We all know that we need water to survive. But did you know that apart from removing waste and toxins, regulating our body temperature, lubricating joints, and improving cellular, tissue, and organ health, water is also necessary for the production of saliva, proper digestion, and the delivery of oxygen throughout your body?

Throughout the day, we naturally use and lose water through sweat, urination, and even through the simple act of breathing. And since we can’t actually produce more of it by ourselves, we rely on external sources for replenishment.

When you lose more water than you take in, you’re considered dehydrated. But how do you know when your body needs to be rehydrated? The thing is that if you’re already thirsty, you’re already mildly dehydrated, so while thirst is the most common signal of dehydration, there are several other, less-obvious ways to tell if you’re water-deprived, including some mental and emotional markers that may surprise you.

Stinky Breath

One of the causes of bad breath is dehydration. This is because saliva has antibacterial properties, and the creation of saliva requires water. When you’re dehydrated, salivary production goes down as your body diverts fluids to higher-priority locations. Furthermore, the ability to fight odour-causing germs in your mouth may not be efficient when you’re dehydrated, resulting in bad breath.

Feeling Hungry

If you feel peckish or notice cravings (often for salty foods) it could actually be because you’re really thirsty. So the next time you feel hungry, but aren’t sure why, ask yourself, “am I dehydrated?” Drink a glass of water and wait about 15 minutes to see if the feeling of hunger passes, if it doesn’t you are probably actually hungry.

Headaches

Being dehydrated can cause fluid to shift out of the brain, putting pressure on the meninges and stimulating pain receptors as a result. Translation: that headache is a possible clue that you’ve gone too long without water.

Inability To Focus

Dehydration can affect your ability to focus, causing short-term challenges in performing tasks related to motor and visual skills. Even mild dehydration can cause cognitive issues, so be sure to sip on a glass of water throughout the day to ensure your mind remains sharp.

Constipation

Constipation has been defined as having less than three bowel movements per week, and one of the culprits of constipation is dehydration. Water aids digestion, and is necessary to keep things regular.

Less Elastic Skin

A quick test to determine your level of hydration is to use two fingers to pinch your skin on the top of your hand, lower arm, or abdomen. If you’re hydrated, it should tent up and release, snapping back into place immediately. But when you’re dehydrated, your skin loses some of the elasticity that it needs to snap back instantly.

While there is no single daily water requirement for a given person, some experts suggest drinking roughly half your body weight in ounces (i.e. if you weigh 160 pounds, you should consume about 80 ounces of water). And while you’ve heard that you should drink about eight glasses of water a day, there’s no scientific evidence to conclude that these recommendations are the standard, rule for every individual.