11 signs of dehydration you might be missing
If your New Year’s resolution was ever something along the lines of “drink more water,” you know how much of a struggle proper hydration can be.
Leading a busy life can sometimes turn even simple stuff like drinking enough water into a daily challenge. As a result, you might be walking around with a mild case of dehydration without even realizing it.
Here are a few subtle signs that you’re dehydrated that you might be missing.
1. You catch every cold that goes around the office.
A weak immune system can be a sign that your diet and hydration need work, according to Harvard Medical School.
Though skipping your usual glass of water with lunch probably won’t result in an immediate case of the flu, letting your body become chronically dehydrated can leave you susceptible to common bugs like the cold.
2. You’re always reaching for lip balm.
Constantly rummaging around in your pockets or purse for lip balm? According to Healthine, chapped lips are a subtle sign of dehydration. Try supplementing your lip balm regimen with plenty of water to keep your pout soft and supple.
3. You have bad breath.
Dehydration can cause dryness all over your body, including inside your mouth.
According to WebMD, saliva production slows when you’re dehydrated. Because spit actually has antibacterial properties, not having enough can cause an overgrowth of bacteria in the mouth. This in turn can lead to stinky breath.
4. You have dark circles under your eyes.
Layering on the concealer? Your alarm clock might not be to blame for those dark circles.
Dehydration is a common culprit when it comes to sunken or dark skin around the eyes, according to Healthline. This is because the skin around your eyes is very close to the underlying bone, and a lack of fluids can cause blood vessels to become more prominent.
5. You’re snacking a lot more than usual.
One sneaky symptom of dehydration is a perceived increase in appetite. This usually happens when you confuse thirst for hunger.
“Mild dehydration is often masked as feelings of hunger, when really your body just needs fluids,” spokesperson for the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Alissa Rumsey, RD, told Health.
A good way to curb mindless snacking is to make sure you have a glass of water before digging into that bag of chips.
6. And you’re craving sweets more than savory food.
When the body confuses feelings of thirst with those of hunger, you’re more likely to crave sweet stuff than salty snacks.
According to Joan Kent, Phd, dehydration can actually lead to more sugar cravings. For a LinkedIn article, Kent wrote, “Cravings for sweet foods are common also because the process of glycogen production involves water and glucose, the body’s circulating sugar. Dehydration makes it more difficult for the body to produce glycogen, not just release it.”
Sugar is a fast and easy source of glucose, so you may find yourself reaching for cookies or fruit more often if you’re not getting enough water.
7. Your tough workout doesn’t leave you sweaty.
If your skin feels dry and fresh after a grueling workout, that might actually be a sign that you’re seriously dehydrated.
According to Aaptiv, the most common reason you’re not sweating is because you’re dehydrated.
Reaching this stage in dehydration means that you need to drink some fluids ASAP and potentially seek medical attention, especially if you’re experiencing any other symptoms of dehydration.
8. Your skin doesn’t bounce back when you pinch it.
According to the US National Library of Medicine, skin with healthy levels of hydration will snap back into place when grasped between two fingers and tented up for a few seconds. This is called normal skin turgor.
On the other hand, the skin of someone who is dehydrated will take a moment or two to return to its normal state. This is usually a sign of moderate to severe dehydration, so you may be noticing other symptoms by the time your skin starts losing elasticity.
A good place to check for a lack of skin turgor is on the abdomen or lower arm.
9. You take longer than three hours between bathroom breaks.
A subtle clue that your body isn’t getting the hydration it needs is if you frequently find yourself waiting more than three or so hours between trips to the toilet.
Per Healthline, most people urinate around six or seven times in a 24-hour period. That translates to a bathroom break roughly ever three hours during the day. Though some people may pee less depending on factors like bladder size and medication usage, you should think about hydrating more often if you only find yourself in the bathroom a couple times a day. Using an app to track your water intake or bathroom visits might be helpful.
10. You have an itchy, flaky scalp.
You probably know that dehydration can make your skin dry, but you might not have realized that dryness can extend to your scalp. Cleveland Clinic noted that not getting enough water can lead to an itchy and dry scalp.
Though there are other conditions that can cause itchiness up top, a lack of fluids coupled with drying environments like heated rooms or air-conditioned offices can cause your scalp to dry. Remedy this by upping your water intake and switching to a medicated shampoo if needed.
11. You’re drowsy even though you’re getting enough sleep.
When your body is dehydrated, it doesn’t perform as well as it should. According to the UK’s National Health Service (NHS), tiredness and fatigue are often signs of dehydration.
If you know you got a full eight hours of sleep the previous night but are still feeling sluggish, you might want to try drinking a few glasses of water.