We all know that our bodies are roughly 60% water – it keeps us running and functioning as we should. But it’s been suggested that drinking water at certain times can have increased benefits such as weight loss, hunger management, digestion, and pain relief. There are too many theories and suggestions to go through, but here are a few of the most popular.
From drinking water before bed to losing weight, read on to debunk water drinking myths and learn more about how your body works with this essential addition to your diet…
Let’s start with the most obvious question: how much water should you drink a day? The UK’s NHS recommends between six and eight glasses a day, but what size is a glass? There’s little clarification on their website, but other professional bodies suggest about two liters every day. The trouble is, this also depends on your habits and lifestyle. When thinking about what you consume, consider things like:
- Your diet – are you eating too many foods which have a diuretic effect?
- How often you work out – are you sweating out your fluids?
- The temperature – if it’s too hot, you’ll be using more to stay cool
- Your health – are you ill and your body under stress?
- If you’re pregnant or nursing – your fluids are working for two.
These things can affect how much fluid you’re using and how much you need to stay topped up, so it may instead be worth trying to work out if you’re dehydrated instead.
Dehydration has pretty common side effects; reduced focus and brainpower, darker urine, fatigue, and thirst. You know your body, so listen to it and drink when you feel or see the need.
Adopting healthy habits
Some think that drinking certain things at certain times can boost your health. For example, downing a cup of water when you first wake up all bleary-eyed. The theory is that this rebalances your body to cure any dehydration you may have from being asleep. It’s hard to say whether that’s true as our bodies are all different, but it’s more likely that it simply wakes up your body and kickstarts your metabolism so you feel more awake and energetic. Let’s take a look at a few other myths and suggestions:
Drinking water helps you lose weight
We’re not talking about unhealthy habits like water fasting or anything, but water is one of the most recommended dietary additions to adapt to drop the pounds. But why does drinking water help you lose weight?
There are a couple of reasons why water may help you slim up. The first being that a lot of the time we confuse thirst for hunger. This is because the same part of the brain (the Hypothalamus) controls both. When it sends out signals that we’re thirsty, we sometimes eat instead of drink to fix the problem, which leads to a higher calorific intake and increased dehydration – it’s a cycle. The best thing you can do to tackle this is to keep yourself hydrated no matter what.
Another common suggestion regarding water and weight loss is to drink a glass before and after you eat to help you feel fuller and stop you from overeating. It can aid digestion too. While this is true, water should never be a replacement for a nutritious diet.
Does drinking water lower blood pressure?
Although it’s not part of the recommended treatment for blood pressure issues, some scientists have observed that water can increase the body’s control of blood pressure. It’s more linked to improving low blood pressure through the sympathetic system than high blood pressure.
So, have a drink when you’re feeling faint, dizzy, or can’t concentrate – this could give your blood pressure a boost and keep you aware and awake. However, more studies are needed before we can say that drinking water lowers blood pressure.
Staying hydrated is necessary if you work out regularly. It’s not recommended to down a bottle right before a hard workout as it can be uncomfortable for you. Instead, focus on keeping hydrated all the time. If you’re going for a more moderate workout, then drinking a glass 30 minutes to an hour before should be fine.
After you’ve been sweating and wearing your muscles out, you’ll need to top up your hydration levels to compensate for what you’ve lost. This may mean you drink more than the recommended two liters a day, but that’s ok.
Drinking water before bed is ok
This one depends on your circumstances. People who take certain medications may suffer from dry mouths and require water nearby at all times. Though for others, drinking water before bed can lead to late-night loo trips and interrupted sleep. By all means, have a glass there in case you get thirsty, but you know your body, so maybe avoid a later night glass for a better night’s sleep instead.
Tips to stay hydrated
Here are a few things to remember as you’re working to stay hydrated and keep your body functioning:
- All liquids count towards hydration, so eat those water-rich foods, your squash, and your tea too.
- Reusable water bottles could increase your uptake. They are now hugely popular – the market value is projected to reach almost $11billion by 2025 – and are convenient, cost-effective, and environmentally-friendly.
- Instant chilled/boiling taps are a great time-saving option and often some with filters to remove additional chemicals and minerals that can be found in tap water.
The bottom line is our bodies need water more than anything else to function as they should, and drinking water at certain times can help us function more optimally. But no matter how much water helps with weight loss, appetite control, and improved awareness, at the end of the day, we just need to stay hydrated for all this to happen.
This is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care professional. Want to read more wellness articles? Find additional helpful tips on the health section of our website!