7 Signs You’re Secretly Dehydrated (That Have Nothing to Do With Thirst)

Real Simple: Staying hydrated is critical for feeling good and operating at your best. Given that the body is made up of an average of 60 percent water (though this amount varies from person to person), it requires H20 to function on numerous levels. You need more than two hands to count the number of awesome things water does within your body, but some of its main jobs include removing waste and toxins, regulating body temperature, lubricating joints, and improving cellular, tissue, and organ health, says Tamika Henry, MD, MBA, board-certified family physician and founder of Unlimited Health Institute in Pasadena, Calif. Other tasks include aiding in saliva production, proper digestion, and the delivery of oxygen throughout your body.

Throughout the day, we naturally use and lose water—we sweat, we pee, we exhale—and can’t actually produce more of it by ourselves. Therefore, we rely on external sources to replenish properly. When you lose more water than you take in, you’re considered dehydrated. But you probably don’t track whether you’re dehydrated by keeping tabs on your water intake and output—you more likely wait until you feel thirsty. But here’s the kicker: “If you’re thirsty, you’re already mildly dehydrated,” Dr. Henry says.

While thirst is the most common signal of dehydration—and you should absolutely listen to it—there are several other, less-obvious ways to tell if you’re water-deprived, including some mental and emotional markers that may surprise you. Read more…