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Understanding Dehydration for Students

Have you ever wondered why you are so sleepy and tired? Do you find it difficult to concentrate and often have headaches? The answer may be as simple as drinking more water and staying hydrated. Dehydration is a huge issue amongst students. This is often due to living life in the fast lane, drinking alcohol, keeping busy, and staying awake by drinking caffeine and fizzy drinks.

The body is made up of 65% water, and it needs to be continually topped up so that it functions effectively. It only takes a slight reduction in water levels for side effects such as mood changes and headaches to be noticeable. The first sign that you are dehydrated is in fact when you feel thirsty. The body loses water in three main ways: breathing, sweating, and going to the toilet. These things happen every day without fail. If strenuous exercise or activity was undertaken or the temperature was really hot, then more water is lost.

Apart from noticing physical changes, you can easily tell if you are dehydrated by looking at the colour of your urine. A very light yellow means that you are well hydrated. A dark colour means you really need to drink more water.

If you don’t like drinking water on its own, try adding a piece of fruit or some sugar free squash to add some flavour to it. Fruit and vegetables are also full of water, as well as fibre, vitamins and minerals. Cooked pasta and rice are good sources of water too.

Be careful about the drinks you consume, as sugar is often added when it is not needed. Remember that the recommended amount of sugar in a day is only 30g or 6tsp. Fizzy drinks, fruit juices, smoothies, milk shakes and milky drinks from coffee shops all contain far more sugar than you think! Often one drink will be contain all 30g in one drink.

For the best start to the day, drink a glass of water every morning before you do anything. Your body will be very grateful! Also if possible have breakfast – it really does set you up for the day.

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