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Signs I Am Dehydrated – The Pee Test

Signs I Am Dehydrated - The Pee Test

What are some basic signs I am dehydrated? If you are like me, you scurry through your day, without much thought about how often or how much you are drinking. After all, we may drink coffee, tea, soda, milk, shakes, alcohol, and other liquids. Those liquids count for getting hydrated. Right?! It becomes difficult to keep track of how much water we actually drink daily. πŸ™‚ Even my cactus can get dehydrated, and show signs of erectile dysfunction.

When we are hydrated, it supports loads of bodily functions. It affects everything from mental function to sex performance. Both of those are biggies!

The best way I have found in making sure I get enough hydration is to chart my water intake daily for an entire week. All I do is make sure I know how many ounces my glass holds, then keep a tally of the amount of refills I get per day. By doing this for a week, I was able to monitor and establish my routines. The goal is to get half of your weight/pounds, in ounces daily. So if you weigh 150 pounds, drink 75 ounces of water daily.

When I kept track of my hydration this way, I discovered I was getting enough water throughout the day, BUT I was doing it exclusively during PM hours. My habit had been to drink coffee in the morning, get a slug of water while I took my supplements, then waiting until lunch to drink water. That’s not good either. Our bodies crave a lot of water in the morning, to cleanse and replenish after sleeping.

“Hydration is essential to overall health, which means they have been drinking less than optimal for a long period of time. When this occurs, you need to slowly rehydrate, as your body has been in survival mode, adjusted to not consuming enough water. In addition, as you drink more, you will go to the bathroom more. This will pass with time as your body becomes more hydrated.”

Michael Schreiber, D.C., board certified rehabilitation specialist.

What Are The Top 3 Signs I Am Dehydrated?

Let’s start with the one that caught your attention in the title:

The Pee Test

Don’t freak out! Get rid of the mental pictures of holding a cup to catch the stream of pee. No dirty drips needed. Looking at my pee is my top signs I am dehydrated. This method is done at the end of your trip to the toilet. Just look in the bowl to see the color of your pee. It doesn’t matter that the pee is diluted in the toilet water. This is a very great measuring method of hydration.

Have you ever noticed how the pee color varies from day to day? It can even change from one hour to another. So the big question is what color is the best? This handy graphic from Healthline.com is a wonderful way to understand what we are looking for regarding dehydration.

As you see here, the color of Light Beer is the target color. If you don’t drink beer, and aren’t familiar with the color, think of sparkling apple cider. Darker colors mean you need to get drinkin’. Lighter colors mean you can take a break from water for an hour. Believe it or not – it IS possible to overhydrate.

One additional note about the pee test: Vitamin B supplements can affect the color of pee. I take Vitamin B each morning, so my pee is a vibrant yellow afterwards. Later in the day, my pee color goes back to natural colors, and I can observe it to measure hydration again. Here is the typical way pee looks after a Vitamin B supplement.

The Skin Test

The skin is another of the signs I am dehydrated. Here, we are looking at the elasticity of your skin. This is formally known as Skin Turgor, which is another great way to check for dehydration. If you are dehydrated, you may have poor skin turgor.

If you pinch the skin on your arm, abdomen, or the top of your hand, it typically springs back into place after 1-2 seconds. Skin loses some of its elasticity in the aging process. So it may take 20 seconds for an older person’s skin to return to normal. Keep that in mind if you are using this test on a person 65 years and older. In fact, this test is only moderately accurate when used on older people.

My best way to perform the Skin Test is to pinch the skin on the back/top of my hand. Yes, I am nearing 65(ish), so my skin takes about 3 seconds to spring back.

Note-the vet has performed this test on our dogs too. He has pinched the skin between the shoulder blades or on the head.


If I feel tired, but can’t figure out why, it could be one of the signs I am dehydrated. It is possible that a dose of water will help perk you up. There is a step-by-step progression that happens in the Exhaustion/Dehydration cycle:

  1. the blood pressure drops
  2. circulation and blood flow to the brain happens
  3. sleepiness is evident
  4. blood fluid volume is reduced
  5. the heart has to work harder to do its job
  6. exhaustion because nutrients, oxygen, fluids aren’t circulating as well
  7. muscle weakness and cramps begin (remember that your heart is a muscle)

Let’s look at the other side of this exhaustion pattern. Poor sleep happens when the body is dehydrated. Muscle spasms can happen more frequently when you sleep in a dehydrated state. Nasal passages dry out, causing more snoring, which also impacts the quality of sleep.

Exhaustion/Sleep are also in a Yin-Yan relationship. If you have poor sleep, it increases the chances of being dehydrated, which makes fatigues even more likely. Getting a poor sleep inhibits the hydration hormone, called Vasopressin. When you are low in Vasopressin, you may develop dehydration, which affects exhaustion.

It’s like the dog chasing his tail. Round and round goes the cycle of exhaustion/dehydration.

So I sum this test up with a simple statement:

If you are tired, drink more water.

Mindful Hydration Practice

Mindfulness is the act of becoming awake and aware of what is happening outside and inside yourself. It is the opposite of multi-tasking. Yes, we all multi-task a lot in this busy world. So it is a big important thing to be able to shut that off for a bit of time each day.

Mindful Hydration is a 90 second action that was developed by Bill Howatt, President of Howatt HR Consulting and Darren Steeves, Professional Exercise Physioligist.

To set yourself up for the activity, self-evaluate your surroundings. Consider your hydration levels and stress levels. Have a water vessel nearby throughout the exercise….this is your anchor during the activity. This vessel could be a water bottle, sports flask, or drinking glass.

Here are the steps for Mindful Hydration:

  1. Find a quiet, peaceful place, without distractions. Keep your filled vessel with you and sit in a comfortable position. Once you are settled, take three deep breaths. Exhale slowly after each breath. Place your hand on your water vessel after your third breath.
  2. Now become mindful of the water you are holding. Appreciate your calm, peaceful emotions. Free your mind of thoughts, allowing yourself to recognize this present moment of “now”. Acknowledge that it is OK to have difficulty to clear your mind. This is normal. Refocus when your mind drifts.

Steps 1 and 2 take about 30 seconds.

3. NOW is the step of Mindful Hydration. Take a mouthful of water, letting it flow down your throat slowly. Take a deep breath, exhale slowly. Take another mouthful of water, deep breath, exhale. Repeat. Pay attention to the water, appreciate this peaceful moment of “NOW”. If your mind drifts off this practice, simply shift back to the water. This step can take about 60 seconds.

Practice Mindful Hydration every day for six weeks. After this period of six weeks, you may recognize a significant positive change in your physical and mental health. I bet you will also notice improvement in your hydration levels. The payoff comes when you can say, “I don’t see signs I am dehydrated”. YES!

 β€œThey both listened silently to the water, which to them was not just water, but the voice of life, the voice of Being, the voice of perpetual Becoming.”― Hermann Hesse

Water truly IS a voice of life. Our bodies need water to keep every system functioning. Our minds are refilled with the awareness of flowing water. Our hearts are cleansed with the representation of water showing God’s purification of our hearts.

Enjoy your healthy life!

Pam Schmidt

Chemical Minimalist

Mindfulness Mentor


P.S. Snag a private consultation with me to get clear on your next steps toward your Chemical Minimalist, happy, healthy life!

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