Though we are made up of so much more, our bodies are made of mostly H2O; 72% to be exact. Ever notice yourself having a hard time waking up in the morning, or feeling fatigued? We spend an average of 8 hours without drinking anything while we are sleeping, so we are already waking up dehydrated! Dehydration can cause headaches, bad breath, twitching muscles, muscle fatigue, hunger pains, digestive issues, high blood pressure, wrinkles, acne, bloating, weight gain, a number of heath concerns, and cognitive delays.
Without getting too ‘sciency’ there is a basic balance of sodium and H2O in our bodies; the more sodium, the more our body retains water (causing bloating). Once you drink more than that threshold, our bodies expel H2O in the form of urine, creating an equilibrium. If you are someone who craves salty snacks, this is an indicator that your body is trying to tell you it needs more water. In most cases when we crave certain foods, its our bodies way of telling us we are lacking something. Most of the time if you drink water, that craving will dissipate. And no, drinking pop or other juices is not a significant source of hydration. These drinks have additives, sugars, and sodium, which contribute to the dehydration process. The best way to get your water intake is to be conscious of your drinking choices.
Why is this relevant from a mental health stand point? When our bodies are fatigued, our minds take over with anxious thoughts and an increase in depressed mood due to lack of motivation. Our brains try to understand what our body is telling us, but without the understanding of what our bodies are telling us, our brains think something is wrong and we are no longer able to think or do what we once could.
Finding simple ways to start getting more H2O without completely changing your lifestyle can significantly increase your mood and overall health and well being.
Here are some helpful hints and tricks to start trying:
- The recommended amount of water intake per person is a simple calculation. Drink ½ of your body weight converted in to ounces. (i.e. If you weigh 150lbs, you should be drinking at least 75 oz of water a day).
- Start every day with a full glass of water, 10-20 oz.
- Drink a glass of water with every meal, 10-20 oz.
- When you notice a food craving, drink a glass of water and wait about 10 minutes.
- Drink water during your workout.
Talk with your mental health and primary care providers regarding any mental/physical fatigue.
By: Amanda Thompson, MS. Ed., LPCC-S