Here’s Why You’ve Been Drinking Water the Wrong Way Your Whole Life

When it comes to drinking water, the so-called 8×8 rule, wherein you have to gulp down eight eight-ounce glasses of water a day, has long been a scared practice due to beliefs that it is the optimal amount to drink each day. But a new study carried out by scientists at the Monash University in Australia may shed light on how much we need to drink on a daily basis.

Based on the findings of the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, people should only drink water when they’re thirsty as they may experience drinking excess water challenging.


 “The new study suggests we should only drink when we are thirsty, after discovering a mechanism that makes drinking excess water challenging.”

To arrive at the conclusion, the team of researchers monitored participants who were asked to drink large amounts of water out of thirst versus rule-abiding discipline. The participants were then asked to rate how difficult it was to swallow water for every condition.

In contrast with drinking water out of thirst particularly just after exercise, it was discovered that participants found it three times harder to swallow water when they’re not thirsty.

To check the participants’ brain activities just before they took water in each experimental condition, the researchers subjected them to functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRi). Specific areas of the right prefrontal cortex of the brain displayed significantly higher activity when  participants exerted effort to swallow the water.

The researchers concluded that when it comes to water intake, it would be best to listen to our body’s needs.

“If we just do what our body demands us to we’ll probably get it right – just drink according to thirst rather than an elaborate schedule,” study co-author Michael Farrell said.

What are the effects of drinking too much water?

Overhydration or drinking too much water can cause a potentially deadly condition as it throws off balance between water and sodium in your blood.

Here are some of its effects:

  1. vomiting and nausea
  2. headache
  3. confusion or disorientation

More severe symptoms include:

  1. cramps, spasms, or muscle weakness
  2. unconsciousness
  3. seizures
  4. coma