Can Drinking Water Boost Energy?

I get asked all the time what I do to stay off meds for narcolepsy and cataplexy while also reducing symptoms. I often ask, “How much water are you drinking?”

Then I wait for it. The eye rolls, confusion, or sometimes downright anger. I totally understand those responses. Here is the thing. I am actually giving an answer. Or at least trying to.

My cataplexy attacks were severe

When I first started experiencing cataplexy symptoms suddenly, at 30 years old, my doctor thought I was having seizures or possibly had a brain tumor. My cataplexy attacks were really severe. Of course, everyone wanted to offer solutions. It frustrated me a lot. I felt unheard because people thought simple things could fix me. I kept saying that whatever was wrong with me, was so much bigger than something as simple as diet change.

So why is it that I am now asking if people are drinking water when they come to me desperate for help?

Starting with simple daily habits

Because I learned the power of daily habits. Water won’t fix me, but if I don’t drink it, I am going to have major issues. Nobody can survive long without water. Starting at step 1 or at least making sure step 1 is done, is kinda important.

Simple daily habits have been huge in reducing a lot of my narcolepsy symptoms. Water is a great place to start if you haven’t already developed a habit of drinking it. Your body clearly tells you when you need it, it’s cheap, and remembering to drink it requires strategy sometimes. Developing a habit of drinking water will start building skills to develop other habits – habits that are much harder.

Tips to stay hydrated

I never assume people are drinking water because I still remember when I started working on my water intake. It was actually before I got narcolepsy. I was 24 and pregnant. I had never developed the habit myself, and frankly had no idea all the problems I was having due to dehydration. But I was pregnant and struggling so I took on the challenge.

For the first few months when I drank a cup of water, I got nauseous. Then I started experiencing a horrible metallic taste in my mouth. Both of these made me want to give up but I knew how important it was. Some days the taste of water made me cringe. Actually, sometimes now, I need to change it up a bit. Some of the things I do to make water more palatable when I am sick of it:

  • Add apple juice
  • Add a healthy electrolyte like Ultima
  • Add a few drops of essential oils like lemon, orange, or lime
  • Have soda water occasionally instead

Seeing and feeling the results

As I drank more and more, I started feeling better. My dry skin softened. My digestive tract got a bit better, and I just felt better. Fast forward a decade. Drinking water daily was something I had down. But now I had narcolepsy. I decided to pay attention to how water could impact narcolepsy symptoms, specifically excessive daytime sleepiness.

Levesl of excessive daytime sleepiness

In my experience, there are several levels of excessive daytime sleepiness. I can be anywhere from mildly drowsy to sleeping while standing. Yes, sometimes, nothing will fix me other than a nap. But a lot of times, I can rouse myself with some cool water. I particularly notice this in the morning. If I feel like taking a nap in the morning, it’s often because I haven’t been drinking any water.

A tool, not a cure-all

Water alone won’t solve all my narcolepsy problems, but without it daily, I have nothing. So if you are looking for ways to help your symptoms, start with step 1. If you need to work on it, do so. If you have it down, fantastic.

What tools have you implemented to help you remember to drink water? Has this helped you develop habits that are more challenging to accomplish?

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