5 HUGE Benefits of Hydration: Are You Drinking Enough Water in 2024?

An image of a little girl with dehydration drinking water from a wooden pitcher.

Maintaining adequate hydration is one of the most critical aspects of the diet, as it helps to ensure that all bodily functions work correctly.

Yet, several studies report that a staggering 75% of U.S. adults are chronically dehydrated, drinking around 2.5 cups of water daily (1).

In this SANE MD blog post, we’ll delve into the world of hydration, exploring the importance of proper fluid intake, the benefits of drinking enough water, and easy ways to maintain adequate hydration.

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Key Takeaways
  • Understand the importance of hydration.
  • Immediately increase your fluid intake if you experience signs of dehydration, such as dry mouth, cracked lips, dry skin, and dark-colored urine.
  • Seek emergency medical treatment if you exhibit symptoms of severe dehydration, such as low blood pressure, increased heart rate, shrunken eyes, and confusion.

Why is Proper Hydration Important?

Staying hydrated is critical for maintaining vibrant good health. Numerous independent studies have demonstrated that even mild dehydration can significantly affect a person’s physical and emotional well-being. According to research studies, the performance of several organs, cognitive function, and mood can be substantially impaired if the body’s overall water level drops by just 1% (2, 3).

This is not surprising since the human body comprises about 60% water, although this average may range from 45% to 75% (4), depending upon age and body type.

Having sufficient water in our bodies is crucial for many essential bodily functions. For example, it enables our blood system to transport necessary glucose, oxygen, and nutrients to cells and helps the kidneys eliminate waste products that we don’t need. Additionally, it lubricates our joints and eyes, aids in the proper functioning of our digestive system, supports cognitive function, regulates body temperature, eases bowel movements, and promotes healthy skin.

An image of a business woman sitting at a round table with several bottles of water for a meeting.

How much water do you need for proper hydration?

The accepted wisdom is to drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water daily. However, the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine estimates that an adequate daily fluid intake is 15.5 cups for men and 11.5 cups for women (5). This includes fluids from food intake and all beverages, not just water.

These estimates apply to healthy adults living in temperate climates. You’ll need to consume more fluids if you live in a tropical climate, work or play in hot weather, or participate in intense exercise.

Risk Factors of Poor Hydration

Here are some risk factors that can increase the likelihood of dehydration:

  • Illnesses and chronic conditions: Certain illnesses, such as diabetes, cystic fibrosis, and kidney disease, can increase the risk of dehydration.
  • Environmental factors: Hot and humid weather, high altitudes, and intense physical activity can cause excessive sweating and lead to dehydration.
  • Medications: Some medications, such as diuretics, antihistamines, and blood pressure medications, can cause dehydration as a side effect.
  • Age: Infants, young children, and older adults are at a higher risk of dehydration than others. Infants and young children have a higher surface area to volume ratio, which means they lose more fluids through their skin when running a fever. They are also more prone to vomiting and diarrhea, thereby quickly losing fluids. Older adults may have a dulled sense of thirst and may not drink enough fluids as a result.

An image of the sweating chest of a human in a tank top after a workout risking dehydration.

Symptoms of Poor Hydration (Dehydration)

Symptoms of dehydration are varied and can include:

  • Dry mouth and/or cracked lips
  • Dry skin
  • Dark colored urine
  • Reduction in urination
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Frequent urinary tract infections
  • Irregular heartbeat or heart palpitations
  • Low blood pressure
  • Impaired concentration and focus

5 Amazing Proven Benefits of Proper Hydration

Here are 5 scientifically validated benefits of staying hydrated.

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1. Better Digestion

To ensure proper digestion, your body needs to have enough water. Insufficient water intake can lead to irregular bowel movements, bloating, gas, heartburn, and other gastrointestinal issues that can negatively affect your quality of life.

Increasing your fluid intake can help alleviate these issues by aiding in the breakdown of soluble fiber from your diet and keeping your digestion process on track. And get this — there is even evidence that proper hydration can help ease constipation.

Numerous studies have found that individuals of all ages who consume less water are more likely to experience constipation (6, 7).

However, increasing water intake, particularly mineral water, could alleviate this issue. Research has found that mineral water containing high levels of magnesium and sodium can improve the frequency and consistency of bowel movements in those with constipation (8, 9). Epsom salts are a recommended option for mineral water.

A graphical image of lightening shooting into a human brain, symbolizing brain power.

2. Improved Brain Function

Maintaining good hydration is super important for brain function.

Research has shown that even a small amount of dehydration, just a tiny 1-3% body weight loss, can negatively affect memory, concentration, mood, and reaction time (10, 11, 12).

By contrast, drinking a few extra glasses of water daily can improve brain function, stabilize emotions, and soothe anxiety. This is particularly crucial for older adults, who are more susceptible to dehydration and impaired cognitive functioning.

3. Enhanced Energy Levels

Not drinking enough water can lead to dehydration, negatively impacting blood circulation and oxygen flow to the brain. Additionally, dehydration forces the heart to work harder to distribute oxygen throughout the body, causing fatigue, sluggishness, and lack of focus.

Increasing your water intake can prevent dehydration and boost energy, enabling you to complete all those important tasks for the day.

An image of a woman pulling the waistband of her jeans away from her belly to show her weight loss.

4. Accelerated Weight Loss

If you want to lose weight, drinking plenty of water can be helpful. This is because water can make you feel full and increase your metabolism.

Some studies have shown that drinking more water can slightly boost your metabolism, which can help you burn more calories throughout the day. For example, a study from 2013 found that 50 young women who were overweight lost significant amounts of body weight and fat when they drank an extra 16.9 ounces of water three times a day before meals for eight weeks (13).

The weight loss effects are truly awe-inspiring if you drink cold water due to its thermogenic effect. Thermogenesis refers to the process of heat generation in an organism and is a natural byproduct of metabolism. Therefore, it has a significant effect on the ability to burn fat, and believe it or not, cold water can play a role.

In a 2013 study, 50 girls with a BMI of 25 to 29.9 were put on a healthy diet and instructed to drink 500 ml (about 16.9 ounces) of cold water three times a day before breakfast, lunch, and dinner for eight weeks. The study showed that their body weight had decreased, and researchers believe this was due to water-induced thermogenesis (14). (Their bodies were forced to generate heat to warm the water for digestion.)

So, drinking cold water might be a simple and effective solution if you want to lose weight!

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5. Improved Mood

It has been discovered that drinking water can positively impact a person’s mood.

According to a 2014 study, individuals who typically consume low amounts of water experienced better moods when they increased their water intake. Conversely, the same study found that those who usually drank high volumes of water experienced increased thirst, reduced happiness, and decreased positive emotions when they reduced their water consumption (15).

Furthermore, a 2019 study also revealed that dehydration hurts mood, whereas rehydration can improve mood and reduce fatigue symptoms (16).

Therefore, drinking water consistently throughout the day is advisable to maintain a positive mood.

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How to Maintain Proper Hydration

Here are a few ways to increase hydration and reduce your risk of dehydration.

  • Drink water more often. If plain water is dull, add a wedge of lemon or lime.
  • Add more water-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, and beans to your diet. You can also add soups and broths to this list.
  • Drink coconut water
  • Drink sports drinks for their electrolytes.
  • Avoid diuretics, such as caffeinated drinks (coffee, sodas, energy drinks, hot chocolate, etc.)
  • Reduce your consumption of sugary foods, as the body uses water to process sweets. This means think twice before drinking fruit juice and other sugary drinks or eating sugar-filled foods. You can drink sugar-free beverages, but remember that many of these drinks contain caffeine.
  • Carry a water bottle with you on errands and fill it with water.
  • Drink lots of water after a workout to replace the water lost in sweating
  • Don’t wait until you feel thirsty to drink fluids. Experts say that by the time you feel thirsty, dehydration has already set in.

When to Seek Medical Attention for Dehydration

Mild dehydration can usually be easily reversed by increasing your fluid intake. If you have severe dehydration, you must seek immediate medical attention.

Symptoms of moderate and severe dehydration include the following:

Moderate Dehydration

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Lethargy
  • Dry mouth
  • Muscle weakness

Severe Dehydration

  • Low blood pressure
  • Increased heart rate
  • Confusion or delirium
  • Sunken eyes
  • Shriveled skin
  • Lack of sweating
  • Unconsciousness


Water is essential for the proper functioning of the human body. Meeting your daily recommended intake can maintain your health and improve your overall well-being.

There are many ways to increase hydration, such as adding fluid-rich foods to your diet, drinking coconut water, and adding a wedge of lemon to water.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are your symptoms when you are dehydrated?

Common dehydration symptoms in adults may include:

  • Dry mouth and/or cracked lips
  • Dry skin
  • Dark colored urine
  • Reduction in urination
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Frequent urinary tract infections
  • Irregular heartbeat or heart palpitations
  • Low blood pressure
  • Impaired concentration and focus

What is the fastest way to cure dehydration?

The quickest remedy for dehydration is to consume fluids, particularly those containing electrolytes like sports drinks or oral rehydration solutions. Individuals unable to drink adequately due to medical conditions may require intravenous hydration for faster results.

How can I check myself for dehydration?

Testing skin elasticity, also known as skin turgor, is a simple way to check for dehydration at home. You can do this by pinching the skin on the back of your hand, your abdomen, or the front of your chest under the collarbone. If you are mildly dehydrated, the skin will return to normal slowly after being pinched.

Does Gatorade Actually Hydrate You?

Yes, Gatorade was explicitly created to prevent dehydration. To maintain a healthy hydration level during your workout, it’s recommended to drink a combination of Gatorade and water. After your workout, consuming a minimum of 8 ounces of Gatorade is vital to avoid dehydration caused by sweat loss.

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1- https://quenchwater.com/blog/how-many-people-are-dehydrated/

2- https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17921465/

3- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4207053/

4- https://nap.nationalacademies.org/read/10925/chapter/6#76

5- https://www.nationalacademies.org/news/2004/02/report-sets-dietary-intake-levels-for-water-salt-and-potassium-to-maintain-health-and-reduce-chronic-disease-risk

6- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4325863/

7- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4604730/

8- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5334415/

9- https://karger.com/cmr/article/23/6/356/356918/Effects-of-Sulfate-Rich-Mineral-Water-on

10- https://journals.lww.com/acsm-healthfitness/Fulltext/2013/11000/The_Hydration_Equation__Update_on_Water_Balance.6.aspx

11- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3553795/

12- https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22841529/

13- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3809630/

14- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3809630/

15- https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24728141/

16- https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31146326/


SANE MD Chief Medical Director at SANESolution

Dr. Matthew Olesiak, MD, is the Chief Medical Director at SANESolution, a renowned wellness technology company dedicated to providing evidence-based solutions for optimal living. Dr. Olesiak earned his medical degree from the prestigious Jagiellonian University Medical College in Kraków, Poland, where he developed a strong foundation in medicine.