How to Drink More Water

Chad Birt

Written by Chad Birt on Thu Aug 17 2023.

Glass of water.

Drinking water throughout the day is one of the best ways to maintain your health and support various bodily functions. The human body is composed of around 60% water, which contributes to different processes, like digestion, circulation, and temperature regulation.

Most of us know that staying hydrated is important, yet research shows that 47% of American adults don’t drink enough water. 

“Proper hydration supports joint lubrication, skin health, and metabolism,” explains Adrian Todd, an occupational therapist and the CEO and founder of GreatMindsThinkHike. “When dehydrated, these functions can be compromised leading to fatigue, dizziness, and impaired cognitive performance. Thus, ensuring an adequate intake of water is vital for optimal bodily function and well-being.”

Below, we provide simple tips for increasing your or your loved one’s water intake. By following these steps, you can reduce the risk of dehydration and other related medical issues. 

What You’ll Need

All you need to stay hydrated is clean drinking water, a cup, and a notebook to track how much water you drink. Todd recommends having a few tools on hand can make the process easier and more enjoyable, including:

  • A reusable water bottle with volume markings

  • Infuser bottles with compartments for fruits or herbs (to add some flavor)

  • Smartphone apps that remind you to drink water

  • Wearable fitness trackers to help monitor your progress

“None of these tools are necessary, but they can assist you in forming a consistent habit to help you stay hydrated,” Todd says.

Steps to Drink More Water

Step 1: Determine How Much Water You Need to Drink Daily

Your recommended daily water intake varies depending on things like age, activity level, the climate you live in, and your individual medical needs.

“As a general guideline, the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine suggest a daily fluid intake of about 3.7 liters (125 ounces) for men and 2.7 liters (91 ounces for women) through a combination of foods and beverages,” Todd says.

You might need to drink more water if you’re an athlete or you live in a very hot or humid environment.

“Listen to your body’s thirst signals and observe urine color to gauge hydration levels and adjust your intake accordingly,” Todd explains. “It’s essential to find a balance that suits your body’s specific needs for optimal well-being.” 

Caregiver Tip

When you drink enough water, your urine should be a pale, straw color. If your urine is amber or a darker shade of blond, you’re likely dehydrated.

Step 2: Include Hydrating Foods In Your Diet

Drinking water is important, but consuming glass after glass of water can seem like a chore. To make things easier, add hydrating foods to your diet. 

“Foods like watermelon, strawberries, and oranges can contribute to your fluid intake, as these foods have high water content,” says Todd. 

Many vegetables also contain a high amount of water, including:

  • Zucchini

  • Bell peppers

  • Carrots

  • Cauliflower

  • Cabbage

Other lesser-known sources of water include broth, cottage cheese, and plain yogurt. By adding these ingredients to your meals and snacks, you can supplement your daily water intake. 

Step 3: Drink Flavored Beverages that Contain Water

A recent survey found that about 19% of Americans don’t regularly drink water, because they don’t like the flavor. Can you relate? Consider, mixing up what you drink, if so.

For example, “opting for herbal teas or diluted fruit juices can provide flavorful alternatives to plain water,” says Todd.

Many sparkling water brands now include artificial flavors or fruit juice in their offerings. Spindrift is a great example. Each Spindrift flavor features real fruit juice. Flavored water typically has a few more calories, but it’s an easy way to make water consumption less bland. 

Step 4: Remind Yourself to Drink Water Throughout the Day

It’s easy to forget to drink water if you lead a busy lifestyle. Between doctor’s appointments, work, and visits with friends it can be challenging to monitor your hydration. Set reminders instead of beating yourself up or trying to chug water when you think of it.

“Scheduling specific times to drink water or using smartphone apps can help you stay on track with your hydration goals,” Todd says.

There are several apps designed to support these efforts, including:

These apps are free to download and use, but some include in-app purchases and additional features.

Step 5: Carry a Reusable Water Bottle or a Cup with Measurements

Establishing a new habit takes anywhere from 18 days to 254 days, depending on various factors. Replacing sugary beverages, like soda or sports drinks with water takes time and effort, but a reusable water bottle or a drinking cup with measurements can help. 

“Carrying a reusable water bottle with you throughout the day ensures that water is readily available and makes it easier to drink consistently,” Todd explains. “I often recommend that people fill and drink at least one bottle per meal. This is a quick and easy way to get more water without any real thought.”

Hear it from a caregiver

“Very handy, especially when having a drink by one’s bedside. [I’m] very glad to have purchased it.”

- Marion W. 

Spillproof Drinking Cup Kennedy
Spillproof Drinking Cup Kennedy

Price: $13.17

Step 6: Add Flavor Enhancers to Your Water

Infusing tap or bottled water with fruits and vegetables can make plain water more appealing. 

“I often recommend adding a slice of lemon, lime, or other citrus fruits to water to provide a refreshing flavor boost,” says Todd. “Infusing water with slices of cucumber, mint leaves, berries, or herbs can also create a unique and flavorful twist.” 

Consider adding electrolytes to your water if you live an active lifestyle and enjoy hiking or working out. “Electrolyte packets add flavor and nutrients to your water,” Todd adds. “There are several brands of electrolyte mixes, including Liquid IV, Bitsy’s Switch, and Optima. I prefer to use ones with natural flavorings.” 

Step 7: Play with Different Temperatures

Many people enjoy drinking ice water, but if you have very sensitive teeth, that might not be an option. Rather than avoiding water altogether, try consuming it at different temperatures.

For example, a glass of hot lemon water in the morning can help wake up your digestive system, reduce the risk of heartburn, and encourage regularity. On the other hand, room-temperature water is less likely to irritate your teeth or gums. 

You can even get some water from sucking on ice cubes. Just don’t chew on them, or you might damage your teeth.

Step 8: Drink Herbal Tea

Herbal, non-caffeinated teas are another easy way to increase your water intake. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), drinking a cup of herbal tea is the equivalent of drinking a cup of water. This rule doesn’t apply to black or green teas, as they have caffeine and dehydrate you. 

Step 9: Try Thick Water if You Have Difficulty Swallowing (Dysphagia)

Medical conditions like dysphagia (difficulty swallowing) increase the risk of choking and water aspiration. Thick water and thickening agents, like Thick-It, make water a more easy-to-swallow, honey-like consistency. 

Thick water comes prepackaged, but you can also mix thickening agents into tap water, herbal tea, and electrolyte drinks. 

Hear it from a caregiver

“This water with pre-mixed thickener is so convenient and my 91-year-old mom with Alzheimer’s likes it.”

- Becky J. 

How to Drink More Water - Commonly Asked Questions

1) I have incontinence. Won’t drinking water make this problem worse?

Staying hydrated is essential, even if you have incontinence. But you may need to manage your fluid intake in a way that reduces accidents and trips to the toilet.

“If you have incontinence, consider spreading out your water consumption throughout the day to avoid excessive volume intake at once,” explains Todd. “Additionally, be mindful of the types of fluids you consume - caffeine and alcohol act as diuretics and may worsen incontinence symptoms.”

2) How can I know if I need more serious hydration support, like intravenous (IV) fluids for example?

You might benefit from IV hydration if you have severe dehydration or are unable to rehydrate orally. Symptoms that indicate you need medical attention include:

  • Extreme thirst

  • Dark yellow or amber-colored urine

  • Very dry mouth and skin

  • Dizziness or lightheadedness

  • Rapid heart rate

  • Low blood pressure

A doctor or other qualified medical professional can assess your condition and make recommendations to restore your hydration levels safely and effectively.

3) Is it possible to drink too much water?

Drinking too much water can lead to a condition called hyponatremia (water intoxication). “This occurs when you consume more water than your kidneys can efficiently remove, leading to a dilution of electrolytes in your body, particularly sodium,” Todd explains.

Though rare, several factors can increase your risk of water intoxication, including:

  • Drinking more than 1.5 liters of water per hour

  • Kidney failure

  • Kidney damage

  • Diabetes

Have Questions About Drinking More Water?

Our Care Specialists regularly field questions about water intake and healthy hydration. Whether you need product recommendations or caregiving advice, we’re standing by and ready to assist. Call (800) 696-CARE or send an email to support@carewell.com.

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Chad Birt
Chad Birt

Chad Birt is a freelance medical writer who resides in Astoria, Oregon. When he isn't behind a keyboard, you can find him hiking, camping, or birdwatching with his wife Ella and their two dogs, Diane and Thoreau.