It’s 3pm on a Thursday, and something’s not quite right. Your mouth feels dry, your head is pounding, and your body feels exhausted, like you ran a marathon in the desert while carrying your grandmother on your back. What the heck’s going on here?
Spoiler alert: you’re dehydrated (try to remember the last time you had to use the bathroom if you don’t believe us). Luckily for you, this uncomfortable state is easy to remedy (and easy to prevent) once you recognize the symptoms and take a swig from your water bottle. But what are the symptoms of dehydration, and why do they happen? Let’s play a little game of “You Might Be Dehydrated If…”
…Your Mouth Feels Dry
When you don’t drink enough water during the day, your bodily fluid levels are low, and you may not have enough saliva to keep your mouth moist (our apologies if you’re one of those people who hate that word). Even worse? When your mouth is dry, bacteria decide to have a party, which leads to bad breath.
…You Have a Headache
Actually, being dehydrated can give you a headache in a few different ways. Quick anatomy lesson: your brain sits inside three layers of tissue that are separated by fluids, kind of like small, thin water balloons, that act as a buffer from your skull. That way, every time you shake your head, your brain doesn’t bang into your skull and cause a hammering headache. However, when you don’t drink enough water, that fluid is drained. The brain can then push up against different parts of the skull — leading to that pounding headache reminiscent of the Friday mornings following a Thirsty Thursday in college. Oof, even thinking about that hurts.
In addition, not having enough water can impact your serotonin levels and cause headaches that way. Or, if you’re dehydrated, your blood volume drops (we’ll talk about that a little more below), so you don’t get enough blood and oxygen to your brain. When that happens, your brain’s blood vessels dilate, leading to swelling that also causes a headache.
So, water makes up most of your blood and bodily fluids. When there’s not enough water in your body (and subsequently, your blood), your blood thickens, which forces your heart to pump harder to carry blood throughout your body. At the same time, you get less blood and oxygen to your brain. The result? You’re whipped, even if you haven’t really done anything.
…You’re Grumpy and/or Having a Hard Time Concentrating
We realize that the above is also synonymous with “pre-coffee.” However, being irritable and confused can also point to dehydration. Research has shown that even being mildly dehydrated can affect your mental function and overall mood. You’ll have a harder time concentrating on simple tasks, which may lead you to silly things like writing the same sentence twice. You’ll have a harder time concentrating on simple tasks, which may lead you to silly things like writing the same sentence twice.
…You’re Craving Sweets
Sure, we could easily eat a doughnut a day — but oftentimes, we mistake thirst for hunger, and craving sweets is especially common when you haven’t had enough to drink. Here’s why: when you’re dehydrated, it’s hard for your body to release glycogen and other energy sources, which can lead to you feeling like you’re hungry when you’re actually just thirsty. You might crave any kind of food, but your sweet tooth is most insistent because of the lack of glycogen. After you’ve sipped from your reusable BPA-free water bottle, reach for a piece of fruit or yogurt to satisfy your craving with a food that’s both sweet and high in water content.
Looking over this list, none of these symptoms look that enjoyable, right? By keeping a reusable water bottle near you all day and taking frequent sips to hit your recommended hydration goal, you’ll feel happy, energized, and ready to take on the day!Back to Blog Home