Most people know that staying hydrated is very essential for health – including performance, skin quality, and many other things.
But how to stay hydrated when lacking a feeling of thirst?
When I was child/teenager, I rarely drank more than one glass of water with each meal, plus some gulps at school and maybe one or two glasses of juice in the afternoon. Only when I was in my final years of school I started to feel really thirsty, so I drank up to about 1/3 litre for each two hours at school on some days. I guess my brain was really busy during that time.
Now I’m fighting a lack of thirst once more on many days. So how do I trick myself into staying hydrated?
- Taking a gulp of water from the tap when I’m in the bathroom (e.g. after washing my hands or before brushing teeth). With all the trips to the bathroom in a 24h period it sums up to about one or two additional glasses of water per day, I estimate.
- Taking a bottle of water with me everywhere. I use a stainless steel bottle; and recently I noticed I feel more thirsty when I have been walking for a while.
- Switching beverages – in between glasses of water, every now and then it is nice to drink a bit of juice or homemade lemonade (aka squeezing some lemon/orange juice straight into a big jug of water). Juice alone for fulfilling one’s daily water quota is not recommendable though, as it contains a lot of calories (fructose, sometimes even additional refined sugar; but please stay away from diet beverages containing yucky stuff like aspartame!) Mixing juice and water is better. But I’m not above drinking some store bought soda to get my thirst started – the combination of flavour and stickiness tricks my body into craving water. (And I got really low blood sugar at times, so some sugar gets my whole body up and running, resulting in signalling a need for more liquids.)
- Don’t drink sparkling water/soda all the time! At least for me it’s quite difficult to drink a lot of that stuff without feeling full. If you’re fine with drinking more than one litre of sparkling water each day, go on with it. If not, try to get some non-sparking liquid input in addition.
- Eating spicy or dry food. Salty popcorn or some nuts are nice thirst inducing snacks, but a little extra pepper on your lunch will do the trick just as well. Some licorice or peppermints can help, too.
- Using straws. I drink more when I use a straw. Recently I bought some reusable stainless steel straws and I really enjoy using them. There is something about the sucking versus sipping that triggers my muscles so I continue gulping down even tasteless water. Everybody is different, so for you a narrow bottle or a big cup might be the ideal solution.