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Do We Really Need to Drink Eight Cups Of Water A Day?

Spoon University logo Spoon University 6/12/2018 Chris Pathmanabhan

a glass of wine: Drink eight cups of water ice water © Jocelyn Hsu Drink eight cups of water ice water At some point in your life, someone has probably told you that you should be drinking eight cups of water a day. It's the first tip anyone on a journey to live a healthier life will come across. But is there any evidence to back up this popularized claim?

Water makes up a majority of your body weight and is crucial for keeping your body functioning properly. It's necessary for waste removal, physical performance, and brain functioning. There are also claims that drinking more water can increase energy levels, prevent headaches, promote weight loss, and give you healthier skin and hair.

But is eight cups the magical, universal answer? I decided to try it out for myself for one week to see if there would be any noticeable differences. 

Day 1

I started out pretty well, but by the time I was drinking the sixth or seventh cup of water, it was just running straight through me. Within minutes of drinking water I would have to get up to use the restroom. I decided enough was enough when my trips to the restroom became so frequent that I could not focus on my work. But considering that my usual water intake is approximately one cup (usually in the form of tea), I thought this was a pretty good start. So, I did not actually meet my goal of eight cups, or 64 ounces, of water.

Day 2

Drink eight cups of water orange citrus © Jocelyn Hsu Drink eight cups of water orange citrus

As I was rushing out the door to head to class, I forgot my water bottle so it was a pretty rough start. I didn't get my first cup until a little after noon. I was still making frequent trips to the restroom, but not even close to as frequently as on my first day. I was a little surprised with how quickly my body was adjusting to the extra water intake. 

Day 3

I was still going to the restroom pretty frequently, but it was reaching a point where I could go out for a few hours and not worry about running to find a restroom. I also got into the habit of using the restroom before I headed out anywhere. It still felt like a task to be drinking eight cups of water. 

Day 4

a person standing next to a body of water: Drink eight cups of water water Ocean © Shelby Cohron Drink eight cups of water water Ocean

This was the first day that I actually noticed a difference. Usually I get pretty tired by the early afternoon and take a nap. But for whatever reason, I was so energized and skipped my nap of the day. I have been keeping every other aspect of my life as consistent as possible, so maybe the extra water is actually making a difference?

Day 5

Drink eight cups of water Exercising working out © Denise Uy Drink eight cups of water Exercising working out

Today was extremely hot and as a result, I came across another change (although not a pleasant one). I was sweating way more than usual. A couple of simple errands left the back of my shirt completely drenched in sweat. I'm terrified to even consider what would happen if I tried working out.

Day 6

At this point drinking eight cups of water a day no longer felt like a chore. My body was starting to crave it. 

Day 7

Aunt Flo decided to hit me with a surprise visit. Usually I get cramps and am very bloated, indicating her arrival. But this time, nothing. No pain, no discomfort, and my stomach is surprisingly flatter. Maybe this is worth continuing.

Final Thoughts

a person wearing a costume: Drink eight cups of water beer water © Julia Gilman Drink eight cups of water beer water

I went into this thinking that this would just be something interesting to try for a week. But now, I think I may try to keep doing this

Throughout this week I had more energy, was less bloated, and just felt better overall. One week is too short of a time period to see if there is any difference in terms of skin and hair health, but I can see how these are possible benefits. I was also sweating more than I thought was possible, which may keep pores clear and skin healthy.  

I don't think I will stick to the eight-cups-a-day rule, but I will definitely be drinking more. 

For anyone trying to drink more water, one app that I found makes this experience more pleasant is Plant Nanny. As you drink water throughout the day, you keep track by watering these adorable plants. 

Also, it is important to listen to your body. Every person is different. Drinking eight cups of water may not work for you, but this is a fun way to find out what your body needs.

Gallery: These 10 Beverages Are More Hydrating Than Water (courtesy The Daily Mail)

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