How to Know if You're Properly Hydrated - Thyme Is Honey

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How to Know if You Are Properly Hydrated: the best indicator of hydration is probably not what you thought it was! by Thyme is Honey

So you wanna get hydrated, but how will you know when you finally “arrive” at hydration station?!

For a long time the general rule was that if your pee is clear, you’re hydrated. But this rule is actually a poor indicator of proper hydration. For starters, if you’re taking in plenty of fluid — even unhealthy or sugary fluid — your urine will be diluted enough to have little or no color. This does not indicate that you are properly hydrated

Eating nutrient-dense foods like beets, carrots, berries, and certain types of beans can actually cause your urine to turn all sorts of interesting colors from orange to pink or even green! This is actually a good thing, not a bad thing, and can skew your perception of “hydration” if you’re basing it on that old-school rule of “clear urine”.

Additionally, clear urine can actually be a sign that you are potentially over-hydrating, which can mean you are flushing your system unnecessarily and making it difficult for your body to absorb the nutrients you’re eating.


So, let’s toss that old urine rule out the window, shall we? There’s a better way to tell if you’re properly hydrated and, not surprisingly, it also has to do with your urine. It goes like this:

A person who is properly hydrated should urinate at least every 2.5-3 hours, with a steady stream lasting at least 15-25 seconds.

And, if you are also consuming a nutrient-dense diet, that urine will likely have a bit of color to it. It should be light yellow, like a slightly watered-down lemonade (although as mentioned previously, certain foods, vitamins, and supplements could cause different hues!).


And while the frequency and duration of your bathroom breaks are an excellent way to tell if you’re hydrated and taking in enough fluids, paying attention to improvements in your cognitive function and mood state is the best way to determine if the water you’re consuming is being absorbed.

And this brings us to another “wive’s tale” about hydration: you’ll know you need to drink water when you feel thirsty. The truth is, if your brain is signaling thirst, you are already suffering some of the side effects of mild dehydration. The first signs are brain fog, fatigue, and slow thinking.

If you are hydrating properly, your entire fascial system will be soaked with water, allowing your brain’s messages to transmit faster (water transmits electricity and our brain’s message are electric signals!), your cellular waste to be cleared out more quickly, and all of your joints and tissues to be operating effectively thanks to proper lubrication. While I have a long list of signs of dehydration, I also want to provide you with a list of signs of proper hydration:

  • Quick thinking and ability to comprehend complex information or problems
  • Fast reaction times
  • Ability to control moods and emotional responses
  • Ability to concentrate for at least 25-30 minutes at a time
  • Ample energy and motivation

It’s entirely possible to drink plenty of water and be physically hydrated, but not be absorbing enough of that hydration to experience the cognitive benefits listed above. To learn more about how to hydrate properly check out my post about Optimum Hydration.


You might find that you pee significantly more than that, which is also perfectly normal, but understandably some people feel that this is a nuisance, which it certainly can be depending on your profession and schedule! However, here are a few additional things to keep in mind:

  1. We are meant to do focused work in blocks of no more than 25 or 30 minutes. So if needing to use the bathroom feels like a disruption to your work, remind yourself of that and try the Pomodoro Technique (25 minutes of highly-focused work followed by a 5-minute break. Try the FocusKeeper app, I love it!).
  2. We are not meant to be sedentary. We need to get up and move regularly. It is vital to our health, and ensuring that you get up to move at least every hour is one of the most impactful changes we can have on our long-term health. Consider being properly hydrated as a built-in way to ensure you’re never sedentary for too long — cuz you’ll hafta pee!
  3. Learn how to “front and backload” your hydration. This is great if you’re in a profession that makes frequent bathroom breaks hard (like a teacher, doctor, or truck driver). This method requires drinking more water at the beginning and ends of your shift and using deeply-absorbing beverages such as my Hydration Potion to help your body retain your hydration longer.
  4. Consider that your frequent urination could be a sign of anxiety. Frequent urination can be a sign of several health concerns, including kidney issues, but it can also be a side effect of anxiety. Even mild anxiety, stress, or tension can cause us to tense our muscles which can put pressure on our bladder and result in a subtle but persistent feeling of needing to urinate. Something to consider!

It’s also important to note that hydration isn’t about how many ounces of water you guzzle, it’s about how much water your body absorbs. If you feel like you urinate too frequently, it could be because you are consuming plenty of fluid, but not absorbing it into your body. Proper absorption of water requires a combination of water, fiber, and electrolytes along with movement to help the hydration disperse throughout all the tissue in your body. To learn more about this see my post about Optimum Hydration or check The Hydration Checklist, my 14-day online course that will help you start hydrating properly!

How to Know if You’re Properly Hydrated

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