The 10 Signs of Dehydration

In our quest to improve our health we frequently ignore the basics.  We jump on the latest diet fad that seems to be working for our neighbors and co-workers and flock to the newest gym in the hopes that shiny new equipment and a different cardio kickboxing instructor will give us the quick fix we're looking for.  But you can't ignore the basics of health if you want permanent improvements in your physical and mental health.

Take the quiz below to measure your dehydration. Rate the frequency/intensity of each symptom on a scale of 0-10. Give the symptom a score of ‘0’ if you do not experience it, and a score of ’10’ if it is extremely intense or frequent.


Water is the single most important nutrient in our bodies, found inside each cell.

Your body (should be) 70% water.
Your muscles are 75% water.
Your brain cells are 85% water.
Your blood is 82% water.
Even your bones are 25% water!

Here are the 10 Signs of Dehydration in a little more detail:

Sign #1: Periods of “spacing out”, have to re-read something you just read

How often do you find yourself sitting at your work desk, shortly after lunch, staring at your computer screen without thinking? Like the weather forecast is cloudy with brain fog?

Your brain is 85% water. When you’re dehydrated, your brain is dehydrated, and the neurons that help you sustain thought decide to take some time off. So you just sit there…waiting…

You’re such a space cadet, sometimes.

Sign #2: Premature aging, wrinkles, or skin creases on front of neck

How much money have you spent on anti-aging creams and hydrating/moisturizing lotions over the years?  Water is the magic anti-wrinkle potion that you've been searching for and you it's much less expensive than any of those beauty products!  What's better is that unlike those products which only go skin deep, water will actually rehydrate you from the inside out.

Water keeps the skin elastic by keeping the cells fully inflated.  A well-hydrated cell will push outward against its cell membrane from the inner portion of the cell.  This keeps the skin taut so that it doesn't sag.  Dry skin that is allowed to sag for a period of time will begin to develop wrinkles.  Your skin is soft tissue, and is 3rd on the body's priority list when it comes to distributing water.  So anytime you don't meet your daily water requirement your skin is one of the first body parts that will suffer.

Sign #3: Food cravings for salt, sugar, bread, pasta, or potatoes

Food cravings are a complex issue that involves dehydration on several levels, notably the brain.  The brain has pleasure-reward pathways that utilize serotonin and dopamine to control cravings and create satisfaction from eating healthy foods as well as high sugar foods.  In a dehydrated state, these pathways are impaired, and so are your thirst signals.  The body has gone so long without water that it has created hunger signals instead, perhaps so that it can at least access the water content within the food.

Sign #4: Constipation or straining during bowel movements

Your intestines are an organ and as such are number 2 on your body's priority list to send water to (after the brain).  The large intestine specifically requires enough water to soften the stool that is waiting to be evacuated during your next bowel movement.  Without this water a strained, often painful movement will occur (if it occurs at all).

If your constipation doesn't immediately clear up by increasing your water intake and adding some more fiber to your diet then you may have thyroid problems, either diagnosed or hidden.

Click here to take The Hypothyroid Quiz and find out if your thyroid is functioning at an optimal level.

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Sign #5: Joint aches or pains, stiffness, or lack of flexibility

Your joints, ligaments and tendons are 3rd on your body's priority list for water distribution, so they are quick to suffer.  Water cushions your joints, protecting them against the painful effects of arthritis.  Arthritis is inflammation of a joint, and all pain that comes from this condition is caused by the inflammation involved in and around the joint space.  Inflammation is a fancy scientific way of saying "too many flames" or "too much heat".

What do fire fighters use to put flames out?  Ahhh...

Sign #6 & 7: Difficulty rising in the morning or crusty eyes, Walk into a room and forget why you’re there

Water transports nutrients and oxygen to your cells, nourishing the mitochondrial "spark plugs" that ignite your metabolism, boost your mood and clear your mind of distractive debris.  Without adequate oxygen reaching the cell it cannot function optimally.  Its processing speed slows down much like your computer does when you have too many programs running at once.  The brain is the first to slow down--your mood dwindles as you become more anxious or irritable and it gets harder to maintain your thought flow.

Water is also the number 1 energy-giving substance you can put into your body outperforming adrenaline, caffeine and other "uppers".  Sure, you could take a shot of adrenaline or drink several cups of coffee to get yourself going in the morning or throughout the day, but happens when it wears off?  And at what cost does that artificial energy come to you?  Water never "wears off" and costs the body much less than any energy-boosting supplement on the market.

Sign #8: Anger, frustration, despair, or depression

Emotions are literally energy-in-motion. Many people are surprised to find out that emotions like anger, frustration, despair or depression can be measured. Each emotion has it’s own vibrational frequency. Higher emotions like joy and enthusiasm vibrate at a higher frequency, while lower emotions like anger and sadness vibrate at a lower frequency.

A lower frequency means less movement. Who moves more, an enthusiastic child or a depressed adult? The enthusiastic child moves far more (and is much harder to keep still). They have more energy, and they exhibit more motion. They are energy-in-motion at its finest.

One of the best ways to increase your emotional vibrational energy is to increase your hydration level. Water is a great conductor of energy. Imagine lightning (electrical energy) striking the surface of a lake or pond. That electricity travels pretty quickly.

Sign #9: Dream all night long about work or home

When you dream all night long or you dream about work or regular daily activities you are not in the deeper phases of sleep where the body gets a chance to really heal itself.  These mundane dreams mean that you are sleeping very lightly.  The main reason for this is an imbalance in the hydration-inflammation cycle of the body.  In other words you are not sufficiently hydrated enough to keep inflammation to a minimum.  This dehydration/inflammation signals the brain that you are in danger and engages your fight-or-flight response.  When the fight-or-flight system is turned on you will not sleep deeply.  Your body feels threatened and will not let its guard down enough for you to enter the recuperative stages of sleep.

This is because water is required to regulate your body temperature.  Specifically water has a cooling effect on the body.  In fact, if your car engine is running too hot and you're miles away from a gas station you can put water in your coolant tank and it will cool the engine down.

With inadequate water reserves on-hand to keep inflammation at bay, the body cannot cool itself down, and deep sleep becomes impossible.  Have you ever tried sleeping in a very warm or hot bedroom or gone camping in the middle of summer and had no air conditioning?  Do you remember how difficult it was to sleep well?

What's happening in this situation is that your pineal gland which manufactures melatonin does not receive the signal from your hypothalamic-pitutary brain pathway to make melatonin.  When your brain doesn't make melatonin you don't really go to sleep.  Your conscious thoughts don't get a chance to turn off completely and you dream all night long, usually about work and family, the same thoughts that occupy your mind when you're awake!

Sign #10: Energy dip after lunch

Food requires water in order to be digested. Your body has to pull water into your large intestine in order to break food down fully into it’s smallest components, completing the digestive process.

Water softens the food, enabling it to break down and, eventually, enabling you have to an easy bowel movement. When you eat, your body draws all available water into the gut for digestion.

If you are already dehydrated before eating, you won’t have enough water left over for your brain. Your thoughts will slow, you’ll space out, and your energy will dip.



There is an optimal way to hydrate your body to maximize your energy, focus, and mood.

Click here to read The 3-Step Optimal Hydration Technique For Greater Energy & Focus.