And yet, for something so essential, there's so much stuff that gets in the way of staying adequately hydrated. (It doesn't taste good! I can't remember! I'll have to pee every 20 minutes!)
Now it's time to swallow all of those excuses. Here, nutrition experts share how they stay on top of their daily drinking quota—and how you can do the same.
Add flavor the right way
You've heard the advice to add fresh herbs or lemon slices to make your water more delicious, oh, about a million times. But there are a few tricks to doing it right: Muddling your herbs with a wooden spoon unlocks their flavor, so they add more oomph to your aqua, says dietitian Rebecca Lewis. Stirring in some lemon or orange wheels? "Unpeeled citrus lends a bitter taste. So if you're planning to make a big batch to last all day, peel off the skin before adding the fruit to your water," she says.
Turn your water bottle into a timer
Mark lines on your water bottle so that you know exactly how much you should have sipped by different points throughout the day, suggests dietitian Rachel Link. For instance, have a mark that says you're a quarter of the way done by 9 am, halfway done at noon, and three-quarters of the way done by 3pm.
Turn transitions into triggers
If you have trouble remembering to drink enough, get into the habit of sipping whenever you switch from one activity to the next. "For instance, finish your water bottle before you get out of the car to go to work, or don't leave for lunch without finishing the glass of water on your desk," says nutritionist Tara Coleman.
Sip, don't gulp
Chugging a huge glass of water all at once helps you get it out of the way faster. But that sloshy, bloated feeling that comes with it might be enough to deter you from drinking altogether. Instead of forcing yourself to down a ton of water all at once, take small sips all day long. You won't just feel better—it's actually better for you, says Andrew McMarlin, founder of Winning Health and Wellness. "Water absorbs better when you sip gradually and stay ahead of the curve, instead of when you wait until you're thirsty and gulp," he says.
Use an app
You rely on them for everything from getting a taxi home to tracking your monthly cycle. So why not for drinking water? Free hydration apps like Waterlogged make it easy to know exactly how many glasses you've downed throughout the day, says Edwina Clark, head of nutrition and wellness at Yummly. And if you need a nudge, you can use the app to set reminders, too.
Drink before dinner (and lunch, and breakfast)
Get into the habit of drinking a glass of water every time you sit down to eat, recommends dietitian Sarah Harris. It's an easy way to remember to drink up, and the water in your belly will curb your appetite and help you eat a little bit less.
Find your happy temperature
Sure, drinking ice water might theoretically burn a few extra calories, compared with room-temperature water. But it's not enough to make a meaningful difference, says Alexa McDonald, owner of Expert Nutrition & Wellness. So if you don't enjoy drinking ice-cold liquid, don't force yourself to do it. "Find the temperature that appeals to you most," McDonald says. Whether it's freezing cold, room temperature, or slightly warm, you'll be more motivated to drink if your water is at a temperature you actually like.