Why Is It Harder to Stay Hydrated in Winter?
The scene is an all too familiar one—you wake up in the dead of a cold, winter night to your throat and mouth feeling as dry and dusty as the Sahara desert. The dry burn doesn’t stop until you’ve guzzled an entire glass of water, but even then, you’re barely satiated. How did you get so thirsty?
As it turns out, there are a few physiological reasons for your thirst.
Why Cold Weather Makes You Thirsty
There are a few reasons that cold weather can make you feel less thirsty: on one side, you have the biological responses your body naturally goes through to combat cold weather. On the other side lies an increase in the amount of dehydrating drinks that typically accompany cold weather.
Reduced Blood Flow
Cold weather prompts many biological responses in your body. Have you ever noticed that your hands and feet are much colder than the rest of your body during winter? This happens because your blood vessels constrict in cold weather to keep most of your blood in your core and prevent blood flow to your hands and feet. A side effect of this natural response is that your body thinks it’s adequately hydrated.
Greater Respiratory Fluid Loss
Remember standing in the snow waiting for the bus to drag you off to school? If you were anything like other kids, you probably exhaled with vigor just to see your breath in the cold winter air. You’re able to see your breath in this way because you’re losing water with each exhale. This vapor forms in cooler weather, meaning the colder it is, the more water you lose in each breath.
More Caffeine = Less Hydration
Warm weather makes us thirsty for an ice-cold drink, but in winter, we’re typically craving warmth. Caffeine is naturally dehydrating, and with so many people turning to warm drinks to combat the cold winter months, dehydration increases. Whether you’re partaking in the coveted pumpkin spice latte or something as simple as hot chocolate, if there’s caffeine in your cup, you’re losing water.
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