How can I stay hydrated around the clock?
ASKED BY Lydia Wood
Do you wake up feeling tired and groggy, wishing you could hit the snooze button? You grab a quick coffee on the way to work and that picks you up for a while but come 10.00 am you just want to put your head on the desk wondering why you feel so tired. It might just be that you woke up dehydrated and the problem got a whole lot worse when you had that first coffee of the day. Let’s rewind a little and see what you can do to start the day feeling bright, fresh and ready to go.
Why is it important to stay hydrated?
Every single cell in our body needs water to function correctly and long-term dehydration can lead to many health conditions. Even mild hydration can cause tiredness, brain fog and irritability. Our brain is almost entirely made up of water and fat so it’s vital to keep the brain hydrated for better concentration and mental alertness.
Put a water plan in action
- If you don’t drink enough water put a plan in place to increase your consumption
- Start the day by replenishing your water levels. Aim to drink 2 glasses of water as soon as you rise
- Always have a refillable water bottle with you
- For every tea or coffee, you drink, have a glass of water also
- If you feel hungry, top-up on water first. We often confuse thirst with hunger, so trying a glass of water may delay your hunger pang
- Ensure that you replenish your water levels in the afternoon to help you through the energy slump
- Drink water before, during and after a workout
- If you want to vary the taste add a slice of lemon or lime or some summer fruits
Eat your water
Certain foods contain high levels of water, include plenty of water-rich vegetables and fruits; the obvious ones are watermelons and cucumber but there are some other excellent sources.
Tomatoes 95% water
Spinach 93% water
Broccoli 90% water
Oranges 86% water
Apples 85% water
Include electrolytes in your diet
Electrolytes contain minerals (sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium) which help to create a healthy fluid balance in our body and maintain hydration. This is because the way that sodium and potassium move in and out of cells dictates how much our body holds on to water and how much it flushes out. Imbalances can be caused by dehydration, high temperatures, sickness, intense exercise, and even age – as we get older our body finds it more difficult to balance electrolytes.
You can add electrolytes to your diet by drinking coconut water or using an electrolyte drink.
It’s all too easy to pour a glass of wine or sip on a G&T as you prepare dinner but it’s probably the worst thing you can do if you want to spring out of bed in the morning. Have you noticed how you wake up in the middle of the night after drinking alcohol? It’s actually a diuretic, which means that it robs your body of precious water.
It’s not so hard to break the habit. Try pouring a glass of sparkling water, you could even add electrolytes to give it an extra boost. Think of how it is working positively on your body to help you to sleep more peacefully later on.
If you’ve managed to consume enough water throughout the day you may well notice that your skin is glowing and that you have had more energy than usual. Try to get to bed early and when you wake up tomorrow you will be ready to power your way through the day.