Dehydration sometimes just creeps up on you, and it can be hard to keep track of how much fluid you’re drinking in the day, especially if you’re running around or zoned in at work. Plus, some people don’t love the taste of plain water (myself included), which can make it less appealing and not top of mind.
However, you can’t just wait until you go to the bathroom and see dark yellow urine to know that it’s time to pour a glass of water and hydrate. (And when it is dark yellow, it means you’re already dehydrated and should’ve started to drink sooner!)
Whether you set alarms or reminders throughout the day to drink a glass of water, keep a reusable water bottle right on your desk so it’s visible to you, or flavor your water to jazz it up, any method that gets you drinking more fluids consistently during the day will help fight dehydration.
Plus, being aware of the warning signs of dehydration and staying in tune with your body can also help you spot it fast and grab some water to prevent the onset of symptoms. Here’s what to pay attention to, as these signs are all indicators of dehydration.
You Have Brain Fog and a Headache
If you have a pounding headache or have brain fog, you are likely becoming dehydrated and should get some fluids in fast before it gets worse—especially for those who happen to experience migraines and headaches more frequently too.
The brain needs water to stay alert and to focus, and so you’ll start to get mentally fatigued when you’re getting dehydrated. That mental fatigue will also lead to physical fatigue, as your whole body starts to feel sluggish. If you go too long you run the risk of getting lightheaded and passing out. And you may experience pain too, as the brain starts to shrink from lack of fluid balance, which may cause your head to throb.
You’re Starting to Cramp Up
Muscles cramps and spasms happen when your body is not balanced in fluids and doesn’t have enough water. Your muscles need water to function and when there’s a shortage they will also get smaller and tense—and then so will you. They can be painful once you reach a point of dehydration so if you start to feel tense chug some water to prevent cramping.
You Feel the Urge to Pee but There’s Little, Dark Colored Urine
If you start to feel like you need to pee but you went not too long ago or you keep trying but little urine comes out and when it does it’s pretty dark and yellow in color, then you’re definitely dehydrated. Before other symptoms appear, drink fluids to bring more fluids back into your body and to rehydrate your cells and muscles.
Your Mouth is Dry
If your mouth is dry, it means you’re thirsty. So, listen to it! Dry mouth means you are getting dehydrated and unless you drink something stat you may start to cramp up and get lightheaded. Keep a water bottle on hand to always have something to drink when your mouth gets dry—it’s the simplest fix possible.