DEHYDRATION AND YOUR AGE
Dehydration can present itself in a variety of symptoms amongst different age groups. Though drinking more water is an obvious place to start, we have uncovered the lesser known dehydration risk factors for your age, and what you can do to beat it.
How old are you?
You’re not getting enough sleep:
The sleep-deprived generation. Today’s youngsters are lacking in important hours of sleep paired with inconsistent sleeping patterns, thanks to all those late nights and early starts. New research suggests that anything under 6 hours of slumber a night could leave our bodies less than adequately hydrated, by disrupting the release of a hormone called vasopressin which manages fluid levels while we sleep. If you’re not staying asleep long enough, you might miss that window in which more of the hormone is released. To combat this, make sure you get a restful 8 hours of sleep every night. Drink a tall glass of water first thing in the morning to replace your water loss immediately.
Dehydration is one of the main causes of your hangover symptoms which often presents as a headache, nausea and fatigue. Alcohol quickly dehydrates the body because it is a diuretic, so when you drink alcohol you must remember to drink water as well. Drinking water before, during and after drinking alcohol will help to prevent dehydration, and flush out toxins. A handy trick is to match each alcoholic drink with one glass of water to avoid that next-day hangover.
- You need more water than you used to:
The body loses water as we get older. At about the age of 40, the proportion of total body fluids to body weight begins to decrease. This means you actually need to increase your water intake as you get older. You shouldn’t wait to feel thirsty to drink water, because by the time you are thirsty, that’s already an indication of early dehydration.
- Coffee, tea, more coffee:
Most of us rely on caffeine to get through the day. However, caffeine is a diuretic, meaning it causes a person to urinate more often. It’s not clear whether this causes dehydration or not, but to be safe, it’s probably a good idea to stay away from too much caffeine in hot weather, during long workouts, or in other situations where you might sweat a lot. Caffeine also disrupts our sleep and prevents us from getting a restful nights sleep.
- Your sense of thirst is weaker:
Thirst isn’t always a very good indicator of the body’s need for more fluids, especially as you get older. You won’t feel thirst as readily as you used to because your thirst response is weaker. Over the age of 50, you may feel tired and draggy rather than thirsty, and may opt for a nap instead of a tall glass of water. Because of that, many older adults don’t drink enough liquids. Next time you feel like taking a kip, try a refreshing cool glass of water instead and it might be the pick-me-up you need.
- You aren’t drinking frequently enough:
Unfortunately the body loses water as we age. An adult over 60 years old has less water to lose before becoming dehydrated so you need to drink fluids throughout the day, even when you are not thirsty. A way to encourage yourself to drink more is to consume other sources of hydration such as juice, milk and water-rich vegetables with a high water content such as cucumbers.
Now please, go and grab a nice chilled glass of water, no matter your age!