We all know that our bodies require hydration and sleep in order to function properly, but do we? Running on an empty tank has been the norm for so long in our society. Our awareness of drinking more water has increased during the past few years but we're still quite a thirsty society overall. Often people brag or discuss how few hours of sleep they can function with, or express that they are looking down at someone that "sleeps in", or occasionally sleeps for a full night of eight or nine hours.
These "societal norms" can come with some really bad side effects. Are you irritable, overweight, lack energy, struggle with memory and concentration, suffering from stress while the causes seem to be relatively minor and you can't quite put your finger on the cause?
Please consult your doctor when it comes to your concerns with health as a main line of defense. Meanwhile, you may be due for a bare basic health check that begins with hydration and sleep. The conditions above will feed and grow one another, so it may come as a pleasant surprise that there are simple lifestyle changes that can enhance your ability to fight off these things.
If you often wonder what in the world is dragging you down, this is as good of a place to begin as any!
Shall we start with sleep?
If you want your health and lifestyle to come together as easily as possible and without too much "work" you're not alone. We see other "happy, skinny & rich" people all the time that don't seem to deal with half of the obstacles we have. There must be a solution like that For Me!
We begin our discussion on the topic of sleep for a very important reason. There was a world-renowned psychologist named Abraham Maslow that determined that we human beings have a "Hierarchy of needs". He illustrated this hierarchy in the form of a pyramid with the most basic human needs at the bottom, and endeavors of higher aspiration at the top. Through intense study, Maslow concluded that if the lower sections of the pyramid are unfulfilled then we literally don't care much about the aspects of life that reside above these primary needs.
In other words, if you're on the verge of starvation then you don't care much about making new friends or owning a mansion in the hills. Right?
Do you feel irritable, lacking in concentration, forgetful and/or experience untimely fluctuations in your energy levels throughout the day like you're working against yourself? Pause and listen to your body. Sometimes you'd like to read a book, call an old friend or just get up and exercise but something gets in the way. Right?
You're distracted with nonsense and soon the day gets away from you. Could it be that your body is trying to tell you that a basic need hasn't been met?
There are few things in our existence that will sap the drive and desire to do much of anything beyond what is absolutely necessary, than lack of sleep.
If you're tired and worn out it takes a helluva lot of ambition to push forward with anything. Agree? Some call it the lack of willpower but I just call it the lack of a good night's sleep.
There are other factors that prevent us from moving forward but this is one thing that more than half of us falls short of at least from time to time. We have to fix this first!
Your objectives for the next few days are:
- Estimate your best number of hours for sleep.
- Calculate your schedule to accommodate that number of hours. (Yes, you CAN)
- From your planned wake-up time, set a bedtime schedule based on the hours of sleep that you need.
- Set aside 30 minutes prior to "bedtime" as a wind-down prior to going to bed. No work, no bills or chores are allowed. Just relax.
Be patient with the process. Don't anticipate your bedtime as a fixed moment that you "have to be in bed by 10:30". This can set you up to miss the time, and not take into consideration any wind-down time or the actual time it takes to fall asleep.
** Here is an additional set of tips. Chart all three periods being pre-bedtime, the time actually lying down, and the actual time you wake up. Keep track of all three of these.
If you hit your goal number of hours, make note of how you feel in comparison to previous weeks.
A hidden benefit for many: We find that our cravings for high-carb foods, or the urge to smoke or drink sometimes tend to increase later into the evening as physical and mental fatigue set in. These tendencies often dissipate when we get to bed just a bit earlier and get a full night of sleep.
Next, let's get a bit more biological in our pyramid. Below we explain a basic need that can weaken your ability to move forward. Our next topic pertains to water and hydration.
The Importance of Water & Hydration
Remember how I said you probably "don't care" about "anything besides the necessities" if the lower and most basic parts of your pyramid aren't satisfied?
According to MOST studies, approximately 2/3rds of us are technically, clinically dehydrated. (If you're in the 30% that DO drink plenty of water please stay tuned because there is useful information here for you also)
First, the condition of being dehydrated can cause the following MENTAL SYMPTOMS you might have never suspected:
Our bodies experience a real, actual fatigue when there isn't enough water present. When we're fatigued, we become moody creatures with quick tempers, and are quick to give up (on less important immediate pursuits).
Lack of Concentration
No intention to talk down at you… but you are an animal. A beast that needs shelter, food and water first before anything else. It's hard to concentrate on work or an unimportant motor task when something is not quite right with one of the three. You probably don't notice or attribute the wandering or interrupting thoughts to food or water but your body might be trying to talk to you.
Keep in mind that you're constantly within 72 hours of death if you don't get fluids. As hours tick on and on, it doesn't take much to set off your bodily alarms and they WILL distract you from whatever you're doing. We're civilized people that couldn't imagine death by dehydration so we've learned ways to take these queues a lot less seriously.
Nonetheless, It REALLY IS TRUE that the subtle inconveniences in your day can and will push you to the edge when you're lacking the most basic of physiological needs. The only thing your system needs immediately more than water is air. The next time you get angry when you drop your keys with your hands full in the grocery store parking lot, or the next time you feel like an idiot for forgetting something any fool would remember… Think about how silly it is that you're so moody about something so trivial and part of every day life.
Do you ever wonder why you have days like that? Everyone does.
Statistically, if 34.8% of us aren't getting enough sleep, AND 66% of us are dehydrated most of the time: LOTS of people are suffering one or the other at any given time - and dropping their keys or cursing at traffic RIGHT NOW. Compound this with the condition that more than 50% of us are ALSO, meanwhile lacking in sleep!
It's not far-fetched that some of your day-to-day complications and frustrations could be hiding behind your deprivation of two of your most basic human needs!
Does it begin to make sense that you're not a victim to "willpower" or a similar weakness?
You're here for a reason. We market to a VERY specific demographic which then brought your attention to us. By definition of this demographic you're not weak. In fact some of the strongest people I've known are in this very category of people.
Now, back to water and more importantly WHAT YOU DRINK.
Did you know that being technically dehydrated also causes increasing lack in satisfaction from eating? Sometimes this is even more noticeable from your quick-snacks (that might even be healthy ones). Signs of this can be an un-natural digestion cycle, gaining weight or inability to lose weight.
If your body can't convince you to drink more water, it's going to begin telling you that you're hungry.
After all, we'll bet that if you drink lots of Coffee, Tea, Energy Drinks, and good ole Soda Pop (likely in some combination) – That you can't hardly tell when you're REALLY, ACTUALLY thirsty any more. Is drinking coffee and tea in the morning for reason of thirst or for a "pick me up"? Most of the time its a habit. Is it the caffeine you're craving, or the carbonated burn in the back of your throat that you take as a signal to being thirsty nowadays?
I'm sure you've heard it 1000 times, but caffeine acts as a diuretic that can actually contribute to your dehydration. You can get by on soda and coffee but you'll never re-stock your body with fluids efficiently by drinking only these.
It's not your fault. You're used to what you're used to. Water probably doesn't sound too appealing if you're in that camp. No worries. Your body and your palette will quickly notice when you chug some H2O and reward you with the appreciation of water and it's taste in short order.
Now we move on to the PHYSICAL SYMPTOMS of being short on fluids.
A Multitude of Physiological Problems are caused by mild to moderate dehydration. Keep in mind that 72 hours without water is fatal. How often do you get out of bed in the morning after a healthy night's sleep with (Source: Mayo Clinic):
- Dry, sticky mouth
- Dry skin
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
You've endured 8 hours of sleep with no water intake and weren't sufficiently hydrated when you went to bed. We'll call it 11 hours lacking in any quality water intake. You're feeling the first effects of Moderate Dehydration. In fact, technically you're 61 hours away from dying from it.
This is serious stuff! We're not trying to over-dramatize this subject and turn you off because we have more interesting stuff to come. I'll bet at some time (some of you more frequently) have experienced and/or witnessed some of these symptoms in others:
- Extreme thirst
- Extreme fussiness or sleepiness in infants and children; irritability and confusion in adults
- Very dry mouth, skin and mucous membranes
- Little or no urination — any urine that is produced will be darker than normal
- Sunken eyes
- Shriveled and dry skin that lacks elasticity and doesn't "bounce back" when pinched into a fold
- Low blood pressure
- Rapid heartbeat
- Rapid breathing
- No tears when crying
- Fever from no apparent cause
- Temporary delirium
This is getting ridiculous, right? Ask any nurse how many times they have witnessed a patient's symptoms mysteriously disappear after receiving a couple of hours worth of IV fluids alone.
Clearly, the above symptoms can be caused by a great number of things besides dehydration. However, in cases where dehydration IS the cause, you're on the brink of a medical emergency!
A Quick Recap
If you suffer from two or more of these every month then you're probably at least periodically dehydrated:
Headaches, Constipation, Dry Skin, Dizziness or lightheadedness, Consistent weight gain, Inability to lose weight, Frequent &, untimely hunger, Lapses in memory, Lack in ability to concentrate, Persistent thirst, Dark colored urine, Short temper
There might be 2 or 3 or 4 things causing weight gain, headaches and anything else above. The reason that one behavior usually doesn't do the trick is because there is usually more than one reason for each issue taking place.
Again, hydration is but one really common, underlying factor in lots of ailments we suffer.
Lack of sleep is commonly another.
I Already Drink Plenty of Water
If you already drink plenty of water then you're probably experiencing the symptoms above a lot less frequently than others.
Still, we have a bit of advice for you. If you're drinking water constantly, try to consume more water in the morning, mid-afternoon and early evening compared to other parts of the day. By doing this you'll replenish more when you need it and keep an even balance throughout the day.
If you have enough during the day then you can take it easy before going to bed, and sleep better. Late-night water drinkers often suffer from lack of good sleep and/or wake often at night to urinate. When your body is well-balanced all day you'll do just fine with smaller drinks within 90 minutes of bedtime.
Stay away from water infused with energy formulas and the sweetened, flavored water as your mainstay. It's important to corner and conquer one issue at a time, so go with the pure stuff for this ten days while everything works itself out. You'll never appreciate water if you're suffering ups and downs from the additives in it.
In our very first messages to you we introduced the Pondera Meal Plan. Most health-conscious people drink juices. The pure juice varieties are natural forms of sugar, vitamins and minerals, and are often viewed as a healthy alternative to carbonated drinks, energy drinks, etc..
Until you are including at least one meal a day from the meal plan and are using the snack ideas during the day - please don't rely on juice as your "healthy drink choice" alone. Without making things too complicated, juices deliver a dose of sugar that can compound other, underlying problems.
Once you're adapted to the meal plan your body will be making an adjustment in the processing of carbohydrates, sugars and insulin for the better. Once you're acclimated to the meal plan (at least one meal a day and using the snack suggestions) you can go back to a small amounts of juice but keep it minimal. If you're really thirsty just supplement with water.
If you have insulin or carbohydrate complications we highly suggest giving Pondera a try (Use promo code TRYNOW for $25 off your first order).
Sodas, Fountain drinks, etc… The time has come for you to just let go of Diet Coke or whatever carbonated drink you seem to enjoy the most. "Diet Soda" is a myth and an oxymoron. Regular flavors of soda, non-diet versions contain high fructose corn syrup and other additives that are no good for you either.
It's impossible to know what percentage it is, but there is a significant population of people that ONLY drink "fountain variety" beverages from the time they wake until the time they go to bed.
WebMD.com published a piece in March, 2015 explaining many of the consequences of being a regular soda drinker. The emphasis was on diet soda drinkers.
Not only did the study agree with scores of other studies that diet soda drinkers actually get fatter, but the measured increase in fat is really noticeable in the midsection. The belly is one of the least healthy places on your body to store fat. Really recent studies have come out saying that diet sodas don't cause diabetes, but the caffeine and artificial sweeteners will take their own toll over time.
This is a BIG deal for many. In fact I know someone that suffers withdrawals without having Diet Coke. Weird withdrawals like headaches, fatigue and other issues. She had to replace Diet Coke with regular Coke for a short while, and then taper down from there. It took some time and some real willpower.
Excessive sugar is no good for anyone. Artificial sweeteners are bad in a different way. These are foreign substances that our bodies don't know how to handle.
"Your body is used to knowing that a sweet taste means you are ingesting energy in the form of calories that, if you don't burn them off, is going to convert to fat," she says. Artificial sweeteners, however, confuse our bodies and weaken the link in our brains between sweetness and calories. That, Hazuda says, can lead to weight gain and cravings for sweeter and sweeter treats."
The truth is that if you've been a frequent drinker of soda for years and years, that your body is almost certainly having trouble regulating all of the sugar and processing all of the added chemicals and artificial sweeteners. Plus frankly, your body is probably having a really hard time telling you when you're actually thirsty or hungry any more.
In the least for the following five days, avoid these beverages altogether or dramatically decrease them. "Chase" a sip with water in the very least. It will slow down your craving for them over time and you'll begin to regain your health back.
Coffee and Tea are healthy in moderation. These, however are limiting in their role as a hydration source. The best way to enjoy them is un-sweetened. If you must sweeten your coffee or tea we suggest using a sweetener made with stevia. Truvia and Pure Via are brand names of these types of products. Stevia is a plant-based sweetener that does not contain the calories found in sugar, does not contribute to tooth decay and does not raise blood sugar levels.
So How Do I Start?
If you're not a regular water drinker we suggest something that sounds a little extreme – But It Really Works.
Buy water like a total idiot at the store. Small bottles, regular size bottles, gallons if you wish (especially if your tap water is undesirable). Get a filter pitcher like a Brita to filter and refrigerate tap water. Grab one each morning and fill it up the rest of the way. You'll have fresh, cold water for hours. Buy re-usable water bottles, like the "fitness movement" all carry around. Fill one or two or thee halfway with water and throw them in the freezer. Do whatever it takes.
Make Water Ridiculously Available. Here's why.
"In my fridge we have a Brita Pitcher but it's usually buried behind last night's leftovers, big bottles of juice and all sorts of other random stuff. It's inconvenient and plus it doesn't taste or crackle like a Coke does."
"We have the "in the door filtered water" too but that thing leaks so we disconnected it months ago. If it's not available we don't drink it."
These explanations are so common!
Buy and store an over-abundance of water at home to make it one of the only choices readily available when you're too lazy to move last night's meatloaf out of the way. The path of least resistance is a concept that you can use to bring more water into your life and your body. If it's in the way everywhere you'll get lazy enough to settle for it trust me.
That's a long lesson for something dumb, but to be honest I never noticed or cared if I was getting enough water until I realized my body was begging for it – and I never knew.
When I say that you should "make water ridiculously available" I really mean it. After a week or so you'll learn the best place to keep water, and in what form so that it is always brainlessly easy and accessible forever. Then you'll only need to buy and keep the best options. You just won't know what works for you until you over-buy and overstock to test your environment for what works for you.
Next, you'll have to drink it! Substitute water sometimes when you don't even feel like it. You don't have to do this every single time you reach for something to drink, but catch yourself reaching for a Coke or an iced coffee when you have the mental presence to do so, and do the rational thing – go for the water!
Now, go hijack a water truck and get to bed early! Your body will thank you for it.
Get Your Life Back & Feel Great!
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