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You’re not tired—you’re dehydrated

You’re not tired—you’re dehydrated

Exhausted? Dizzy? Before you jump on WebMD to find out what's causing your symptoms, drink some water. You might be tired or dizzy... or you might be dehydrated.

How do you know if you're dehydrated, and how can you rehydrate properly? We're sharing the symptoms and a few tips to stay hydrated (hint: it's more than just drinking water).

What is dehydration?

Your body is mostly water—nearly 80%—making water and hydration essential for proper functioning. Your brain, heart, muscles, kidneys, and lungs are all made of more than 70% water and need it to carry out bodily processes, like:

  • Regulating body temperature
  • Transporting oxygen and nutrients throughout your body
  • Creating hormones and neurotransmitters
  • Helping with digestion and waste removal

Water drives almost everything in your body, which is why dehydration can wreak havoc on your body if you don't rehydrate. Dehydration occurs when you lose more fluids than you take in—when your body doesn't have enough water to carry out all your body's normal processes.

You lose water through your skin, lungs, kidneys, and gastrointestinal (GI) tract via urination, sweating, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, or medications that can cause dehydration. 

While thirst is your body's natural response to dehydration, many people experience other symptoms that they may not correlate with dehydration. Let's explore a few.

Do you have a headache, or are you dehydrated?

Are you extra tired on a hot day spent in the sun? Or dizzy after running a marathon? You might just be dehydrated. 

1. Urination

Research shows that urine is a practical indicator of how hydrated you are, with a pale yellow color being ideal. Urochrome, a yellowish waste by-product, is what determines urine color. And because your kidneys concentrate urochrome during dehydration, your urine appears darker. 

Dehydration also jumpstarts a process within your kidneys that reduces urine excretion to control fluid balances within your body. This process further concentrates your urine and releases a hormone—vasopressin, also called antidiuretic hormone (ADH)—that tells your kidneys to hold onto water to prevent further water loss.

2. Tiredness

A quick nap or a few cups of coffee throughout the day can cure sleepiness, right? Wrong. If you're dehydrated, coffee might be the last thing you need. Multiple studies show the impact of dehydration, from shorter sleep duration to increased sleepiness and fatigue in a dehydrated state. One study found that even mild dehydration led to increased feelings of fatigue during exercise and negative effects on endurance.

And you feel tired because your body doesn't have enough water to carry out its functions, like transporting oxygen and nutrients throughout your body. To create adenosine triphosphate (ATP)—your body's energy source—requires both water and oxygen. Dehydration limits your body's ability to create ATP, hence feeling fatigued.

3. Dizziness

Remember, water is essential for nearly every function in your body, including maintaining fluid balance. Dehydration reduces the amount of fluids in your body, which reduces your blood volume. The result? Lower blood pressure.

A drop in blood pressure makes it harder for your brain to get adequate blood flow, creating that dizzying feeling or lightheadedness. 

4. Unfocused

Dehydration can take a toll on your body, especially on cognitive performance, including a lack of focus, slower reaction times, and even reduced short-term memory. 

One study found increased error rates and saw negative effects on attention and memory when participants were dehydrated. Dehydration can even lead to an altered mental state that can feel like confusion.

5. Muscle cramps

When you're dehydrated, muscle cramps can happen at any time, whether it's during a workout or you're jolted awake in the middle of the night. Here's why:

  • Water plays a pivotal role in transmitting nerve impulses, which facilitate muscle movements. Dehydration can limit your body's ability to communicate properly between nerves and muscles, resulting in muscle cramps.

  • Dehydration reduces blood flow throughout your body, including blood flow to your muscles. The reduced blood flow means less nutrients and oxygen delivered to your muscles, leading to increased fatigue and the chances of cramping.

  • Your electrolyte balance gets thrown off during dehydration. Electrolytes, like sodium, magnesium, and potassium, are crucial for optimal muscle function, so when your electrolyte balance is off, you may experience muscle cramping.

Addressing dehydration

It seems obvious—drink more water. But there's more to rehydrating than simply drinking more water. We've got a few tips to help you stay hydrated:

  • Thirst is your body's first signal that you're dehydrated, so try drinking water before you feel thirsty to prevent dehydration.
  • Aim to drink about half your body weight in water (in ounces) every day to maintain proper hydration.
  • Think beyond water—you need to replenish the electrolytes you lose throughout the day to ensure your body is balanced.
  • Avoid excessive caffeine and alcohol consumption. Both are diuretics, which increase urination (and fluid loss).
  • Post-workout, rehydrate gradually to optimize fluid absorption and restore your electrolyte balance.

Grab a drink… of water

Water is essential—it transports nutrients, regulates body temperature, promotes digestion, and much more. Staying hydrated helps your body carry out all these functions and can prevent the symptoms of dehydration. 

So, grab a glass and drink up. Your body will thank you.


Looking for more than water?   Jocko Hydrate is advanced rehydration: a blend that's precision-formulated to replace what you lose. While other formulas contain insufficient electrolytes and are loaded with sugar, Jocko Hydrate includes all essential electrolytes-- magnesium, potassium, sodium, and chloride-- at full clinical doses. Made with truly clean ingredients, zero sugar, and no artificial flavors or sweeteners, Jocko Hydrate is everything you need to replenish in the gym, at the track, or out in the world.