When tiredness sets in, it’s easy to blame hectic days or dreary weather. The cause for fatigue may actually be due to dehydration, a condition we’re typically more likely to associate with the warmer months, but which we need to be vigilant about year-round. Dehydration becomes more common as we age and can even require medical attention in certain cases. It’s vital to stay hydrated even as temperatures drop. University of New Hampshire research suggests we naturally feel up to 40 percent less thirsty in cold weather — and even small amounts of fluid loss can cause fatigue. Here are some simple tips for boosting your hydration so that you can stay energized and maximize your enjoyment of the holiday season.
To Stay Hydrated Longer: Salt Your Water
For an instant energy boost, stir ¼ teaspoon of salt into the glass of water you’re drinking. You won’t even notice the taste, but you will optimize your hydration. The reason: research in The Journal of Clinical Investigation suggests that salt-containing fluids are more hydrating than plain water. Investigators explain that the sodium activates hormones that help the body absorb and retain fluids more efficiently.
To Stimulate Thirst: Crunch on a Candy Cane
Eating a candy cane or popping a mint sounds too simple to work, but doing so prompts you to sip an extra glass of water afterward without a second thought. Research from Scotland has shown that drinks with a small amount of sugar can keep you hydrated for longer. If you eat a small amount of sugar in the form of a candy cane or mint, it can also stimulate the thirst mechanism in your brain, automatically upping your urge to drink.
To Fight Dry Heat at Home: Let Laundry Air-Dry
The air in your home can reach desert-like humidity levels when heating systems switch on, which can rapidly ramp up feelings of fatigue. A Japanese study suggests that spending time in dry indoor conditions saps our energy, which can lead to dehydration. Luckily, there are easy (and free!) ways to add moisture to the air in your living space: Hang towels and other laundry indoors to dry, leave the bathroom door ajar after showering, and open the dishwasher once it’s finished running.
To Stay Hydrated Outdoors: Slip on a Scarf
Cover your mouth with a cozy scarf when you head outside, and you could cut your fluid losses by up to 42 percent, according to Swedish researchers reporting in the journal Rhinology. Turns out the chill-chasing tactic encourages you to breathe through your nose, which lowers the amount of moisture you lose when you inhale and exhale cold air through your mouth.
A Hydrating Treat: Cinnamon-Spiced Apple Lattice Pie
Apples are composed of 86 percent water, which makes them an ideal treat for fighting dehydration. This pie is more than just make a perfect dessert for holiday parties — since it contains lots of nutritious apples, it will also keep you (and whoever you’re celebrating with) hydrated all night long.
Ingredients (Serves 8)
- 1 (14.1 ounce) package 2-count refrigerated pie crust
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 6 cups thinly sliced apples
- 1 tablespoon butter
- Heat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Line 9 inch pie dish with first dough sheet; cut second sheet into 1 inch strips.
- In large bowl, whisk sugars and cinnamon. Add apples; toss to coat.
- Transfer apple mixture to pie plate. Top with dough strips in lattice pattern; top with butter. Bake 35 minutes.
A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.
This content is not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always consult your physician before pursuing any treatment plan.