We all know what happens when you don't drink enough water when you're lost the desert or floating out to sea on a lifeboat: slow, agonizing death. But you don't have to find yourself in a life-threatening predicament to experience dehydration every now and then. In fact, why don't you grab a glass of water right now before settling in to read? I'll wait.
I don't know about you, but drinking enough water somehow ends up pretty low on my list of daily priorities. If I'm being honest, it's somewhere between "think about the Harry Potter epilogue" and "fantasize about what I'll be eating for dinner tonight." But while you might be inclined to forget about it sometimes, the human body loses water each day through sweat, urine, and even breath. Given that your body is up to 60 percent water, it's important to make up for that loss by drinking liquids regularly. (Most experts recommend adults drink between six and eight eight-ounce glasses of fluid each day, although it depends on health, climate, and amount of exercise.) In the end, staying hydrated can maintain brain function, keep your bowel movements regular, and, perhaps most importantly, prevent hangovers from ruining your Sunday morning brunch.
Dehydration, on the other hand, can cause all kinds of short- and long-term problems. Read on for the gory details.