April 16, 2019 at 07:00AM by CWC
If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the four years I’ve spent writing for Well+Good, it’s that drinking water is mad important—maybe even the most important thing you can do for your health. CBD oil and adaptogens are cool and all, but unlike water, they’re generally not essential to human life. And yet hydration is the one habit that I’ve never managed to master, despite the fact that I really should know better by now.
Most days, the majority of my fluid intake comes from coffee. If I drink more than a few sips of water to take my supplements in the morning and at night, I consider it a victory. The thing is, I’m rarely thirsty—I feel deeply seen by the desert-dwelling kangaroo rat, who drinks zero water but eats so many carbs it doesn’t even matter—and as such, I just never think to carry a water bottle around or pour myself a glass while I’m at home. Not drinking water is so engrained in my DNA that no hydration hack has ever managed to break it.
So when I got an email about a new, free hydration app called Pee & See, I was intrigued. It records how often you take a leak—which some experts say is the best way to gauge how hydrated you are—and if it’s been three hours or more since your last pee, it reminds you to drink a glass of water. I liked this better than being told that I need to drink a certain number of ounces of water per day, since I generally avoid doing too many things that involve math. I also didn’t have to overthink whether, say, my cold brew or kombucha counts as water. Using this method, if it’s liquid and it makes you pee, you’re, um, golden.
With that, I downloaded the app and decided to give it a spin for a week. The dashboard is really simple: Every time you take a bathroom break, you can choose to either hit a yellow button that says “log pee” or a white button to “log an old pee”—you know, if you forget to go into the app right after you finish washing your hands. You an also set “quiet hours” so the app notifications won’t disturb you while, say, you’re sleeping or on a date. (Because nothing kills a mood quite like seeing “5 hours since last pee” pop up on your crush’s phone screen, right?)
I became aware of exactly where my blind spots were, and I headed into the next day determined to do better and pee more often.
For the first half of day one, I was on a hot streak—peeing every two to three hours, thanks to the big glass of iced coffee I was sipping on throughout the a.m. But then everything fell apart after lunch. I went for a long hike and didn’t bring a water bottle, so despite the fact that I chugged a glass and a half of water once I got home, I still didn’t pee again until almost 10 pm. NINE HOURS went by between pees. I was getting app notifications every half hour—accompanied by a running-water sound, which you can thankfully turn off—but forgot that the notification meant I was supposed to drink water, so…I didn’t.
You might look at this as a miserable failure, but I didn’t see it that way. I never really thought about the fact that my water consumption completely crashes and burns in the afternoon and evening, but the graph on the app dashboard made it super clear. I became aware of exactly where my blind spots were, and I headed into the next day determined to do better and pee more often.
And just like that, everything clicked. For the rest of the week, I made sure to have a glass of water by my side until bedtime. While I’ve tried this tactic before with no success, the app tapped into my overachieving tendencies: I started getting a little dopamine rush every time I logged a pee before within three hours, and that’s what kept me going. I still wasn’t peeing as frequently in the p.m. hours as in the mornings, but I know it was working because I felt so different. Everything looked sharper and brighter, and I had an excessive amount of mental and physical energy going into the evenings. Before this experiment, I hadn’t thought my water aversion was impacting my life all that much—I always thought I felt good before, albeit easily fatigued. (Who isn’t these days?) But if this is what it’s like to be properly hydrated? Then you’ll have to excuse me, because I’m off to DIY a cute water-bottle carrier like the one Amber had in the Clueless gym class scene. (Made for a reusable bottle, of course.)
Clearly, you can see I’ve become obsessed with hydration, as everyone should be. Yet old habits die hard, and that’s why I’m going to keep using the Pee & See app for the foreseeable future. It’s such a simple concept it’s almost silly, but the simplicity of it was exactly why it worked so well for me. In fact, I can say it’s now officially my number-one hydration hack.
Staying hydrated isn’t just about how much you drink—you can also up your water intake by eating these fruits. But if H2O is your jam, take some knowledge to the next level with tips from a water sommelier.