The human body can survive for weeks without food but can only survive for a few days without water. 55-70% of your body is made up of water, which constitutes a significant portion of your body weight. Water is the foundation of your blood, urine, digestive juices, and sweat and is found in muscle mass, fat, and bones. The water in your body needs to be replenished every day to compensate for the water you lose through your bowel movements, lungs, skin, and urine. The amount of water you need depends on your body size, metabolism, diet, activity level, and the climate in which you live.
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Water is vital for healthy living and for your body to function properly. Almost every major system in your body depends on water to function and stay alive. For example, water is important for:
- Controlling your body temperature
- Carrying nutrients and oxygen to the cells
- Lubricating your joints
- Reducing the workload on your kidneys and liver by removing waste products
- Dissolving minerals and nutrients to make them accessible to the body.
While it's clear that drinking enough water is vital for your wellness, you may be wondering if the time of day that you drink water is a factor. Here are some tips on when it’s important during the day to drink water.
After waking up
Drinking a glass of water after you wake up in the morning helps support your internal organs. The water flushes out toxins from the body before you have your first meal of the day. Drinking water after waking up can also improve the health of your skin and hair, as dehydration can cause skin dryness.
Before your meals
Drinking a glass of water just before a meal is an excellent strategy for losing weight. This not only helps you feel fuller but also helps prevent you from overeating and thus reduces your caloric intake. A glass of water an hour before a meal also helps with digestion. One study looked at people who drank 500 mL (16.9 ozs.) of water about 30 minutes before their meals and found that those who drank water ultimately had fewer calories compared to those who didn’t drink water.
Before and after exercise
Water controls your body temperature as well as lubricates your joints. It helps in transporting nutrients to give you energy and keep you healthy. When you're dehydrated, your body can't perform at its best, as it causes muscle fatigue, loss of coordination, and electrolyte imbalance. Without enough water, the body lacks energy, and the muscles contract involuntarily. Before working out, fill your bottle with 16-20 ounces of water. While you’re exercising, drink 6-12 ounces about every 10-15 minutes. Ensure that you hydrate well after finishing your workout to replace the water you lost while exercising.
When you have a headache
A migraine headache can occur from being dehydrated because not enough oxygen can reach the brain when you’re dehydrated. One study tested how water can relieve headaches and found that 47% of people in a group who were instructed to drink water when they had headaches experienced improvement. Try drinking water to see if it helps your headache before taking pain relievers. You may be surprised to find that drinking water keeps the headaches away and energizes you throughout the day.
Before your period
You can relieve premenstrual discomfort and reduce bloating by drinking 8-10 glasses of water before and during your period. Being hydrated helps keep the menstrual blood from coagulating. Dehydration can also be one of the main causes of cramps or headaches during your period.
When you are sick
When you're sick, you inevitably lose more fluids because of sweat, vomit, or diarrhea. Also, the medications you take to dry out and cleanse your system can sometimes make you dehydrated. Also, your metabolism can speed up if you are ill, which means that your body needs more fluids to compensate for increased activity by drinking water or having an electrolyte drink. Staying hydrated enables your body to circulate blood more freely, allowing cold- and flu-fighting white blood cells to fight viruses better. Drink plenty of water at the first sign of illness, especially if you don't feel like eating. Avoid alcohol and caffeinated beverages because they will dehydrate you more.
Before going to bed
Drinking water two hours before going to bed will help you replenish the fluids you will lose during sleep in advance. It can be harmful if you don’t drink right before bed. Staying fully hydrated before sleep can reduce your risk of having a heart attack or stroke since dehydration increases risk factors for cardiovascular disease. In fact, heart attacks typically occur in the morning because the blood is thicker from dehydration.