Health Digest Survey Reveals A Surprising Number Of People Drink 4 Glasses Of Water Or Less Each Day

If you drink the recommended eight glasses of water per day, congratulations: You're one of the few. In a new survey, Health Digest found that only 20.3 percent of people were sipping eight glasses of water per day, while others admitted to being far under most expert recommendations.

The Health Digest survey of 527 Americans found that 37.19 percent of people are drinking four or less glasses of water on a daily basis — that's less than half of the typical recommendation of eight glasses of water daily. Of course, eight glasses per day isn't the perfect amount for everyone. Other factors, like weather, exercise, and overall health are factors in determining how much water you should be drinking to stay at optimum hydration levels. But eight glasses is a good place to start (via the Mayo Clinic). 

Longterm, or chronic, dehydration looks different than the acute dehydration that would occur if you were to, for example, run a marathon without drinking anything. Chronic dehydration symptoms can include constipation, dry skin, regular headaches, fatigue, and even a feeling of muscle weakness. Acute dehydration, on the other hand, will have symptoms like extreme thirst, dark urine, and confusion (via Healthline). Someone who drinks only a couple of glasses of water per day may be at risk of falling into the chronic dehydration category.

How much water should you drink?

Drinking enough water is critical for your body, which is itself made up of 60 percent water. Water keeps us alive, and is critical for having good digestion, making blood flow optimally in the body, improving skin health, preventing kidney damage, and lubricating joints (via the Cleveland Clinic). 

Not sure if you're drinking enough? Check your pee. "If it's almost the color of water, you're right on track. But if your urine is bright yellow or has a strong odor, then you could probably use more fluids," preventive medicine specialist Roxanne Sukol, MD, told the Cleveland Clinic. 

Drinking throughout the day when thirsty, rather than just chugging a glass of water with each meal or all at once, is a good way to stay at optimal hydration status. Drink before and after exercise, and sip water during a workout if you're exercising intensely or for an extended period of time (via WebMD).