Not drinking enough water can affect our bodies in some unusual ways, none of which are particularly pleasant. Sometimes it can be hard to know what constitutes ‘enough’ water, but a general rule of thumb is that you should be consuming around two to three litres of water a day. Everybody is different though, so it’s important to recognise the signs of when your body has not had enough water and is potentially dehydrated. You may know some of the more obvious signs to look out for; urine colour, dry throat, tiredness – but there are some more ways in which your body can be trying to tell you that it has not had enough hydration… Do a skin test To test if you’re dehydrated, simply pinch the skin on the back of your hand and see how quickly it bounces back to normal. Any more than two seconds to return to normal, and you know it’s time to get some more fluids in. Also, have a look in the mirror. Does your skin look dull? Do you notice more exaggerated wrinkles? Dark circles under your eyes? These are indicators you are dehydrated. Other signs of dehydrated skin conclude redness, congestion and inflammation. Dry skin on the other hand is uncomfortable, flaky and itchy. Get to know the difference. You don’t sweat when exercising When the body is dehydrated, it tries its hardest to hold onto any form of hydration. This means that any excess hydration that is usually exuded through sweating or crying will be retained. This also means that you could be at risk of overheating, as the body uses sweating as a way to expel heat. If you notice you’re not sweating during a workout, get some H20 in your system ASAP. You get muscle cramps Cramping in the muscles can be a sign of dehydration, as the body is under stress when it has lower levels of hydration. As a result of the extra stress, the muscles have to work harder than usual to keep the body functioning which can be one reason for experiencing muscle cramps. You’re craving sweet foods Glycogen production is an essential job of the liver, which helps to extract glucose from food sources. Glucose is a major source of fuel for the body, and water helps to facilitate this process, without which, production slows down. As a result, sugar cravings can be triggered as the body desperately needs glucose in its system to function normally. You’re bloated As previously mentioned, the body tries it’s hardest to retain fluid when it’s dehydrated, and one way of doing this is by retaining the water present in cells. The stomach, face, and even fingers can swell and appear bloated as a result. You’re constantly hungry When mild dehydration occurs, we often experience hunger pains. This is caused by a confusion in the hypothalamus, the part of the brain that is responsible for regulating thirst and appetite. The confusion means that we may think that we need to eat more, despite having eaten more than usual. If you find yourself eating more than usual and not feeling full, drink more water instead.