We Don’t Drink Enough Water During The Winter

Drink enough water during winter

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
whole house 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 dehydration symptoms include:

– Dry, sticky mouth
– Sleepiness or tiredness
– Decreased urine output
– Darker Colored Urine
– Fatigue, weakness, aches
– Dizziness or light-headed
– Dry skin
– Headache
– Constipation

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.

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  1. Good day Everyone,
    Great topic Ken and very timely….
    Staying well hydrated is also an important factor in preventing kidney stones….
    Also hydration aids in flushing out toxins in all body systems
    A suggestion is keeping a large reusable water bottle (like a Nalgene or similar) with ounces/ml marked so you can see how much you are drinking each day, and even set a goal
    I like to make a tasty drink which is 1 part pineapple juice to 3 parts water with a bit of organic lemon yum yum….non-caffeinated herbal teas often have medicinal benefits and hydration benefits so drink up!

  2. Actually the caffeine in coffee and tea acts like a diuretic and will cause you to lose fluid.

  3. Alcohol the anti-water.
    Why do ya get a hangover? The Alcohol dehydrates the few brain cells I have left, and man ohhhhhh man if I don’t drink a butt load of water before I hit the hay, the hangover will be a killer.
    Sooooo if ya drink the “hard stuff” make sure you guzzle a LOT of water.

    As Peanut Gallery mentioned, Caffeine also is a nasty ‘drug’ that will make ya crazy-er. Personally I don’t drink Coffee, and only non-caffeinated Tea, even with that it seems the Herbal Tea’s dry me out some.

    Salty foods, Fatty foods, so-on and so-forth, seems like the more ya look, the more things mess ya up…. Do you drink a lot of fluids when you eat?

    A gallon of water a day… that’s a heck of a lot of water.

    1. PS;
      Why is it when you drink a Beer it seems like one only “rents” the beer for about 20 minutes?
      Ya-all know what I mean HAHAHAHA

      1. – NRP –
        That’s cuz all your body has to do is get rid of a few bubbles! LOLOLOL
        – Papa S.

          1. Livin’ in the Woods;
            No I have not, just took a look see, might need to give it a try, Thanks

    2. Which is more dangerous? Dehydration or the mad rage from caffeine withdrawals? 🤔

    3. People who drank too much the night before wake up with a hangover and are a lot smarter because they say “I’m not going to do that again”. What made them so smart? The alcohol; you see alcohol kills off the slower, weaker, dumber brain cells so the more you drink the more you kill them off. It is the survival of the fittest. That is why you are smarter the next morning when you say you’re not going to do that again. But then when you start getting bogged down and can’t figure things out anymore and so it is time to indulge to prune out those old brain cells. Keep doing this over and over and you will cull your crop of brain cells until you are absolutely a genius. I can attest to this by personal experience, after several drinks there isn’t anybody who knows more than I do, even on subjects I don’t know anything about.

      1. Old Chevy,

        Kool-Aid must have the same effect. Just as a bunch of drunks talking to each other make no sense and appear stupid to sober observers, liberals babble on and on about things they have no clue about and believe they are making perfect sense. Alcoholism and liberalism are both destructive diseases. Sadly, both are extremely hard to cure. Those suffering from either have a very tough time coming to grips with the fact they have a problem, and are self destructing and destroying those around them.

        1. A very shrewd observation; if I might add to it, just as alcohol can make that unattractive person at the end of the bar look attractive, so liberalism makes destructive ideologies look constructive. But I think we have strayed too far from the topic here, which I have read and actually have made some changes, drinking more water now.

          1. Doing penance now. Drinking a glass of water to dilute the coffee in my stomach.

      2. Sounds like my uncle when he drinks. Ohhh, he is also a self proclaimed Kung fu expert when he drinks as well. Which I find even funnier when I found out he has arthritis and can’t do one push-up and the only sit-up he does is when he gets out of bed or off the lazy boy.

  4. You slug down three cans of beer while one of your buddies slugs down three cans of water, you’ll find you both pee about the same amount.
    Water is a diuretic!

  5. I have a 32 oz insulated cup that I take to work. In the summer I will refill it 4 or 5 times in a day. Now that weather is colder I only drink 1 or 2 glasses. I have been noticing that my urine is darker and my kidneys are beginning to ache. Thanks for the reminder.

  6. I almost died from dehydration, just a few hours more and bye-bye…and I was not thirsty at all. I just felt tired and mentally confused. I went to the doctor…and when he first looked at me, coming into the examination room…he told the nurse to call the ambulance to get me to the hospital. Five people worked on me at the same time, pumping fluids into my via direct injection with hypodermics..and the I.V. bags. They said it was a very close thing. I had no idea…..and I was a first responder!

    1. I read about how many people are chronically dehydrated and they don’t even know it. Something like 75%.

      I do know that I too am susceptible (‘too busy’ to realize sometimes ;) ). During those times when I force myself to drink extra water I really do feel better. And it doesn’t take long afterwards to notice.

    2. WOW, crazy story. I have experienced severe dehydration at times due to sweating more than my body can absorb the water I drank. Such are the times during baling season. I am naturally a sweater. I sweat while working outside with temps in the single digits and teens at times while performing just general work, nothing too strenuous.

      1. INPrepper,
        That is an extreme event waiting to happen. to mitigate,You should be making your own dehydration formula and using it daily( to replace part of your water…. with that kind of loss.

        Ingredients: filtered water, potassium salt(no salt or nu salt), pink salt, cane sugar..amounts depends on amount of water. start with one quart.water. 2 teaspoons of sugar, and 1/8th of both salts. See if that helps and adjust recipe..to your needs../tastes. Can add something like powdered un sweet koolaid or 2 drops of essential lemon oil or swet orange oil for best flavor. salts should always be same amount of each.. to ensure balance. Body will keep what is needed and excrete rest.

        1. Any unsweetened flavor pak can enhance this experience. I like the citrus flavors best…but cranberry or black cherry also is refreshing.

        2. I started using powdered Gatorade. I would just mix a little powder into the gallon jug. Seemed like it helped. It was amazing the salt stains I would get on my clothing after a day.

    3. DH had a similar event…..I kept telling the ER he was probably dehydrated….they didn’t even think of that themselves…..so much for the ER. Will diagnose myself for him in the future….but NOW he listens to me when I say DRINK THIS! LOL

  7. As a DFM riverguide for nearly 40 years says, if you’re thirsty you’re already a quart low.

    When I lived and worked at serious altitude we advised visitors to drink until their stomachs hurt several times a day. This to help prevent altitude sickness, including High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE) and High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE).

    I’ve got a cranky kidney so ALWAYS have a drink of some kind at hand. Pretty boring to constantly be drinking and excreting but much, much better than the alternative.

      1. Shepherdess
        Yep. Mention on a river trip that you needed a drink and DFM would stand over you until you choked down a full quart. Like Ken said, just a few minutes later you’d feel so much better. Our bodies are amazing.

        NRP – answer to your question is No, not enough.

    1. Anony Mee, That explains why I did not adjust to the high altitude. It is physically impossible for me to drink more than 5 oz of cool fluids. When I worked in high humidity and high temp area for several years I used liquid high protein shakes and nutritional supplements to get requirements in. If i go back to that area I now know I mUST use liquid protein to be able to get both nutritional and fluid necessities in.

    2. Agree…. Past River Master myself….saw MANY folks dehydrate foolishly. ALWAYS kept quickie electrolyte solutions on hand in my dry bags, as well as made many announcements about how little water I saw my rafters drink. Made them drink until they felt they would bust…at every stop we could make!

  8. I have administered IV’s to dehydrated folks many times. I keep a few IV sets and some bags of saline and ringers on hand. We also have what are called “banana bags” a mixture of electrolytes and saline…If you get really dehydrated administer one to yourself. You will feel much better really soon.

    1. We also keep IV bags on hand, and keep Many varieties of electrolytes on hand as well. Smart security for dehydration issues. And, homemade electrolytes are easy if you know what to do!

  9. We live at 8650 altitude daily. Changes the “blood gasses” if you ever have your CBC done…need to remind the Doc about the altitude. That being said, we are also very conscious of water in take. We remind every visitor to the mountain to increase their NORMAL intake- two fold while visiting. It takes about two weeks to acclimate. After which, you can relive yourself of an insane amount of water to a regular in-take. I drink about 64-72 ounces of water daily….with one of those bottles being electrolyte enhanced if I am working outside on the ranch or out on the “range” at FrontSight. MUST keep a balance!

  10. Am a true needle wuss. Hate having them used on me, won’t touch them, close my eyes during doctor shows. After working for a while in infectious disease research, don’t think I could ever use one on myself or another person.

    However there is an old method for rectal rehydration. Here is the most detailed instruction in its application.


    Here is a description of its use during a recent disaster where a friend of mine was deployed.


    This method is also mentioned in the Doom and Bloom website..

  11. – In working at Urgent Care, I see a lot of urine specimens. 95% of people complaining of headaches, feeling generally ill, tired, or almost any other common complaint are at least “1 quart low” on fluids. It’s amazing how many people are running around dehydrated.

    On a side note, years ago I was stationed in Fort Irwin, CA, just north of Twenty-Nine Palms. I was bored one day and decided to deliberately dehydrate myself just to see what it felt like. Starting from a known good hydration level (per a urine specimen), I discovered I was beginning to hallucinate at 6 hours without drinking water or other liquid except a cup of coffee.

    Rehydrating, even at 36 years of age, took over 3 days, FWIW. It only gets harder as you get older.

    – Papa S.

  12. And, don’t forget your pets. Always keep fresh water available for them, and check it often.

  13. The military teaches– hydrate, hydrate, hydrate, drink before you are thirsty.
    So, what is the problem with hydrating too much?
    Ya gotta pee. That ain’t a bad thing.
    Your urine should be clear, or damn close

  14. They– whoever They are– say you should be able to read the newspaper thru your urine —
    If not, you are not properly hydrated

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