How much water should you drink a day? You probably know that it"s important to lớn drink plenty of fluids when the temperatures soar outside. But staying hydrated is a daily necessity, no matter what the thermometer says. Unfortunately, many of us aren"t getting enough to drink, especially older adults. Older people don"t sense thirst as much as they did when they were younger. And that could be a problem if they"re on a medication that may cause fluid loss, such as a diuretic.

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Benefits of drinking water

Water keeps every system in the toàn thân functioning properly. The Harvard Medical School Special Health Report6-Week Plan for Health Eatingnotes that water has many important jobs, such as:

carrying nutrients and oxygen to lớn your cells flushing bacteria from your bladder aiding digestion preventing constipation cushioning joints protecting organs & tissues regulating toàn thân temperature maintaining electrolyte (sodium) balance.

Giving your toàn thân enough fluids khổng lồ carry out those tasks means that you"re staying hydrated.

If you don"t drink enough water each day, you risk becoming dehydrated. Warning signs of dehydration include weakness, low blood pressure, dizziness, confusion, or urine that"s dark in color.

So how much water should you drink? Most people need about four to lớn six cups of water each day.

How much water should you drink a day?

The daily four-to-six cup rule is for generally healthy people. It"s possible lớn take intoo muchwater if you have certain health conditions, such as thyroid disease or kidney, liver, or heart problems; or if you"re taking medications that make you retain water, such asnon-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), opiate pain medications, & some antidepressants.

How much water a day should you drink if you fit into that category? There"s no one-size-fits-all answer. Water intake must be individualized, and you should check with your doctor if you are not sure about the right amount for you.

But even a healthy person"s water needs will vary, especially if you"re losing water through sweat because you"re exercising, or because you"re outside on a hot day. If you"re wondering how much water you should drink on those occasions, speak with your doctor, but a general rule of thumb for healthy people is to drink two khổng lồ three cups of water per hour, or more if you"re sweating heavily.

Tips for avoiding dehydration

It"s not just water that keeps you hydrated.All beveragescontaining water contribute toward your daily needs. And it"s a myth that caffeinated beverages or those containing alcohol are dehydrating because they make you urinate. They do, but over the course of the day, the water from these beverages still leads to a net positive contribution lớn total fluid consumption.

Of course, there are many reasons whywater is still the better choice. Remember, sugary drinks can lead to lớn weight gain & inflammation, which can increase your risk for developing diseases such as diabetes. Too much caffeine can give you the jitters or keep you from sleeping. And, alcohol intake should be limited to lớn one drink per day for women, & 1-2 drinks per day for men.

To ward off dehydration, drink fluids gradually, throughout the day. An easy way to bởi vì this is to lớn have a drink at each meal, as well as socially, or with medicine.

And know that you also get fluids from water-rich foods, such as salads, fruit, and applesauce.

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Kirsten Nunez has been a health và fitness writer at Real Simple since 2021 và has been writing for nearly a decade." data-inline-tooltip="true">Kirsten Nunez

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Morning Hydration Is Good for You, But Not Absolutely Necessary

But here's where things get more nuanced: Although this habit is certainly healthy, it's not a defining factor of good hydration và health. The most important takeaway is that you're drinking water overall.

"The health aspects of staying hydrated is measured over the course of a day, rather than the time of day you drink water or the sequence of drinking water in relation to breakfast or any other meal," Dr. Li reassures us. In other words, it's great to lớn drink water when you first wake up and before you eat, but there's also no harm in waiting. If it makes you feel good & you notice the benefits personally, that's awesome!

If you want khổng lồ start giving morning hydration a try, here are some common health benefits associated with it.

10 Super-Hydrating Drinks That Are Way More Interesting Than a Glass of Water

top Benefits of Drinking Water After Waking Up

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It rehydrates you after a waterless night.

Since you can"t sip while you snooze, your body is naturally in a dehydrated state in the morning, says Dr. Kelley. Thus, drinking H2O upon waking can be helpful, and you"ll probably feel a bit thirsty when your alarm goes off anyway. "Drinking water when you wake up replenishes the lost liquid, including you might have lost during the night," Dr. Li confirms. This is especially true if you sleep with your mouth mở cửa or in a warm room, and even more so if you drank alcohol (a natural diuretic) the night before, he adds.

It increases your energy levels.

According to Dr. Kelley, many people find that starting their day by drinking cold water helps wake them up. After all, dehydration (which, again, naturally occurs when you sleep) can make you tired và dizzy, according to lớn the National Library of Medicine. Replenishing with a glass of water first thing in the morning can help prevent this by prompting the rehydration process, ensuring your tissues and organs get the fluids they need ASAP.

It boosts mental performance.

Similarly, it can help maximize your mental acuity và productivity throughout the day. According to Dr. Kelley, dehydration is also linked to lớn brain fog & headaches—so having a glass of water is a great way khổng lồ boost mental performance first thing, she shares. "Even mild dehydration is linked with some short-term memory loss and concentration, so if you want lớn stay on đứng đầu of your game, drink that glass of water," she says.

It stimulates your metabolism.

No matter the time of day, drinking water can get your metabolism going. Specifically, "cold water triggers your body to turn on a mechanism called cold-activated thermogenesis," says Dr. Li. "This means your body warms the water by turning on your metabolism, by as much as 30 percent, for about an hour." But since cold-induced thermogenesis isn"t time-specific, you don"t necessarily need to vày it before eating in the morning—though it"s certainly an option if you want to kickstart your metabolism as soon as you wake up.

It promotes digestion.

According khổng lồ Dr. Kelley, drinking water is critical for healthy digestion. For example, staying hydrated is helpful for easing constipation, a common side effect of dehydration. "Warm water has the potential to lớn break down the food you"ve eaten at a faster rate than cool water," she says. Therefore, if you"re prone lớn constipation, drinking water when you wake up can kick-start the rehydration process and get things moving ASAP.

It curbs hunger pangs.

If you're not one for a big breakfast, if you don't have time to eat, or you find you're still hungry for junk after eating breakfast, sipping on water first in the morning on an empty stomach can help. As a 2018 study notes, drinking water throughout the morning can quell the sensation of hunger, potentially easing a grumbling stomach until you're able to eat (of course, if you need to lớn eat, eat!). "It's very common to confuse the feeling of thirst with the feeling of hunger, so staying hydrated can reduce your urge to snack or overeat ," Dr. Kelley says.

Morning Hydration Pro Tips

The bottom line is that there are no hard "rules" for drinking water in the morning on an empty stomach. But if you vị want to lớn give this hydration hack a go, there are perks khổng lồ approaching it in a certain way. For example, if you enjoy several morning cups of caffeinated coffee or tea in the morning, it can be helpful to drink water before (and also after) consuming it, since a large amount of caffeine can be a natural diuretic, Dr. Kelley says. As for the temperature of your H2O, "both cool và warm water have their own benefits," Dr. Kelley says. "Cold water can boost metabolism & keep your toàn thân from overheating, warm water can help digestion và ease constipation." Go with the water temp that you prefer more & feels best for your body.

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But ultimately, try not lớn overthink it. Drinking water first thing in the morning is good for you, but there"s no need to force yourself to do it if it"s not your thing. If you want or need lớn wait a bit, that"s fine too. "At the kết thúc of the day, the most important thing is that you"re staying hydrated," Dr. Kelley says. Aim to drink about half of your toàn thân weight (in ounces) of water throughout the day, she says, & listen khổng lồ your body. Having a good water filter pitcher can help you hit yourdaily water goals.Dr. Li echoes this sentiment, noting that if you feel thirsty, drink up.