Water is, without doubt, the easiest and cheapest way to keep our bodies hydrated, but there’s just one problem...
Not everyone likes water or finds it easy to fit in the recommended 6-8 glasses a day!1
That’s why we’re taking the time to make sure you understand exactly how and why water is important to your health and happiness, including 13 ways to drink more water and the potential side effects if you don’t.
According to the NHS, it’s recommended that we drink 6-8 200ml glasses of fluid (note that we didn’t say “water”) every day, which amounts to about 1.2 litres.2
Although water is the easiest and purest way to reach this intake, water can also be found in milk, juices, tea, coffee, and even the food you eat.
For every last drop of information of how much water you should be drinking, read “How much water should I be drinking each day?”
Is sipping or gulping water better?
You might be thinking, are we really talking about how to drink water?
Well, yes, but there’s more to it than you may think! Science has actually proven that sipping water is better than gulping water.3
This is because when you drink a large amount of water in one go, your body will soon tell you that it needs to urinate, meaning that it actually absorbs less water overall.
So, we can tell you, sips of water throughout the day are meant to be the best way to drink your daily recommended allowance.
You already know that drinking enough water is essential for good health and that 6-8 glasses is the daily recommendation to aid in vital processes in your body, such as digestion, temperature regulation, and brain function.
If you’re not getting enough water, these processes become less efficient, which can make you feel sluggish and unwell.
Dehydration is at the root of many common health complaints such as headaches, constipation, and dry skin.
How to drink more water can be another matter, though, especially if drinking 6-8 glasses aren’t already built into your daily schedule.
You’re more likely to get your fluids if you enjoy the taste, so if you find it easy to drink water as it is, you’re already in a great position.
However, there are still plenty of other ways to drink more water and enjoy it.
Since you’re here, you’ve already taken the first step in understanding just how important water is for a balanced diet and overall health.
Now that you understand why it’s vital to intake enough water throughout the day, you’ll feel more motivated than ever to make it happen.
Not drinking enough water can also have some unfavourable side effects – we’ll get into this later – which can be so easily avoided if you get enough H₂O.
It’s also recommended to avoid diuretics such as alcohol and (too much) caffeine, which can make you pass urine more and worsen dehydration.
Adding fruit to your glass or water bottle makes the water more interesting.
Instead of opting for flavoured waters which can contain sugar or artificial flavourings; add a slice of lemon, lime or orange to your glass for a subtle citrus taste.
Also, frozen fruit such as raspberries or blueberries make a great alternative to ice cubes and add a fruity burst of flavour.
You could also try a low-sugar cordial, well diluted, or sparkling water can be a great alternative to fizzy drinks, known to commonly include high sugars or artificial flavourings.
Herbal teas such as green tea, chamomile tea, and mint tea are wonderfully refreshing ways to add flavour to water without any sugar or artificial flavourings.
Adding honey and lemon to warm water makes a soothing drink that keeps you hydrated.
You don’t have to drink herbal tea hot, either. Using fresh herbs such as mint in water can be very refreshing, especially on a hot day.
They say there’s an app for everything these days, and they’re not wrong!
Search “water” in the app store and you’ll find multiple apps in seconds, all designed to help you keep track of your daily water intake and keep your drinking water regularly throughout the day.
If you’re the type to keep things simple and don’t have time for checking apps throughout the day, setting timings on your phone’s handy clock or timer section could work wonders.
Every half hour or so, just take a sip of your water and know that your body will thank you for it.
Treat yourself to a new BPA-free water bottle in a design you love and keep it topped up with chilled water throughout the day.
Aluminium or stainless steel water bottles are excellent at keeping your water cold for longer, not to mention they are also more environmentally friendly.
There are also water bottles to encourage drinking out there these days, telling exactly how much water you should have had, normally marked by hour directly onto the bottle.
When you’re busy, leaving your desk can feel like too much and water couldn’t be further from your mind.
So, keep a large glass bottle or carafe by your bed, on your desk, and in your car.
This will make it easier to sip throughout the day and keep your levels topped up, no matter where you are.
This one is pretty simple. One of the best ways to stick to something new until it becomes a habit is to make it fun to achieve.
For each hour or day you’re hitting your water intake goals, reward yourself.
Whether it’s a quick Instagram break while you sip your hourly water, or treating yourself to your favourite food at the end of a week of hitting your goals, make drinking water feel rewarding.
Get into the habit of drinking a glass of water as the first thing you do in the morning.
Not only has your body gone for about 8 hours or so without a drink, but drinking a glass of water when you first wake up also helps to make you feel more alert.4
As if water doesn’t already do enough for us, it’s even been proven that drinking a glass of water just before you go to bed can help reduce bad breath the next morning,5
Your body will thank you, but so will whoever else is in the house!
If one of the things stopping you from drinking more water is that you don’t like the way tap water tastes – or maybe you’re worried about bacteria in water straight from the pipes – why not treat yourself to a water filter?
You may prefer the taste of filtered water, and studies support that water filters can help to reduce the level of waterborne bacteria.6
Not only is this a great habit to get started, adding an easy glass of water into your routine with each meal, but it’s also proven to support weight loss.7
Drinking a glass of water before a meal is linked to reduced hunger, meaning you’re likely to eat less.
Did you know that many foods also count towards your recommended daily intake of fluids?
Sources of water from food include fruit, vegetables, homemade soups (soups from a tin can be very high in salt), beans and oatmeal.
For example, cucumber and watermelons are both composed of more than 90% water, so include plenty of those in your diet especially as the weather starts to warm up.
Drinking enough water can do wonders for your body, but not drinking enough water can be equally detrimental to your health and mood.
Side effects of not drinking enough water include:8
After reading through this article, it’s easy to see just how important water is to your overall diet and health.
There are so many ways to drink more water, whether it’s as simple as setting daily reminders, keeping water nearby at all times, or even buying yourself a water bottle to encourage drinking water throughout the day.
When the side effects of not getting enough water may include headaches, fatigue, dizziness and much more, drinking more water is vital to your day-to-day health and happiness.
If you’re all hopped up on H₂O, we have plenty more articles you might be interested in, including “How much water should I be drinking each day?”, “4 thirst-quenching water-based drinks to help you hydrate,” and naturally-dehydrating things to be aware of in “Water stealers to watch out for.”
Last updated: 3 September 2021
Joined Holland & Barrett: Jan 2018
Bsc in Nutrition, Registered Associate Nutritionist and Certification in Pre and Post Natal Nutrition
Donia started her career as a freelance nutritionist, later she joined Nestle as their Market Nutritionist to help support their healthier product range, before joining the team at Holland & Barrett in January 2018.
Donia has over 6 years experience as a Nutritionist and also works with clients on a one to one basis to support their goals which include weight loss, prenatal and postnatal nutrition and children’s health.