The 5 Best iOS and Apple Watch Apps to Stay Hydrated

We all know how important it is to stay hydrated. If you don’t drink enough, you can get tired, foggy, and your work may suffer. Here are 5 apps that can help ensure that you drink enough during the day.

Actually, that’s not what I’m going to tell you. The headline and lede are both clickbait. Why? Because you don’t need an app, or a smart water bottle, to stay “hydrated.” You just need to drink when you’re thirsty.

I’ve long been annoyed by this idea, that somehow there is a magic amount of water you need every day. It doesn’t matter your age, your activity, or your body weight, but you have to drink 8 glasses of 8 ounces each (if you’re in the US), or, in France, where I used to live, you have to drink 1.5 liters of water each day. (Coincidentally the size of most bottles of mineral water sold in the country.) These recommendations don’t take into account your activity, the temperature and humidity where you live, and other variables, such as how much water is in the food you eat.

Also, drinking too much water an be unhealthy; it lowers electrolytes, notably sodium, and in extreme cases can cause death.

I’m reminded of this today because of an article in The Guardian: The truth about hydration: should you drink eight glasses of water a day? They’re headline is a bit click-baity too, because asking a question in a headline gets you better Google search results.

Drink when you’re thirsty. Unless you have a medical condition, or you are taking specific medication, you don’t need to do anything else. Yes, the elderly need reminding, because they don’t notice thirst in the same way, but I doubt that many elderly people have bought smart water bottles that sync with their iPhones.

Also, tea, coffee, and beer don’t dehydrate you. As the article says:

In 2016, Galloway tested the hydrating potential of a range of drinks and found a litre of beer was no less hydrating than a litre of water. Similarly, a litre of instant coffee, containing 212mg of caffeine, was as hydrating as water.

We all have trouble dealing with the myriad health recommendations we get, but some of them just make no sense. And with this one, it’s hard to do the research; there are so many sites that repeat this useless information, and, in particular, lots of businesses wanting you to think that you need more water than you do, so they can sell you bottled water or Bluetooth water bottles.