For most of us, drinking water is not the first thing we think about when we wake up in the morning.
We do everything else. We check our phones, read emails and browse social media.
And then, we rush out to work or to do something important. Drinking water becomes an afterthought.
If you’re like most people, you promise yourself to do better. To drink more water.
But old habits die hard. And we find yourself slipping back into the habits of not drinking enough water.
So in this article, let’s go through some of the benefits of drinking water. We’ll find out what research says.
And we’ll discuss how you can build it into your routine in the morning.
Is water good for the body?
Most of us have heard that “we are what eat.” And that’s true.
But even more important than what we eat is the water we drink. As humans, we cannot live without water.
Water is us. We are water. Let me explain.
About 60 percent of the body weight of a human adult comes from water. For most organisms (non-human) this number is around 90 percent.
But that’s not all.
In a groundbreaking and well-cited study in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, water is even prominent in humans.
It turns out that water makes up about 73 percent of our brains and hearts.
And our lungs are about 83 percent water. Our skin (64 percent), and muscles and kidneys (79 percent) all thrive on water.
Point is, water makes up a huge percentage of our bodies.
And it’s important to understand the many vital roles water plays to keep our bodies healthy.
Water is very well the nutrient we don’t talk about that much.
Here’s the kicker: if humans don’t drink water for more than three to five days, they will die.
What are the benefits of drinking water?
Here are some of the benefits of drinking water in the morning when you wake up.
1. Circulates nutrients
If you’re asleep, you’re not eating.
And chances are then when you wake, you might want to eat something so your body gets enough energy for the day.
Drinking water helps transport all the nutrients, oxygen and other essential elements to different cells.
Drinking water in the morning allows you to set up a solid nutrient distribution system. This helps serve your body well in the course of your day.
2. Flushes waste
After hours of not eating anything, drinking water becomes even more important.
It helps to cleanse the colon. The colon is also called the large bowel or large intestine.
The colon which is part of our digestive system enables us to eat and to use the food we eat to fuel our bodies.
Drinking water cleanses the colon. And that improves our intestine’s efficiency to absorb nutrients.
It enables you to have a free-flowing bowel movement. Free bowels may prevent constipation.
This brings us to our next benefit of drinking water.
3. Cleanses toxins
Drinking water in the morning helps to flush out toxins from your body.
The kidneys of a human adult filter about 120-150 quarts of fluid each day.
The body flushes fluids out from the body through urine. The body flushes out around 1-2 quarts of these fluids each day.
Drinking water when you wake up is important for a healthy kidney throughout your day.
Without a properly functioning kidney, waste products and excess fluid build up inside the body.
This can lead to chronic kidney diseases. You don’t want that.
Related: Should You Drink Tonic Water?
4. Improves immunity
Another benefit of drinking water in the morning is that it helps to boost our bodies’ immunity.
Our bodies have their inbuilt defense against diseases and infections and bad cells. There are so many good bacteria that helps in this process.
This defense also needs to be efficient.
After long hours without food or water, drinking water enhances the body’s defense system to fight against infections.
5. Lubricates joints
The human body has about 360 joints.
The cartilage is a flexible connective tissue found in joints and the disks of the spine.
The cartilage contains about 80 percent water.
When we sleep for eight hours or more, our bodies get into a prolonged state of dehydration.
Sustained dehydration can reduce the joints’ shock-absorbing ability, leading to joint pain.
This is why drinking water in the morning after waking is vital. It can help lubricate the joints.
6. Regulates body temperature
Water that is stored in the middle layers of the skin comes to the skin’s surface as sweat when the body heats up.
As it evaporates, it cools the body.
Some scientists have suggested that when there is too little water in the body, body heat storage increases.
This means the individual is less able to tolerate heat strain.
Having a lot of water in the body may reduce physical strain if heat stress occurs during exercise.
However, more research is needed for these effects.
7. Improves healthy skin
Healthy skin is one of the benefits of drinking water when we wake up.
A key role of water, as we’ve talked about earlier, is that it enables us to remove toxins from the blood.
The process helps to keep your skin healthy.
8. Maintains blood pressure
Blood pressure is the force that circulates blood through our bodies.
It distributes white blood cells and antibodies for immunity, and hormones such as insulin.
Going hours without water can cause blood to thicken. When blood thickens, it increases your blood pressure.
Drinking water in the morning provides enough circulation. It improves the blood flow with the needed nutrients.
9. Helps with weight loss
There are several studies that suggest that drinking water can help with weight loss. There are two main ways this happens.
One is metabolism. If you drink more water, you increase mitochondrial function. This in turn accelerates lipolysis and breaks down fats for energy through hydrolysis.
The second way water may help you lose weight is by suppressing appetite. If you drink a glass of water before a meal, you are less likely to overeat.
This is because it fills you up and reduces hunger cravings.
What happens if you don’t drink water?
Mia Nacamulli did a powerful Ted Talk. It’s called “What would happen if you didn’t drink water?”
She describes what happens if you don’t drink enough water.
For starters, if you’re not drinking enough water, your brain shrinks.
A dehydrated brain works harder to accomplish the same amount as a normal brain, and more. Take a listen here:
How much water should you drink?
So you might be wondering after reading up to this point, how much water should I drink when I wake up?
I’m glad you asked. The good answer is that it depends.
You might need to vary the total amount of fluid you take in a day based on different factors. More on that in a moment.
But it’s a good practice to drink at least a glass of water in the morning right after waking up.
Now let’s see a few of the factors to consider:
If your morning is going to start with a workout that makes you sweat, drink up. Drink more water to help make up for the fluid losses.
If you’re traveling, chances are that your sleep environment and your new location might change.
A hot or humid environment can cause you to sweat during the night or even in the morning.
When you’re in such an environment, consider drinking more water when you wake up.
c) Pregnancy or breast-feeding
The fetus contains about 94 percent of water.
So if you’re pregnant or breast-feeding, it’s important to drink more water and extra fluid to stay hydrated.
The Office on Women’s Health encourages pregnant women to drink around 10 cups (2.4 liters) of fluids each day.
And for women who breast-feed, your fluid intake should be around 13 cups (3.1 liters) every day.
A sick body loses fluids.
If you have diarrhea or fever or flu, drink more water to cover the losses of fluids.
If that’s you, consider drinking more water.
How to develop the habits of drinking more water
If you were to take an audit of how the first 20 or 30 or 60 minutes of your morning looks like, you’re likely to find something surprising.
Most of the things we do when we wake up, consciously or unconsciously are out of habit.
We don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it. And that’s a good thing. Because such a morning habit helps us to ease into the day.
But there are good habits and bad habits. One of our fitness goals is to drink more water.
Drinking water must be one of the habits we must try to incorporate into our mornings because of all the benefits we’ve discussed here.
S.J. Scott wrote a brilliant book called Habit Stacking. He describes how we can overtime build a habit that will stick.
There is one technique to help develop the habit of drinking water in the morning:
- Find an activity you do in the morning regularly.
- And then stack the act of drinking a glass of water on top.
Take the habit of brushing your teeth in the morning as an example.
You do it effortlessly when they wake up. So you can use this activity as a cue to then drink water right after that.
This kind of habit stack stems from psychology research on synaptic pruning.
This describes the situation where the connections between our brains wane or become stronger depending on how frequently we use them.
So as you resolve to drink more water in the morning, make an effort to stack that activity on top of another habit.
Preferably a habit you already do every day in the morning.