In addition to feeling thirsty, there are a number of symptoms associated with being mildly dehydrated and some serious ones associated with acute dehydration.
Mild symptoms include:
Acute symptoms include:
A Journal of Applied Physiology study1 found that dehydration by 2.5% to 5.0% of body mass strongly increased cortisol, epinephrine, and norepinephrine, the primary stress hormones. So dehydration is a cause of stress and stress often leads to dehydration. Are you feeling stressed out? The symptoms above are enough to cause stress in anyone. The best way to break this vicious cycle, avoid the symptoms above, and reap the benefits of hydration is to simply relax and drink up!
1) Judelson AD. et al. “Effect of hydration state on resistance exercise-induced endocrine markers of anabolism, catabolism, and metabolism.” Journal of Applied Physiology September 2008 vol. 105 no. 3 816-824.
Dehydration reduces skin elasticity. Hydration-aware health practitioners will often do this easy skin test—and so can you—to quickly check your hydration.
Pinch the skin on the back of your hand and pull it upwards until it is tight. Your skin should snap back rapidly within a second or so. If your skin maintains peaked and in its pinched shape for a few seconds and drops slowly, you are almost certainly dehydrated.