severe, which can be as bad as fainting and hospitalization to replace lost fluids.

How to Tell If You’re Dehydrated

1. Color of urine.

Pale yellow is the goal. If it’s dark yellow or you can’t remember the last time you peed, you need to drink more fluids.

2. Headache, tiredness, or irritability.

As stated in a University of Florida Health podcast: “Many people think that if they feel weak, tired or suffer from headaches they need to eat. More likely, water is the solution—and remember, if you’re thirsty, your body is already complaining. You’re already dehydrated.”

Even mild dehydration can cause moodiness and irritability, which may be difficult to pinpoint, but it usually follows a feeling of tiredness.

3. Check your caffeine and alcohol intake.

A lot of us may live in a constant state of mild dehydration, especially because drinking caffeine and alcohol can worsen dehydration symptoms.

Water is the best thing to drink to stay hydrated… and carrying a refillable bottle is a great way to make sure water is always accessible.”

Subscribing to a water delivery service, like hint, is another great way to ensure you always have water available, especially water that’s appealing to drink.

4. Thirst

Although using thirst as a benchmark for dehydration in endurance athletics isn’t advised, for everyday life, thirst is a simple and effective judge. If your mouth is dry and you find yourself craving something, but you can’t put your finger on it, try drinking water.

All too often we judge thirst as hunger, when really we just need to drink more.

What to Do:

On an average day, you should drink at least about 1.5 liters of water (almost four hint waters) as a baseline.

But, if you exercise regularly or it’s hot and/or humid, you have to drink more. This is because most likely, you’ll be sweating more. The 1.5 liters per day recommendation doesn’t take hot weather or exercise into account.

An hour of exercise in the heat requires at least another liter (50 ounces) of water. This is way more than you may think. One standard 16-ounce water bottle is not going to suffice for an hour-long spin class or a 40-minute jog outside.

The Best Morning Habit

One of the best habits you can develop is hydrating from the moment you wake up, and I don’t just mean with coffee. I like to start my days with coffee, but also at least 20 ounces of water. I’ve noticed that my workouts are better when I start hydrated, and I’m able to recover better with less lingering muscle soreness.

Experts agree with the importance of morning H20. Louisville-based Dr. John Mandrola, who specializes cardiac electrophysiology and also happens to be a cyclist, told The Greatist:

“Not enough summer exercisers start the workout topped off. Before I leave for a bike ride in the summer, I usually chug an entire bottle of water. Again, it’s hard to drink that much fluid, but when going out in the heat for a few hours, your body will thank you. One negative side effect: an early pee stop.”

As the mercury rises this summer, make sure you give your cells what their craving: water.

Want to make sure you’re always stocked with water? Subscribe to hint and have it delivered as often as you need.

Do you drink water in the morning when you wake up? How much water do you drink per day? Do you drink water before exercising?