Pretty simple title for a blog post.
But not so simple when you ask many people how much water they drink on a daily basis. According to a study done by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, the average American drinks a little more than 4 cups of plain water and about 13.4 cups of water from all sources of food and drinks. Compare this to the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recommendations of 15.5 cups per day for men and 11.5 cups per day for women.
It is apparent that most individuals are chronically dehydrated and simply not getting the right amount of water they need. 75% to be precise, according to a study by New York Hospital and Cornell Medical Center.
One of the major effects of dehydration is poor sleep. Going to bed even mildly dehydrated can disrupt your sleep, as it causes your mouth and throat to become dry, setting you up for sleep-disruptive snoring at night and hoarseness in the morning. A lack of fluids before bed can also worsen leg cramps and may wake you up. In addition to poor sleep, your alertness, energy, and cognitive performance are worse the following day.
Good hydration is more than just chugging a bottle of water before bed. Drink plenty of water throughout the day rather than all at night, as that can also lead to frequent bathroom trips.
A good way to keep track of how much you need to drink is to first determine your average daily weight. Use this number as a standard for your normal state of hydration. Do not begin an intense workout or shift at your job until the body is at, or slightly above, its standard weight. Drink enough water during that time to maintain that starting weight. Here are some guidelines:
- Consume 14-22 ounces of water before a workout
- Drink 6-12 ounces of water for every 15-20 minutes of exercise
- If working, consume that 6-12 ounces of water every hour or two depending on the work environment
- Drink water with food if possible, as that prolongs its absorption and ensures you’re properly hydrated for a longer period of time
Stay health and well hydrated for optimal performance during the day and at night. And don’t wait until you’re thirsty, as that means it’s often too late.