You may think that you only need to worry about dehydration in the hot summer months, but you would be mistaken. Despite this common association, studies have shown that you are at an increased risk of dehydration during the winter. Let’s take a look at the reasons why this seemingly unlikely scenario is so common.
Changed Thirst Response: Your body has a natural thirst response that is meant to let you know when it needs water, but this response is diminished by up to 40% in cold weather. This happens because your body attempts to conserve heat by drawing more blood to its core. In this process, your body focuses on maintaining your core temperature and is fooled into thinking it’s properly hydrated.
Winter Padding: When you bundle up in winter boots, heavy jackets, and long underwear, you ]add weight to your body. This additional weight makes your body work 10% to 40% harder than it normally does. As your body works harder you produce more sweat than usual, but you don’t notice it because sweat evaporates more quickly in cold air.
Water Vapor Exhalation: Colder temperatures also mean that you lose more fluids when you breathe. This effect is visible, as you can see your breath in cold weather. Although many people don’t realize it, each of those exhales represents your body’s lost fluids.
Luckily, there is one simple thing you can do to combat winter dehydration: drink more water. Despite the widely circulated recommendation that an adult needs to drink eight glasses of water per day, you actually need more.
According to the latest research, you should drink half of your body weight in fluid ounces to maintain proper hydration. If you are 150 pounds, that means you need 75 ounces of water per day. If you can’t manage to fit in this much water every day, just drinking one extra glass of water a day can help you feel and function better throughout the cold winter months.