For many of us the party season starts around Melbourne Cup, quickly followed by the early end of year get-togethers then Christmas parties and of course Summer holidays. Generally speaking these social events also mean plenty of eating and drinking and unfortunately dehydration especially if your drinking tends to mean a lot more beer, wine and celebratory drinks than your usual water. So before the party season is in full swing, here are some simple ways to ensure that keeping well-hydrated is just as big a focus as is having a good time.
While it can be easy to get into good drinking habits when we are in our usual routine, often when we find ourselves in different environments, eating and drinking different things is when our hydration suffers. Instead of keeping our water bottle within easy reach, or having our Zip HydroTap handy for regular refills, someone is constantly filling up our wine glass and before we know it, dehydration and a hangover are inevitable. Drinking alcohol is linked to an increased risk of dehydration for several physiological reasons. Firstly, alcohol reduces the production of a hormone in the body that helps the body to reabsorb water. While the levels of this hormone are reduced in the body more fluid is lost due to increased urination. In addition, naturally you tend to drink less water when you are drinking alcohol, which means if you are out drinking over a number of hours can leave you with significantly less fluid than you are used to consuming. Then, if you drink excessively and become sick, again you may lose more fluid via vomiting or sleeping and again not drinking for long periods of time.
For this reason if your goal is to enjoy the party season and the spoils it offers minus the headaches, dizziness, dry mouth and fatigue that are all signs of dehydration you need a party hydration strategy that ultimately becomes a habit when you do decide to indulge with a few drinks.
- . Always turn up hydrated
As soon as you know that you have a social engagement, party, function or long lunch, that is your reminder to load up with some filtered sparking or still water in the few hours preceding the event. While we do not ‘load fluid’, that means we will simply excrete extra via increased trips to the bathroom, drinking an extra glass or two in the hours before your engagement will ensure that you arrive hydrated.
- Think one drink wine, one drink water
The simple act of alternating alcoholic drinks with a sparking or still water is a great habit as it will help to counteract the dehydrating effects of the alcohol itself. If you find it difficult to count the number of drinks you are having, try and finish one glass before having your glass refilled.
3. Have a drink rule
It may be one an hour, or two the first hour and then one each hour after that or a total of three or four in any one sitting – when it comes to self-regulating our intake of alcohol or even food for that matter, making a decision about how much you will have prior to
the engagement will make it easier to stick to your predefined limits. As a general rule of thumb then allow an extra 200-250ml of water for each alcoholic drink you have consumed in any one sitting.
4. Go for hydrating mixers
Forget cola drinks that also add caffeine to the mix, fruit juice or tonic water – where possible choose drinks that can have soda or sparking water added. In the case of punches, spirits with mixers or even sparkling wines, a little water can go a long way in drawing out the drink and adding to your positive fluid balance
5. Drink up before bed
You may not feel like it, but one of the most powerful things you can do to lessen the likelihood of waking up to a nasty headache thanks to severe dehydration after a big night out is to consume a good amount of water before you hit the sack. At a minimum aim for a bottle or 500-600ml and if you can take extra to bed with you in case you do wake up and can manage to drink a little more fluid through the night. Basically if you are feeling thirsty you are likely to be still dehydrated so aim to keep drinking until your urine is clear again and you no longer feel thirsty. Generally speaking you will need an extra 1-1.5L to rehydrate after an occasion in which you drank a significant number of alcoholic drinks.