You may not know it, but the worst effects of dehydration could be holding you back. While being thirsty might seem like a minor inconvenience, it can lead to poor performance in nearly every area of your life. Dehydration can also lead to damaging and potentially harmful side effects. Some of these effects are just inconvenient, while others can be life-threatening.
No matter your lifestyle, knowing the worst effects of dehydration and how to avoid them will help improve your everyday life. If you’re not feeling your best at work or in other areas of life, dehydration may be to blame. See if you suffer from any of these six damaging effects caused by dehydration.
Anyone who’s ever had a hangover has experienced the effects of dehydration headaches. The temporary fluid loss due to dehydration can cause the brain to pull away from the skull. No wonder dehydration headaches hurt!
If you suffer from near constant headaches, drink a lot of alcohol, or spend a lot of time working out, you should monitor your water intake. In the case of alcohol specifically, it reduces the body’s hormone that allows it to hold onto water (vasopressin). So next time you have a headache, before popping an ibuprofen, try drinking a glass of water instead.
Along with headaches, it’s common to feel fatigued when you’re in a state of dehydration. The reduction of electrolytes and fluid in the body means that nutrients are not being dispersed as quickly as they should be. This makes you feel sluggish and tired.
Dehydration also means a drop in blood pressure. Poor circulation means the blood flow to your brain isn’t as efficient. So, not only can your concentration be disrupted by headaches, but the blood flow to your brain prevents you from thinking quickly.
3. Dull skin
No one likes the look of dull skin. However, not many people look at hydration as the first route to a healthy glow. If you find your skin is looking a little lackluster, increasing your water consumption is an easy way to combat this.
While there is a difference between dry skin and dehydrated skin, drinking more water can never hurt your appearance. If you’re noticing flakiness, increased wrinkles, or acne, your skin may be suffering from dehydration.
The skin is a delicate organ, and diversity means everyone’s skin is different. However, everyone’s skin benefits from increased hydration. If you’re looking to add a dewy glow to your look or get rid of the dark circles under your eyes, drinking more water is the way to go. If you want to level up your hydration and skincare routine even more, look at this article on the benefits of chlorophyll.
4. Slowed metabolism
When you first start learning about metabolism, you may think that you’re stuck with what you’ve got: either a fast or slow metabolism. Everybody always seems to wish they were born with a faster metabolism that would allow them to eat whatever they want.
However, many factors can affect your metabolism. With that in mind, you can either increase or decrease your metabolic rate. Along with food quality, exercise, and food sensitivity, hydration certainly plays a part in the speed of your metabolism.
Because dehydration slows every process in the body, it makes your body less capable of burning energy. Whether you’re in a weight loss or muscle-building phase, you’ll find that dehydration limits your body’s capability of using fat as fuel. This can be a frustrating process if you’re trying to get in shape, so make sure your hydration is on point if you’re pursuing an athletic or aesthetic goal.
5. Poor sleep
As if feeling fatigued during the day isn’t punishment enough, dehydration can actually make your quality of sleep much worse. Headaches, muscle cramps, or dry mouth can make it hard to sleep soundly. However, the quality of your sleep can also suffer even if you sleep through the night. This results in feeling fatigued during the day, even after a full night of sleep.
You can combat this by making sure you’re drinking water throughout the day, rather than chugging a glass of water before going to bed.
Perhaps one of the most frustrating effects of dehydration can be the inability to focus throughout the day. Our brains are made up of about 80% water, so sufficient hydration is key to keeping a sharp mind.
Though it may affect short term memory or the ability to problem-solve quickly, a dehydrated brain may have a hard time with long-term memory recall as well. This is rarely helpful for optimal performance zones or academics. If you find yourself fuzzy on the details during your day-to-day life, try hydrating more to combat memory decline and mental fog.
The bottom line
Ignoring the effects of dehydration will mean every area of your life suffers, including your performance at work. But staying hydrated is an easy way to start showing up as your best self.
So now that you know the 6 worst effects of dehydration, here are some practical tips that can help you stay hydrated.
- Drink a glass of water first thing in the morning
- Carry a water bottle with you everywhere
- The one-to-one rule: one glass of water for every non-water beverage you consume
- Avoid high-sodium foods
- Set a reminder on your phone to drink water throughout the day
So, how are you going to stay hydrated? What tips help keep you hydrated? Let us know in the comments!