Dr. Robert Henderson, a GP and advisor to the Natural Hydration Council said that he sees ‘many people in my surgery who are feeling tired all the time. There are of course several reasons that could be causing this, but a surprisingly common cause is that they are dehydrated’.
Dr. Henderson believes that the root cause is an inadequate understanding of how significant proper hydration is to our mental and physical functioning, and suggests that many people mistake common symptoms of dehydration with other maladies.
‘Many of my patients do not drink enough fluid each day and believe they are dehydrated when they start to feel thirsty. Yet other symptoms of dehydration appear before this, including fatigue and tiredness, headaches and poor concentration’.
Of the 300 GPs who took part in the survey, only 4% believed that their patients understood how to keep themselves properly hydrated.
Whilst the recommended amount of daily water consumption is around 2 litres, research suggests that many people drink only a single glass of water a day.
A common reason for this is misunderstanding which fluids hydrate us, and which in fact have to opposite effect.
Coffee and alcohol consumption is high, but as diuretics these drinks actually dehydrate us.
These results are the latest in an alarming series of studies that reveal that the UK is rapidly becoming a nation that’s ‘tired all the time’.
The good news is that, for many of us, water is the best medicine.
‘When people start to ensure they are staying fully hydrated they are often surprised at how much better they feel, both physically and mentally’, Dr. Henderson asserts. ‘It is therefore vital that drinking enough water becomes part of our daily routine.’
So how do our GPs suggest we do that, exactly?
Here are Dr. Henderson’s 5 essential tips:
- Make sure you drink enough water through the day; aim to have 8-10 glasses daily. Avoid sugar as this can cause energy dips in the day.
- Even if you feel sluggish and low in energy, make the effort to do 20-30 minutes exercise daily. Even a brisk walk around the block will be enough to energise you and reduce fatigue.
- Make sure you get enough sleep. Try to go to bed at the same time, do not eat or drink caffeine before going to bed and move the TV out of the bedroom!
- Eat regularly, and don’t skip breakfast. Aim for three meals a day, with a balanced diet rich in fresh fruit and vegetables, oily fish and lean meat. Try to choose these foods rather than processed and sugar-rich foods and drinks.
- Keep your alcohol intake within approved limits. Too much alcohol can rob the body of essential nutrients as well as lowering energy levels and causing low moods.
There you have it folks, pure and simple!
By Will Reynolds