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When it comes to health, the assumption is you can never get too much of a good thing — or can you? If a little is good, a lot must be great.
But having too much water, caffeine, exercise, and sleep can potentially have harmful impacts on your health.
Are you drinking too much water?
Our bodies are made up of roughly 60 percent of water. It’s crucial to our daily health. Drinking plenty of water helps your body regulate body temperature, flush waste products out of the body, prevent constipation, and has a whole host of other vital functions.
However, over-hydration, also known as water intoxication or water poisoning, is when there is too much water in your body, enough to cause an abnormal balance of electrolytes in your system.
How can you tell if you're drinking too much water?
- You drink water even when you're not thirsty
- You continuously drink water until your urine is clear
- You feel nauseous and may experience vomiting
- You notice swelling or discoloration in your hands, lips, and feet
Constantly fueling your body with water can cause hyponatremia, or low sodium levels in your blood, which can cause the body’s cells to swell. This throws the balance off between water and sodium in your blood.
Your urine is a key indicator if you’re getting the proper amount of fluids in your system. If you're drinking a healthy amount of water, the color of your urine should be straw-colored to transparent yellow.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the right amount for men is roughly about 13 cups of total beverages a day; for women, about 9 cups of total beverages a day. All fluids count for the total.
Are you drinking too much coffee?
If you rely on caffeine to wake you up and keep you going, you are not alone. Millions of people use caffeine to help wake up, avoid fatigue, and improve concentration.
According to the Mayo Clinic, up to 400 milligrams of caffeine a day appears to be safe for most healthy adults. That’s equal to almost four cup of regular brew a day, or 10 cans of soda or two "energy shot" drinks. Time to cut back if you're drinking more than four cups of caffeinated coffee a day (or the equivalent) and experiencing side effects such as:
- Migraine headache
- Frequent urination or inability to control urination
- Fast heartbeat
Although caffeine use may be safe for adults, it's not a good idea for children. Adolescents should limit caffeine consumption.
Avoid mixing caffeine with other substances, such as alcohol.
To help curb an excess caffeine habit:
- Keep tabs. Start paying attention to how much caffeine you're getting from foods and beverages, including energy drinks. Read labels carefully.
- Cut back gradually. For example, drink one fewer can of soda or drink a smaller cup of coffee each day.
- Go decaf. Most decaffeinated beverages look and taste the same as their caffeinated counterparts.
Are you sleeping too much?
We often hear about the risks associated with too little sleep, but on the other side of the coin, sleeping too much also has health impacts. According to the National Sleep Foundation, they recommend somewhere in the range of seven to nine hours is normal and healthy for most adults between 18 and 64 years of age. Several trends and studies have linked oversleeping with higher rates of mortality and disease as well as things like depression.
Research links longer sleep habits with:
- Cognitive impairment
- Increased inflammation
- Higher risk of obesity
- Higher risk of diabetes
- Higher risk of heart disease
It appears that any significant deviation from normal sleep patterns can upset the body's rhythms and increase daytime fatigue.
Are you exercising too much?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the current exercise guidelines for adults recommend at least 150 minutes per week of moderate physical activity,or 75 minutes per week of vigorous physical activity. If you're doing high intensity interval exercises, it's not recommended to do them more than three times a week.
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6 signs you need to cut back or let your body rest:
- Exercise leaves you exhausted instead of energized.
- Mood changes.
- Depression, anger, confusion, anxiety and irritability are common when your body is over-stressed physically.
- Weakened immune system: it takes forever to get over a cold
- Insomnia. You're unable to sleep or you can't seem to get enough sleep
- Delayed recovery time. Persistent muscle soreness that lasts for hours or days after your workout is a sure sign you need more rest
As a general goal, aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day.