I’m not sure about you, but I’ve always struggled to find a way to drink enough water during the day. I’m supposed to drink more water since I’m breastfeeding but found I was even worse now – what with mummy brain, being exhausted, and having a bub that keeps me occupied at all hours of the day and night. And even though the breastfeeding leaves me parched and I take a drink bottle everywhere I go, I still forget to take enough sips to get the recommended daily +2.5L to keep me adequately hydrated. That means I end up with a headache by the afternoon, and my skin sports all the becoming telltale signs of dehydration – sallow skin and flakey hands.
After a postpartum checkup where my doctor reminded me again of the importance of a good diet, exercise and water intake, then a mishap while loading the car that led to a broken drink bottle lid, I spent some time online looking for a bottle that not only housed my water but would somehow (perhaps magically?) encourage or at least remind me to drink more throughout the day. What I discovered instead was a nifty device called Ulla.
Ulla is a clever little gadget that sits on your water bottle and reminds you to drink water by lighting up if your water bottle has been stagnant for over 30min. It’s got a motion sensor so it knows whenever you’ve taken a sip (fast flashes means it’s time to drink while one slow blink of the light indicates Ulla has detected your bottle’s movement).
When I first came across it I was sceptical, but curiosity (coupled with my addiction to late-night online shopping and the desperation for a solution to my poor water-drinking efforts) got the better of me. I made use of the 10% discount the website offers to all new visitors and ordered one (it goes for US$24.95 at the time of writing). It ships from Slovenia and arrived in just under two weeks.
It comes in a small box with an instruction booklet, a silicon ring that goes around your drink bottle and the Ulla, which clips onto the ring. This two-piece system makes it easy to take the Ulla off when the time comes to wash your bottle because while the Ulla is splash resistant, it’s not fully water resistant and wouldn’t survive a dunk in the sink or a session in the dishwasher.
The battery boasts a 2 month life span so it’s not another electronic device to add to the multitude that require charging every day (thank God). It has a sensor that deactivates the light when it’s dark (i.e. night time) because no one wants a flashing light disturbing their sleep. The reminder deactivates if the bottle stays still after two rounds (so if you leave it at the office and the lights stay on through the night, it still conserves battery power). It powers on again when it detects motion in the room.
I wanted to try it for a while to see whether or not Ulla really changed my drinking habits. When I’m at home, my bottle is almost always on the shelf next to my bed or nursing chair, or on the kitchen bench. Now, so long as my water bottle is visible, Ulla flashes and I get my signal to drink. There’s no need to install an app, and no way for the reminder to be drowned out amidst the dozens of other notifications on my phone. It’s just a simple flashing light that’s attached to my bottle so I can take action immediately. It’s actually so simple it’s ridiculous.
And it works. It reminds me to drink while I’m feeding Mr Z. It reminds me to drink when I’m eating lunch at lightning speed. In the time it’s taken me to write prep article, it’s flashed and I’ve taken a drink and refilled my bottle.
I’ve gone from havin barely finished a 700ml bottle by dinner time, to refilling it 3-4 times a day.
Admittedly, the Ulla isn’t effective at reminding me on days when I’m out and my water bottle is sitting in my bag or the cup holder of the pram. But it is definitely building my habit of drinking more, and more often. It’s been over a week now, and even if my bottle is in another room, my 4-year-old knows what the flashing light means so comes running if he sees it blinking and reminds me to drink water (the great thing is he now drinks more too).
I wish I’d discovered it sooner, because it would’ve been a perfect companion on my work desk. A subtle but regular reminder to stay hydrated. And now I also wish I’d bought a whole bunch of them, because they’d make awesome Christmas presents.
Have you had enough water today? Do you have secret to staying hydrated, or do you need an Ulla too?
Use this link to get $5 discount if you want to purchase an Ulla too (n.b. it gives me $5 off my next one too).