Winter Dehydration: What You Need to Know
Updated: May 24
Did you know that winter dehydration is a thing?
Have you noticed you don’t feel as thirsty in the colder months as you do in warmer months?
The fact is, we simply don’t feel as thirsty when the temperature drops, so many of us forget to drink enough water and therefore your chance of dehydration actually increases during the winter.
In cold weather, your body’s thirst response diminishes. Meaning, you are 40% less thirsty in cold weather.
Your thirst response diminishes because your blood vessels constrict when you’re cold to keep your core warm.
However, hydration is critical any time of year because every system in your body depends on water.
Every cell, tissue, and organ requires fluid to perform functions such as maintaining body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure. Water aids in delivering nutrients to cells, disposing of waste products and lubricating joints.
Water is also essential for flushing out waste, which keeps your body in optimal condition to fight off chronic health issues.
Those who chronically consume less water are at a higher risk of developing more serious health issues, such as kidney disease, kidney stones, and diabetes.
And, dehydration increases the risk of chronic inflammation.
Together, dehydration and inflammation impair the immune system and can contribute to chronic conditions and autoimmune diseases.
8 Common Signs of Winter Dehydration in Adults
Feeling tired and fatigued
Dry mouth, lips, or skin
Feeling lightheaded or dizzy
Health Benefits of Keeping Hydrated
Increases energy and relieves fatigue
Promotes healthy balanced weight
Supports joint lubrication and cushioning
Regulates body temperature
Improves skin complexion
Prevents cramps and sprains
Empowers the body’s natural healing process
Lowers inflammation and supports natural immunity
To minimize your risk of winter dehydration, here’s what you need to know to stay healthy and hydrated this winter.
5 Simple and Smart Tips for Winter Hydration
1. Keep water with you
Since you can’t rely on thirst alone to tell you when you’re dehydrated -- especially in the winter -- it’s a good idea to have water handy throughout the day. Designate a special water bottle that you keep at home and/or work so you can keep track of your water intake. Every time you look at that water bottle, take a sip.
2. Make it a morning ritual
Many people wake up dehydrated because when you sleep, your body naturally loses fluids and electrolytes. So start your day with a glass of water before you reach for your coffee, tea, or juice. I love a mug of warm lemon water (with ½ lemon freshly squeezed), which hydrating with many health benefits including an energy and mood boost, digestive aid, natural flush, and immune boost due to Vitamin C.
3. Practice the 1:1 rule
For every non-water drink you have -- drink a glass of water. Herbal tea counts!
Drink a glass of water before your morning coffee. Drink water with your lunchtime beverage. FYI, for some, seltzer can cause bloating and impair digestion so yes, pair it with plain water.
Drink water with your mulled wine, eggnog, or hot toddy. This simple act of “double fisting” as I like to call it, can prevent dehydration, inflammation and help keep your digestion and gut running more smoothly than without.
4. Eat hydrating foods
Consuming water-rich fruit and vegetables is a great way to sneak in more water into your daily diet. Eating homemade soups made with seasonal vegetables and herbs can also help you stay hydrated while providing warmth and nourishment to your body.
5. Wear layers
Don’t overdo it on the warm clothing. Wearing layers can help you regulate your body temperature and minimize water loss from perspiration.
When you know the signs of winter dehydration — and the negative health effects — being mindful of your water intake and taking proactive steps to stay hydrated will help ensure that you stay healthy all winter long.
Love, Your Wellness Coach,
December 22, 2021