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illustration of woman drinking water

Water not only quenches our thirst, but it helps us concentrate, regulates body temperature and promotes cell health.

We all know we should be drinking lots of it, but new research shows many of us are struggling to keep up with the recommended amount of 1.6 – 2 litres per day.

According to a new study from Aqua Pura, only 6% of people in the UK are drinking the recommended amount, with most consuming 850ml per day on average – less than half the suggested daily intake.

It also found that men are less likely to stay hydrated with over a third (34.3%) saying they don’t drink still water at all, in comparison to a quarter (25%) of women surveyed.

The good news is that there are some easy ways to increase your water uptake and make it a part of your daily routine. 

Experts have shared some simple tips to try.

Take a bottle everywhere

If you take a big water bottle everywhere you go, you’re more likely to drink it.

Just look at how often we lug our phones around and how much we use them – the same applies to creating a hydration habit.

Abbas Kanani, a superintendent pharmacist at Chemist Click, says: ‘The best way to try and drink more water is to keep a large sized water bottle with you at all times of the day, colchicine vademecum this will remind you to keep drinking throughout the day. 

‘This is much easier if you have a stationary office job as you can keep topping it up, but if you have a more active job then try to ensure you are filling up your bottle a few times a day.’

This way you’re setting yourself up for the best possible results. 

Set alarms

Everyone gets distracted and it’s easy for a few hours to pass without having any water. But alarms will help you get into a regular routine of drinking – and this, in turn, will help form a habit.

Abbas says: ‘If you have a job where you are on your feet all day and don’t find time to drink, you should look at setting various alarms throughout the day – which will help to remind you to drink more. 

‘For example, setting an hourly alarm named “drink up” will remind you to stop what you’re doing, find your water bottle and have several big gulps of water and fill up your bottle each time, keeping you well hydrated.

‘If you have a desk job, this will also allow you to have short but regular breaks from your screen and desk, which are imperative for your eye health as well as posture.’

Flavour it

If you simply don’t enjoy the taste of water, there are a number of ways to make it more appealing. 

Abbas adds: ‘You could also try adding fresh fruit to your water such as lemon, lime, cucumber and mint – these will give the water a nice flavour while also acting as a detox for your body. 

‘Citrus fruits such as lemon, lime and orange are the best for this as they contain antioxidants and will detoxify your body while you drink.’

Get into the habit of having it with other drinks

Perhaps you have coffee and tea daily? A good way to ensure you’re staying hydrated is to have a bottle of water when you order or make your favourite drinks.

Abbas says: ‘If you have work meetings, grab a tap water alongside your coffee, or bring in your bottle. Then if you are out in the evening, ensure you also order a tap water alongside any alcoholic beverages. 

‘You will begin to get the hang of asking for water alongside other drinks.’

This is also particularly important considering how caffeine and alcohol can dehydrate us.

Have it as a bedside companion

‘Sleep with a bottle of water by your bed – we all wake up dehydrated after the overnight fast, rehydrating first thing in the morning is important for supporting energy, productivity and concentration,’ says nutritionist Jenna Hope.

Not only will it be one of the last things you see at night (and a nudge to catch up on your recommended amount) but it’ll also be in your mind first thing in the morning. 

Jenna adds: ‘It’s also a brilliant reminder in the morning to hydrate.’

Reassess your hunger

‘Sometimes our bodies can trick us – telling us we’re hungry when really we’re thirsty,’ say Dr Miriam Adebibe and Dr Lauren Hamilton from wellness clinic Victor and Garth.

‘When you fancy a mid-morning or afternoon snack, try instead to drink a glass of water or a mug of herbal tea.’

Of course, if you really are hungry you’ll need actual food – but it’s always good to double check thirst at the same time.

Also, when you go to have a snack, you’ll be prompted to grab a glass of water as well.

Signs you aren’t drinking enough water:

It’s also a good idea to be aware of the signs you aren’t drinking enough water.

Some of these include:

  • You feel thirsty
  • You have a headache
  • Your urine is dark yellow and has a strong smell
  • You feel dizzy or lightheaded
  • You feel nauseous
  • You have dry mouth
  • Your skin feels dry
  • You have bad breath (and not just after eating smelly foods)
  • You feel tired
  • You’re struggling to concentrate
  • You’re hardly peeing – going fewer than four times a day and only seeing a small amount come out shows you need to be drinking more

The signs above suggest mild dehydration, which is a very different thing to severe dehydration, which needs medical help.

If you experience any of the below symptoms, call 999 or go to A&E:

  • your pulse is weak or rapid
  • you have fits or seizures
  • you haven’t urinated all day
  • you’re dizzy when you stand up and that feeling doesn’t go away
  • you’re confused and disorientated

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