17 Secret Signs You’re Dehydrated

Hungry, moody or feeling forgetful? Dehydration could be to blame.

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Are you dehydrated?

You’ve heard the rule: drink eight glasses of water every day. Scientists and nutritionists swear that’s how much H2O our bodies need to function optimally, but the equation can’t be that simple. We’re each different in so many ways, so isn’t it possible our bodies need a different amount of hydration, too? To get to the bottom of it, we asked two of the country’s best experts how to tell if you’re not getting enough water (so read up and drink up).

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You’re thirsty

Seems obvious, right? Well, thirst isn’t just a sign your body is in need of a little H20 top-up. Thirst means you’re already dehydrated. Don’t ever let your body get to this point, and keep a glass of water nearby that you can sip on all day long.

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Your lips are dry and cracking

Joy McCarthy, holistic nutritionist and Genuine Health ambassador, says this is a pretty good indication that you’re dehydrated (or lacking essential fatty acids). “The outside of your body is a wonderful representation of what’s happening on the inside,” says McCarthy.

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Your scalp is flaky

Just like your lips, your scalp is a good indication of your body’s hydration levels. Keep an eye on your hair line, and if you notice your scalp is dry, try drinking a few more glasses of water each day.

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Your skin doesn’t “snap back”

Despite skin’s elasticity declining with age, “skin turgor (also known as skin elasticity) is a medical assessment of hydration,” Jason Marr, naturopathic doctor and Genuine Health ambassador tells us. Marr suggests pinching the skin on the back of your hand for three seconds and then releasing it. “If the skin doesn’t immediately snap back, you’re most likely suffering from moderate to severe dehydration,” he warns.

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Your urine is dark or smelly

McCarthy advises that urine is another great indication of hydration (as long as you aren’t taking B vitamins which can turn your urine bright yellow or green). Your urine should be pale in colour. If it has a strong smell or is dark yellow, you are definitely dehydrated.

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You’re constantly hungry

Ever heard someone say, “if you’re hungry, try drinking a glass of water”? If you have, it’s not just a diet tactic. The truth is that hunger is often a sign of thirst. Since most people resort to eating, McCarthy suggests drinking two large glasses of water between meals to stay well hydrated, then when you feel hungry, you can be sure you are hungry.

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You’re always craving sweets

In addition to being hungry, constantly craving sugar is a sign that your body is in serious need of water. Next time the vending machine is calling your name, skip over to the water cooler instead.

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You have bad breath

If you’re brushing and flossing like an Olympic champion, but your breath is still less than pleasant, you might be dehydrated. Forget the gum and mints, a big ol’ glass of water may just be the cure you’re looking for.

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Your muscles cramp

Your muscles are like a machine; they need to be well lubricated to run smoothly. If you’re constantly suffering from muscle spasms or your muscles cramp up during physical activity, they may not be getting enough H2O. Make sure you’re well-hydrated before getting your sweat on.

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You get headaches regularly

Yes, everyone suffers from these brain pains now and then, but if headaches are a regular occurrence, you might be dehydrated. Up your water intake to get some relief.

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You can’t sleep

If you find it hard to fall asleep (and stay asleep), it might be your body’s way of telling you that you aren’t drinking enough. Before you head to the sleep-aid aisle, try drinking a few extra glasses of H2O. It might be exactly what the doctor ordered.

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Your memory isn’t great

If you can’t remember what you did last weekend (and there wasn’t any wine involved), you could be dehydrated. Memory loss is a sign of mild dehydration, Marr warns, so up your H2O intake asap.

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You can’t concentrate

Concentration is key to almost everything we do, from driving to preparing for a big meeting. If you’re finding it hard to focus, Marr suggests grabbing some water. Lack of focus and concentration is also a sign your body is dehydrated.

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You’re moody

Everyone has their moody moments, but if your emotions are out of whack on the regular, it could mean your body’s craving liquids.

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Your eyes are sunken in

Yes, maybe you drank a little too much tequila last night or maybe your new puppy kept you awake through the wee hours…but if you stayed in watching Gilmore Girls reruns and got 10 hours of sleep, your eyes could be telling you you’re dehydrated.

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You aren’t regular

To stay regular, your diet needs a perfect mix of fibre-rich foods and water. If you aren’t getting enough of either, you could find yourself constipated or with severe stomach pains.

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You have a fever

You already know a fever is a sign there’s something wrong, but did you know that it could be a sign you’re dehydrated? It’s best to see your doc whenever your temperature spikes, but try drinking some extra water to keep your health in check.