Health experts often recommend (and encourage) that we drink more water. Whether you’re hoping for clearer skin or are trying to detox your body, drinking water is a vital part of survival.
But, what you probably didn’t know is that you can overdo it with the H2O.
Water intoxication, also known as hyponatremia, can occur when your cells are flooded with water due to an abnormal imbalance of sodium in your bloodstream. If you’re one of those people who constantly refills their water bottle all day, every day, you may want to take a second and read on about the warning signs that indicate you’re drinking too much.
1. Your pee is crystal clear
As gross as it sounds, you may want to take a peek at your pee next time you go. Notorious for its yellow colour, the shade of your pee is more important than you think. If it’s dark and has an orange hue, you’re dehydrated and should drink up ASAP. But if it’s on the other side of the spectrum and is completely clear, it could be a sign that you’re overdoing it. A healthy shade of pee is clear with a light tint of yellow.
2. You’re taking frequent bathroom breaks
It’s normal to go to the bathroom a couple of times a day, especially when you’ve upped your water intake. But if you’re spending more time in the bathroom than you are at your desk, not only will your boss start to wonder what’s up, you’re likely drinking a lot more water than you need to. If you’re peeing more than six to eight times a day, it’s time to cool your jets and cut down on your drinking habits.
3. You’re getting cramps and headaches
It’s one thing to experience mild aches and pains here and there, but if you’re experiencing headaches and body aches on the regular, it could be a sign that you’re drinking too much. Drinking water affects your sodium and potassium levels, which can impact your muscles. Too much water means your cells don’t have enough time to balance themselves out and your brain reacts by swelling, giving you a headache, and causes your muscles to cramp. Cutting down your water intake gives your body a chance to recuperate.
4. You’re tired even after a good night’s sleep
If you’re getting 7-8 hours of shut-eye each night, but you’re feeling groggy, your old pal H2O may be the problem. Drinking water detoxes the body through the kidneys — this is where the good stuff and bad stuff is filtered. The more you drink, the harder your kidneys work to do their job leading to fatigue, loss of energy and even stress. Regain your energy and take back the day by drinking a little less water.
5. You’re consuming 30 or more ounces an hour
“Stop, drop and chug” challenges have been made popular by online fitness communities, and act as a reminder to stop what you’re doing and take a swig of water. Though motivating, if you’re consuming more than 30 ounces of water an hour, it can be harmful to your body. It’s recommended that women consume eight cups (about 64 ounces) of water a day. This varies depending on your activity level and climate, but ingesting an excessive amount of liquids is a chore your kidneys can’t keep up with thus leaving you at risk of hyponatremia. You can continue to drink water throughout the day, but be mindful of how much and know when enough is enough.
With everything said, listen to your body and decide what’s healthy and comfortable for you. Stick to your gut, drink when you’re thirsty, and you’ll be just fine.