This Is How Much Water You Should Actually Drink Each Day

*Runs to the nearest water fountain.*

how much water should i drink
(Image credit: Design by Kevin Peralta)

We've all heard different numbers for how much water we should *really* be chugging every day. Sometimes two glasses is an accomplishment, while other times you see people aiming for 100 oz in 24 hours (holy bathroom breaks). But making sure that you get enough H2O is important to your health. According to nutritionist Ilyse Schapiro, MS, RD, CDN, staying hydrated is important for everything from filling you up so that you don't overeat to keeping  your muscles working property to helping your body energize to balancing your body fluids. (You get the idea.) Additionally, for those who aren't guzzling water, dehydration can cause headaches, dry skin, weakness, fatigue, dry mouth and hunger—AKA things that really aren't worth avoiding a bottle of water for. 

So to set the record straight, we asked Schapiro to share how much water we should be sipping each day, and to address some common misconceptions about H2O intake. (FYI you should probably get some water before reading. This is going to make you thirsty.) 

1. Eight glasses is great...for some people 

While the general Eight Glasses a Day mantra is a good starting point, how much water you really need can depend on a few different factors like age, weight, health, diet, and geography. As Schapiro says, "The heavier you are, the more water you probably need. If you live in a hot and humid climate are you need to increase your water intake. If you're a gym rat, you'll need to have more water than someone whose daily exercise is walking from the kitchen to the couch." See what we mean?

2. All glasses aren't created equal 

It's important to note that these eight glasses should be eight ounces each—those tiny paper cups at the water cooler don't count!

3. Other drinks don't count

While some drinks like teas, juices, and milk will hydrate you, water is still the ideal. Beverages like coffee, soda, and sugar-heavy 'ades definitely shouldn't count towards water consumption, Schapiro adds.  

4. It's very rare to be *too* hydrated

Those few horror stories that you hear of people dying from crashing sodium levels due to overhydration? Most likely not going to happen to you. "All day, every day, we are losing water," Schapiro says. "Just by breathing, going to the bathroom and sweating, water is wasted. So, it's extremely important to replace it and not skimp on it."

5. You've got this

A trick that Schapiro tells her clients in order to hit their ideal water consumption is to keep a water bottle on them at all times to drink throughout the day. She also advises to have a glass of water early in the morning, two glasses before lunch, and two glasses before dinner, to make sure that they at least hit five glasses a day, in addition to sipping all day long. As Schapiro points out, "the key is to not wait until you are thirsty, but hydrate consistently throughout the day."

We'll drink to that! 

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Alanna Greco

I'm a writer and editor based in New York City. I love a good coat, a well-articulated feminist rant, and face masking (yes, that’s a verb) like it’s nobody’s business.