By: Nick Swan
Most of us know that drinking water is good for us, and essential.
Now, there are a lot of human beings who think that drinking water via 20 cups of tea a day is fine, and “that gives me my water intake, thank you very much!” or that one cup from the water dispenser is good enough to see you through a busy day – though I suppose that would still be better than drinking 50 glasses of Red wine a day and claiming the same!
But the trouble is with most of the ingredients that can be mixed with water to make that “water experience” a little bit more palatable to this type of water drinker, is that the solution you are drinking either contains sugars or dehydrating agents, or both!
The National Hydration Council in the UK recently conducted a survey amongst 300 UK GPs (*1) regarding visits to the surgery complaining of tiredness and fatigue.
One in Ten of all consultations linked the cause to Dehydration. Plus in more than a third of these cases, patients reported feeling better after drinking more water.
The research also found that more than half of GPs (53 per cent) agreed that they would prefer to have more time to look at people’s hydration habits.
Dr Roger Henderson, GP in Shropshire and adviser to the Natural Hydration Council said: “I see 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. Many of my patients do not drink enough fluid each day and only 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.”
Despite the links between tiredness and dehydration, only four per cent of GPs strongly agreed that patients are aware of how to hydrate healthily. Recent statistics revealed that 60 per cent of the UK drink just one glass of water or less a day.
Official NHS guidance (*2) suggests adults should drink 8-10 200ml glasses of fluid a day and children 6-8 glasses. While all fluid counts towards this target, water is one of the healthiest ways to hydrate as it contains no calories or sugar.
Dr Roger Henderson continued:
“When people start to ensure they are staying fully hydrated they are often surprised at how much better they feel, both physically and mentally. It is therefore vital that drinking enough water becomes part of our daily routine. What this study shows is that as well as contributing hugely to the nation feeling tired all the time, dehydration and its effects is adding to the numbers of people trying to get a GP appointment at a time when the NHS is under immense pressure.”
London came out top for the amount of GP consultations thought to be linked to dehydration, with GPs in the city highlighting that nearly a fifth are suspected to be down to dehydration.
So, what’s needed to really hit the spot is good ‘ole plain drinking water, with nothing added to it.
The tap water in the UK is generally fine to drink, so if you can force yourself to get to that tap first thing in the morning, turn it on (let it run for just a few seconds to get rid of the old water in the pipe) and have a few gulps, then brilliant – That’s your first drink of the day! Then if you must, have your normal cuppa tea of coffee.
Keep this discipline going all through the day, and you may find that drinking water doesn’t taste too bad after all, and you may feel a little bit more energised and have a good feeling for knowing that you are doing the job!
If the appeal of going to the tap and pouring room temperature to slightly cold water is not honestly there, and the thought of remembering to do this is difficult, then consider what many homeowners stretch to and get a water dispenser in your home. These can either be either plumbed in, and dispense filtered cold water, or can be the bottled water type.
Things have moved on in the watercooler industry and you don’t have to have one of the big clunky office type machines that are seen in commercial establishments. The bottled ones are available in a smaller size (available in different colours too!) with a smaller bottle.
So, just by having a water dispenser that looks good in the home, and is staring you in the face regularly every day, it can only encourage you to drink more, stay more hydrated, stay less fatigued, and keep healthier.
(*1) Natural Hydration Council
(*2) NHS – Live Well/Good Food/Water-Drinks pages
Nick Swan has over 30 years’ experience in the water supply industry and is Managing Director of Love Water Limited, a Surrey based Office and Home Water Dispenser Company specialising in the South East with UK-wide delivery.