Health And Wellness

How Much Water Should You Drink Each Day?

Photo: getty
How Much Water Should You Drink Each Day?

How much water should I drink? Is it really six to eight glasses every day? Does it matter if it's hot or cold outside? What if you're being active versus sitting on your butt?

Why do we need water, anyway? Like, what's the big deal over this clear liquid stuff? 

We need water for many reasons, and while some people swear it helps keep your weight down, that's not exactly accurate.

RELATED: How Your Face Drastically Changes After 30 Days Of Drinking Water

But drinking water is better than drinking soda, hence why your water habit might keep you a little trimmer. Cutting out soda means taking in less bad calories.

Other than our biological need for water, there are plenty of benefits to drinking it daily:

  • Regulates your body temperature
  • Helps you eliminate wastes
  • Lubricates your joints
  • Helps protect your body tissue
  • Keeps your body's organs functioning
  • Helps you stay hydrated and look healthy

Dehydrated, dry skin is not a sexy look. Dehydration is not only a bad look on your skin, but it's harmful for your body. When you don't drink enough water, your body and skin dry out like a prune, and that's no bueno. It's called dehydration.

I spent the majority of my pregnancy with my daughter dehydrated due to Hyperemesis Gravidarum, and it really hurt me physically. I had headaches and migraines. Constipation. Awful skin. It was terrible all around!

RELATED: The Small But Urgent Signs You Need To Drink More Water

If you don't drink enough water or get water from your foods (like fruit), you can end up dehydrated and experience awful symptoms like:

  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Dry skin
  • Kidney stones
  • Constipation
  • Confusion

On the flip side, drinking too much water can also cause problems. 

When you're pounding down the water too hard, it leads to issues, the major one called Hyponatremia. Too much water dilutes the electrolytes in your blood and causes your sodium levels to decrease, leading to:

  • Confusion
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Headaches
  • Coma

Sounds pretty scary, right? Well, here's the good news: it doesn't happen often. Athletes, children, and petite-framed adults are more susceptible to Hyponatremia, so if you're already worrying about this, don't.

So, enough with all this dreadful talk! How much water should you drink a day? What's the magic number?

RELATED: How Long Can You Survive Without Water? Critical Information You Need To Know About Dehydration

The general rule of thumb is eight cups of water each day. However, this isn't always the case — and you will also find water in foods and other drinks, not just plain water.

Consider these factors first:

1. There is water in a lot of fruits and vegetables.

By eating them, you're getting quite a bit of "hydration." Eat fruits like watermelon or berries, and vegetables like cucumbers and green peppers.

2. The bigger you are, the more water you may need.

A 100-pound woman versus a 200-pound man? Yeah, they won't need the same amount of water.

3. If you exercise or are active, you sweat more and lose water that way.

Advertisement Don't struggle alone. Get started on your therapy journey with BetterHelp, the largest therapy service, and receive 15% off.

In that case, you may need more water than the recommended amount, or you may be able to enjoy a sports drink instead.

4. Drink when you're thirsty.

If you're really thirsty, drink up. If you're not, don't force it.

5. Other drinks/fluids contain water.

Like sports drinks, juice, milk, tea, and broth.

All in all, while eight cups of water or 64 ounces sounds perfect, you may not need that much, or you may need a little more based on your activity level.

At the end of the day, judge how you feel. You know your body better than you think you do.

RELATED: How To Drink More Water & Stay Hydrated No Matter How Hectic Life Gets

Laura Lifshitz is a former MTV personality and Columbia University graduate currently writing about divorce, women’s issues, fitness, parenting, and marriage for The New York Times, DivorceForce, Women’s Health, Working Mother, Pop Sugar, and more.

Sign up for YourTango's free newsletter!