Some days you probably feel like you’re in a terrible, grouchy, anxiety-ridden mood for absolutely no reason at all. You may even feel that way a lot of the time.
When we feel this way, most us may assume it’s most likely a lack of sleep, work stress, or other life frustrations bringing us down, but there’s another possible culprit you may want to consider.
Dr. Chris Lee, a neuroscientist and executive coach, recently shared the mind-blowing tidbit that even the tiniest bit of dehydration can have a major impact on your mood.
He states that just 1.5% dehydration can cause mood alteration, challenges with self esteem, increased anxiety, and depression.
Research backs this up. Studies conducted at the University of Connecticut’s Human Performance Laboratory found that even “mild dehydration can alter a person’s mood, energy level, and ability to think clearly.”
Symptoms caused by mild dehydration may include:
- difficulty concentrating
- difficulties with completing mental tasks
And interestingly, women tend to be more sensitive to dehydration than men.
So, how much water are we supposed to drink to prevent this from happening?
According to the University of Connecticut, “In order to stay properly hydrated, experts … recommend that individuals drink eight, 8-ounce glasses of water a day, which is approximately equivalent to about 2 liters of water.”
If you want to check whether you’re getting enough water now, be sure to check your urine. The darker it is, the more likely you are to be dehydrated.
4 Practical Ways To Increase Your Water Consumption
1. Hydrate with caffeine.
Believe it or not, caffeinated drinks can be used to help meet your daily water intake. However, it’s important to note that caffeine should be used in moderation. Try not to consume more than 400mg of caffeine per day.
If you aren’t sure what 400mg of caffeine translates to, the team of editors at familydoctor.org provides the amounts of caffeine typically found in some popular drinks:
- 12 ounces of soda: 30-50 milligrams of caffeine
- 8-ounces of green tea or black tea: 30-50 milligrams of caffeine
- 8-ounce of black coffee: 80-100 milligrams of caffeine
- 8-ounce energy drinks: 45-80 milligrams of caffeine
2. Flavor it.
For reasons unknown, some people just can’t stand the taste of water. Whether it is spring water or tap water — it’s all the same to them, absolutely repulsive.
If you fit into this category, try flavoring your water instead, suggests nurse practitioner Liana Reiland.
This trick is something my mother does to help her consume more water and it helps. There are packets you can get from Walmart or Amazon to make your drink taste however you want! So, explore and find a flavor that works for you.
3. Eat it.
It’s easy to forget, but many fruits and vegetables are high in water. And if you struggle with meeting your water goals then you can always eat it instead of drink it, writes Reiland.
Whether you choose to eat watermelon, lettuce, or cucumbers, try incorporating more fruits and veggies to better meet your water intake goals.
4. Tie it into your routine.
If you work better with structure, you may want to try tying water into your daily routine, says Reiland. For instance, when you wake up in the morning, drink a glass of water. Then when you arrive at work, drink another glass of water.
Small incorporations such as these can make meeting your water goals a lot easier and a lot less stressful.
As I stated before, there is a recommended amount of water you should be consuming a day. However, every person is different because every body is different. Ideal water consumption for one person may be slightly different for another.
If you’re not sure how much water you should be consuming, you can use a little math to figure it out.
1. Multiply your weight by 0.5. The result will give you the ounces of water you need to consume before factoring in physical activit.
2. If you’re factoring in exercise, take your previous result and add 12 ounces of water for every 30 minutes of exercise.
If you’re like me and math makes you sick, there are calculators you can use to make your life a whole lot easier!
Drinking enough water isn’t always a fun goal, but by meeting your daily intake you can improve both your mental and physical well-being!
And anytime you start to feel bad — mentally or physically — you should probably drink a glass of water, just in case it’s mild dehydration that’s the issue.
Marielisa Reyes is a writer with a bachelor’s degree in psychology who covers self-help, relationships, career, and family topics.