We often hear about the importance of staying hydrated and the health benefits of drinking plenty of water. However, there’s a lesser-known side to this hydration story—drinking too much water can actually be harmful to your health. While it’s relatively rare, overhydration can lead to a condition known as water intoxication or hyponatremia. Let’s take a closer look.
Hyponatremia occurs when the sodium levels in your blood become abnormally low, often caused by drinking excessive amounts of water. Sodium is an essential electrolyte that helps regulate water balance in and around cells. When you consume too much water, the sodium in your body becomes diluted. This imbalance disrupts the normal cellular processes and can lead to health issues.
How Much Water is Too Much?
There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to how much water you should drink, as it depends on individual factors like your health, activity level, and the climate you live in. A commonly cited guideline is the “8×8 rule”—eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day—but even this is oversimplified. That’s why the most important thing to do is to listen to your body and drink when you’re thirsty.