Check with your doctor before upping your water intake if you have certain health conditions, such as thyroid disease, kidney, liver or heart problems, taking NSAIDs, opiate pain medications or antidepressants as it can be possible to take in too much water4.
You may choose to fill two or three water bottles each morning and pop them in the areas you spend most of your time, or you could just use one bottle and refill it two to three times throughout the day. You do you - what matters most is that you have a plan.
How much should you drink each day? Well probably not as much as you think – Harvard Health recommends around 1.5 liters per day4, but points out that it varies for everybody and you should listen to your body.
Upping your water intake also means upping the number of times you go to the toilet. But rest easy in the fact that this is only temporary. Soon things will level off and your trips to the toilet will be back to normal (unless of course you fall of the water wagon, in which case you’ll have to go through this ‘settling in’ process all over again).
Losing water bottles is a thing. I’m still working on the how not to do that (but it seems to get better with practice!), but what I can say is that if you lose one, don’t let it derail your hydration plan - replace it immediately, even with a jug or large glass until you can get to the shop - or you’ll end up at square one!
Crappy tasting or less than pristine water in your area? I highly recommend getting a water filter. You can start researching the best reverse osmosis under the counter system if you like, but you’ll get up and running far quicker if you keep it simple for now and grab yourself one of those filter jugs from the supermarket. It makes all the difference to the taste of even ‘good water.’ You could also add a squeeze of lemon or a sprinkling of sea or rock salt. And here is a little trick recommended by the WHO in developing countries – allow your water to sit in a clear container for 6 hours in the sunshine to kill pathogens6 .
Plastic Fantastic – so many issues here relating to water bottles, from the destruction of our planet, to the toxins in many plastics and the fact that sooner or later, all plastic bottles seem to grow mould on them. Please avoid plastics if you can5 and don’t reuse plastic bottles that have been lying in a hot car. I use glass bottles (with little rubber padding, because I break things a lot) and also metal bottles, which keep the water nice and cool. I have a small lightweight one to take out and about with me (as I've sadly discovered, throwing a glass bottle into your bag is a sure-fire way to smash your phone) and long thin metal bottles work well for sliding into kids school bags.
Mould, mould, mould – for many people, mould has been identified as contributing to many long-term chronic illness (but more about that another time) with debilitating impact. While mould may be hard to avoid in our living environment, we can at least reduce our chances of drinking it by storing empty bottles with the lid off and brushing regularly with a bottle brush. For glass and metal bottles, check the lids carefully for mould, especially in the crevices. Throw out anything mouldy – it is just not worth it.
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The evidence pretty much speaks for itself here, and there are references below in support of the abovementioned benefits of drinking enough water, so you can dig into those or your brain can take a rest from the science today and simply enjoy being hydrated.
- Review of Hydration and Selected Health Outcomes in the General Population (Jan 2019)
- Dehydration alters human brain shape and activity, slackens task performance (Aug 2018)
Georgia Institute of Technology
- A Pubmed Review of studies around Water, Hydration and Health https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2908954/
- An article from Harvard Health “How much water should I drink?” https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/how-much-water-should-you-drink
- A super (but less related) article about plastics, with loads of interesting stuff I only found out about while researching for this hack https://theberkey.com/blogs/water-filter/what-numbers-of-plastic-for-water-bottles-are-safe-for-you-the-numbers-behind-plastic-bottles
- Also, less related, but super interesting, especially in these times, this article talks more about UV light and the effect on viruses (super interesting, but DON’T try it on yourself – read the whole article). In relevance to our topic, it mentions that in the developing world, sunlight is already a popular means of sterilising water, even recommended by the WHO. Basically, you leave water in a clear container in the sun for six hours “It’s thought to work because the UVA in sunlight reacts with dissolved oxygen to produce unstable molecules such as hydrogen peroxide, the active ingredient in many household disinfectants, which can damage pathogens.”