Improve your mood, manage your weight, and improve your focus by knowing when and how much you need to hydrate.
If drinking more water is one of your goals, you’re on your way to a healthier body. Every cell in our body needs water. Water is essential for the functioning of digestion, the heart, the lungs and the brain. Whatever your hydration goal, drink regularly throughout the day.
Here are seven times when sipping is a smart move.
1. When you wake up, drink one or two glasses of water.
Instead of throwing yourself into your coffee with your eyes closed, drink a cup or two of water first. Since you don’t drink while you sleep, you wake up already dehydrated. Drinking water now can get you back to your baseline. It can also be helpful if you take medicine in the morning. So yeah, go get your coffee. The good news is that it’s also considered a liquid, and while it’s a caffeinated drink, which tends to dehydrate, moderate amounts of coffee don’t dehydrate, according to an earlier small study of 50 men. (Despite everything, coffee is not a substitute for water.)
2. To regulate hunger, a glass of water before a meal can be helpful
Water can play a role in weight control. Drinking a glass of water before a meal can help you feel fuller and prevent overeating. In fact, one small study found that drinking water before a meal helped both men and women eat less and feel as satisfied as a group that didn’t drink water before. The researchers published their findings in October 2018 in the journal Clinical Nutrition Research. It may also be better if it’s frozen. A small study of men published in the European Journal of Nutrition in January 2019 found that participants who drank two glasses of ice water ate less food compared to groups who drank warm or hot water because cold temperature slows digestion and can help reduce appetite.
3. Drink a glass of water to accompany a meal.
Drinking water while eating helps digestion. It is especially important to drink water with fiber-rich foods. Fiber moves through your digestive system and absorbs water, which aids in stool formation and promotes regularity. So if you fill your plate with plant-based foods (as you should!), drink water too.
4. Drink water instead of coffee to remedy the mid-afternoon slump.
It is common to experience the afternoon bass, a drop in energy that occurs around 3:00 p.m. This dip leads many people to coffee to stay active at the end of the day, but this beverage choice can interfere with your sleep. Based on previous research, even consuming caffeine six hours before bedtime was found to disrupt sleep compared to a placebo. Consuming a sugary snack can also have side effects, namely a drop in energy after a spike. Instead of resorting to these imperfect solutions, address the root cause, which may be dehydration. A review published in Nutrients in January 2019 notes that in addition to fatigue, dehydration can cause anger, hostility, confusion, and depression. So making water a daily habit can help keep your energy and mood stable.
5. Drink water when you have a headache
A headache can be a symptom of dehydration. Furthermore, it can also trigger migraine attacks. For migraine sufferers, increasing water intake may help decrease migraine severity, frequency, and duration, suggests a July 2020 trial of adult women and published in the Journal of Clinical Neuroscience.
6. Hydrate smartly before, during and after exercise
Hydration begins one or two days before exercise. You also shouldn’t jump into the water before a workout in hopes of hydrating yourself, as you might feel uncomfortable moving around. Make sure to drink water regularly in the days leading up to a workout, especially ones that are hard or sweaty. In fact, you should focus on a hydration strategy that begins the week before an endurance race, as research published in November 2019 in Sports Medicine shows that going there dehydrated, even in a small amount, can decrease performance. For moderate exercise (such as jogging outside, a brisk morning walk, cycling), drink a glass of water about 30 minutes before and take a sip during exercise. Then, be sure to hydrate after your workout is over to replace what you lost through sweat.
7. Drink one or two sips of water before going to bed.
Don’t drink a cup or two of water before bed, you’ll have to get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and that will disrupt your sleep. However, feel free to keep a glass of water by your bed at night, in case you get thirsty. For many patients undergoing treatment, one of the common side effects is dry mouth, so having water on hand can be helpful.
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