Do you drink enough water? You may be surprised but believe it or not, more people suffer from dehydration during the winter months than the summer months!
During the summer, it’s hot. We sweat. Our body responds. We get thirsty. We drink water.
During the winter, when it’s cold, we don’t feel as thirsty and we don’t drink enough water. Our thirst response may be reduced by up to 40%! Therefore we don’t drink as much as we should.
Water is Always Leaving Our Body
Every exhaled breath is moisture leaving your body. You know that ‘smoke’ you see as your breath leaves your nose and mouth during a cold winter day? That’s condensation. Water leaving your body. Regardless of the season.
Dry humidity during the winter pulls moisture from your body. When the furnace / heater is running inside the home, workplace, and all indoor spaces, the humidity levels drop. It can get VERY DRY inside without a humidifier putting moisture back into the air. Your skin becomes very dry as moisture escapes your body.
This is the humidifier model that I use in my own house:
Whole-House Console-Style Evaporative Humidifier
Outdoor winter activities like shoveling (and other exertion) rapidly draws out moisture. The harder we work (just as during the summer) the more moisture leaves our body. The catch though is that we don’t feel thirsty as much during the winter.
Those extra layers of winter clothes make the body work harder, producing more sweat, and more fluid loss. I’ve read that your body may work 10% and up to 40% harder with a full load of winter gear on…
Why Don’t We Feel As Thirsty During the Winter?
Because when it’s cold, when we’re cold, our blood vessels constrict. The body then tries to conserve heat by drawing more blood to it’s core. This results in less blood flow to the extremities while the body works to protect it’s vital organs. You know the ‘cold hands’ feeling, right?
The issue is that the body is fooled into thinking that it’s properly hydrated!
People are less likely to drink water during cold weather.
What can happen if we don’t drink enough water?
We become dehydrated.
Up to 75% of our body weight is made up of water.
Just a few percent drop in hydration will cause fuzzy short-term memory.
Other symptoms include:
– Dry, sticky mouth
– Sleepiness or tiredness
– Decreased urine output
– Darker Colored Urine
– Fatigue, weakness, aches
– Dizziness or lightheadedness
– Dry skin
I have read that 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated, and the lack of hydration is the number one trigger of daytime fatigue.
For more information:
Dehydration – More Common Than You Think
Drink Enough Water
What can we do about it? Force yourself to drink more water regularly throughout the day!
You may not necessarily feel thirsty, but after you adequately hydrate yourself, chances are that you will ‘feel’ it. You’ll feel better. Sharpness will return. Your body will thank you.
All liquids that you may drink throughout the day will help you stay hydrated. Water is usually the best choice. It’s free! And water has no sugar or calories.
Most healthy people can get enough fluid through the beverages they consume every day. These can include water, fruit juices, coffee, sodas, iced tea, and other drinks. You also get water through food. Some fruits and vegetables contain a lot of water.
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine determined that an adequate daily fluid intake is:
About 15.5 cups of fluids for men
About 11.5 cups of fluids a day for women
These recommendations cover fluids from water, other beverages and food. About 20 percent of daily fluid intake usually comes from food and the rest from drinks.
The Mayo Clinic says, You’ve probably heard the advice, “Drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day.” That’s easy to remember, and it’s a reasonable goal.
Most healthy people can stay hydrated by drinking water and other fluids whenever they feel thirsty. For some people, fewer than eight glasses a day might be enough. But other people might need more.