Winter dehydration: Is it a thing?

If there’s one thing we know for sure about British winter, it’s that there’s a lot of water involved. Snow, rain, hail, there’s much precipitation occurring. With all this water, you’d think that winter hydration wouldn’t be a problem. In actual fact, the body’s thirst response is diminished by up to 40% in cold weather, so we don’t always realise we’re thirsty, and in turn, neglect to properly hydrate. In today’s blog, we discuss why this may be, and share our tips for keeping your water intake up as the temperature drops.

Why so thirsty?

An entirely accurate picture of us when we get too cold

Think it’s counterintuitive to be dehydrated in the cold? Think again. When your body is cold, your blood vessels constrict to prevent blood flowing to your extremities too much (this is how things like frostbite happen). This action enables your body to conserve as much heat as possible as more blood is drawn towards your core. Whilst this is an ingenious action for heat conservation, it also means that you body believes you are more hydrated than you are.

A problem of many layers

Would you weigh yourself in your winter coat and knitwear? No, you would consider the additional weight that these heavy clothes add. Carrying the weight of your winter garments actually makes our bodies work between 10 and 40% harder than usual, this means that the body produces more sweat, contributing to your body’s water loss.

This chap has an excellent taste in knit

This sweat action combines with increased respiratory loss in cold weather. You know, when the air is so sharp that you make little clouds with your breath? That’s respiratory loss, and with those clouds, you are losing an increased amount of fluid.

To complete the trifecta, sweat actually evaporates more quickly in cold weather. Often, this means we don’t even realise we have been sweating and therefore don’t replenish our fluids.

Upping your hydration


Note: Coffee counts

When Jack Frost is nipping at your nose, the last thing you fancy drinking is cold water. If you can’t face the cold stuff in the wintry seasons, find yourself an alternative beverage. Experiment with some hot fruit squash, or a lovely herbal tea. Even standard tea and coffee are better for you than no hydration at all. If you need some ideas for winter beverages, check out a few of our favourite recipes here.

Invest in a snazzy glass bottle for your desk, you can even get one made with companies such as Borg & Overström here. Pop your bottle somewhere prominent, and have a glass every time you have a loo break.

It’s easy to forget to drink enough, but there are loads of apps available on your phone or tablet to help you remember. Apps such as, Carbodroid, Waterlogged, and Daily Water Free will keep track of how often you drink, and remind you when you’re falling behind.

There we have it, a brief guide to hydration in the water, and a few handy tips for keeping your fluid levels up. For more hydration tips, check out our blog; here