For the longest time, the general rule of thumb was that everyone should drink at least eight 8 oz. glasses of water a day. But then, in 2016, a study from Monash University found that most people were drinking too much water. The study cited that, although rare, water intoxication is real and fatal, and people should be wary of overdoing the drinking water thing. So, if that’s the case, how much water is just enough?
According to the study, if we drink when we’re thirsty, we’ll probably get it right. But the problem is some people don’t drink water when they’re thirsty. Turning to coffee, soda, or even sports drinks isn’t going to do the job that water does. In fact, a lack of water could cause dehydration — and you may not even realize it.
There’s a long list of benefits to drinking enough water. From regular bowel movements, to a healthier complexion, to energizing muscles, to keeping your concentration in check, drinking water does a body good — even more so than milk. The only tricky part is, if you’re not used to drinking water, figuring out how to make it part of your daily routine.
Here are five hacks that will get you drinking more water in two weeks.
“Set a daily goal that increases in increments rather than going from one glass to eight,” Maya Feller, MS, RD, CDN of Maya Feller Nutrition, tells Bustle.
Sometimes baby steps are the best way to approach anything new you’re trying to make part of your schedule. Also, you’re less likely to enjoy drinking water if you go from zero to 60 in one day. Drinking water should be enjoyable.
“[Put] a water class at your bedside table so that you either start the day with the glass or end the day with a glass of water,” says Feller. “For some people the end of the day glass of water may be problematic because it’ll cause them to get up and go to the bathroom in the evenings.”
If you think that drinking water before bed will have you getting up all night long to pee, then choose to have that glass of water in the morning instead. Some people start the day with warm water and lemon in it and swear by its positive effects.
“Adding basil, cucumber or mint to water transforms the flavor and makes it feel special,” Feller says.
For those who think water is boring or doesn’t taste good — and, yes, that’s a fact for some people — creating a fancy and tasty alternative is a great option. Your body and brain will get the hydration it needs and your taste buds will be happy.
“[Also] adding a few frozen berries to water can enhance the flavor and make it more desirable, as well as adding an ice cube that has been infused with frozen fruit,” Feller says.
When it comes to drinking water, there’s no “wrong” temperature. So if you prefer warm to cold, or vice versa, then make that your go-to water temperature.
“Some people love cold water, some love room temp, some love it warm,” says Feller. “I say invest in a good bottle, one that keeps your water at the temperature you prefer — you’ll be more likely to enjoy it.”
It’s quite possible that if your days are busy you might forget to drink anything at all, let alone drink water. If you stick to your reminder, you’ll find that eventually you won’t need it; drinking water at certain times of the day will just be part of your new routine.
“Some of my patients have had success with setting timers or reminders in their work calendars to gently say it’s time to drink water,” says Feller.
Although how much water we should drink varies from person to person, based on our bodies and physical activity, if you’re someone who knows that you need to be drinking more water, these five hacks can get you there.
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