Staying hydrated is a basic but essential part of a healthy, functioning body. When we’re hungry, the body is usually not shy about reminding us to eat (sometimes with loud, grumbling noises that flare up during the quietest moment of a meeting). But the body is much more subtle when it comes to letting us know we’re short on fluids.
Dehydration can cause fatigue and affect cognitive abilities, which can lead to serious problems. In order to prevent this, look out for these signs that you should reach for a water bottle:
You feel dizzy when you stand up too fast. Blood pressure drops when you’re dehydrated, which can leave you feeling dizzy and give you a rush of lightheadedness when you get up too quickly.
Your lips and hands are cracking. Dehydration often makes its way to your skin, which can result in cracks forming on your lips and knuckles. This can be itchy and painful.
You have headaches. While a headache can signify a hundred different things, one of the most common causes of headaches is dehydration. When the brain is dehydrated it can actually shrink, just like a sponge due to lost fluid.
Your limbs are cramping. Dehydration is responsible for cramps, because it alters your body’s balance of electrolytes, which are responsible for keeping your muscles functional.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the right amount of water per day is 11.5 cups for women and 15.5 cups for men. Of course, this fluctuates with body type and health levels, but in general it’s a good baseline to shoot for.