In the cooler months it can be especially difficult to maintain hydration levels as our body’s natural dehydration cues can often be missed.
However, it is still important to make sure that we are getting the recommended amount of water every day (approximately 2.7 litres for women and 3.7 litres for men).
Here are some signs that you may not be drinking enough water:
You have a headache
Our brains are 80 per cent water. When you are dehydrated, your brain tissue loses water, causing brain shrinkage and pain surrounding the brain.
Dehydration also lowers blood flow and oxygen to the brain, which can dilate blood vessels and cause swelling and inflammation.
Next time you have a headache, try having a glass of water first before reaching for painkillers.
Your mouth, eyes and skin are dry
We are constantly losing fluid from our body throughout the day. If we do not replenish our levels enough, then our mouth, eyes and skin can all suffer from lack of moisture.
Your urine is dark
A less pleasant, but rather more obvious sign of dehydration is darker urine. When your levels of hydration are adequate, the body is more able to flush out toxins through our urine.
When we are dehydrated, there is less free water to remove these toxins, making our urine darker.
You feel fatigued or disorientated
When we expel fluids, our body is also getting toxins out of our system.
If we don’t have enough fluid to do this, there can be an imbalance in the electrolytes in our system, which can make us feel dizzy, confused or have difficulty concentrating.
Similarly, being dehydrated can also cause fatigue as our blood circulation decreases.
You are always hungry
Our body can have trouble distinguishing between genuine hunger and dehydration. This is because the hypothalamus in our brain can confuse thirst with appetite.
If you are eating a balanced diet but still finding yourself hungry, double check that you are drinking enough water.