Becoming dehydrated while flying easily occurs due to the arid conditions found on airplanes. Because it’s incredibly easy to step off your flight and find yourself dehydrated, it’s important to make sure that you stay hydrated enough while you are flying. There are multiple ways to ensure that you’ve gotten enough H20 in you before you land.
How Flying Dehydrates Your Body
Everyone who has had a long flight will tell you that they don’t feel very well soon after. Most chalk it up to jet lag and being tired, which is obvious. However, a lot of people who fly don’t realize that they are dehydrated because they didn’t drink enough water.
This can leave you with headaches, fatigue, and nausea. The problem with flying is that the levels of humidity are usually around 10 to 20 percent drier than on land due to the air circulation system in the plane. Our bodies are used to 30 to 60 percent humidity levels, depending on where you live in the world, so this is a major loss to your body’s ability to retain water. Planes also have thin levels of oxygen, as well, which greatly increases the rate of your breathing.
Males can lose up to 2 liters of water, women up to 1.6 liters, during a flight that’s an average of 10 hours long. On average, you will lose 4 percent of your body’s water during this time. Though this may seem like a low number, it can do some damage and make you feel as if you haven’t had a drink in a couple of days.
Tips for Staying Hydrated While Flying
The amount of water you will need to drink during your flight will depend on how long you will be flying for. As a general rule of thumb, make sure you drink 8 ounces per flight hour. However, if your flight is only 2 to 3 hours long, you don’t need to drink as much. Around 4 ounces should do just fine, but make sure you’re not drinking all of it at once.
Avoid the Booze or Make it Up
The best way to keep your hydration levels up is to avoid indulging in any booze during your flight. If you absolutely have to have a drink, try to limit the amount of alcohol you have and make sure you ask for an 8-ounce cup of water for every alcoholic beverage you do have. This means avoiding drinks or making up the drinks with water before you board your plane, as well.
Pick and Choose What You Eat
Flights don’t exactly offer a lot of variety when it comes to the foods they serve, but there is a way to pick and choose what you eat while flying to ensure that you get some hydration in you.
Listed below are food items that contain quite a bit of water, perfect for a long flight:
Whatever you choose to munch on depending on the flight menu, make sure you avoid nuts. They have dehydrating properties that will drain you faster than you may think.
Drink All the Coffee You Want
Most believe that coffee will dehydrate you greatly, but that is only just a myth. There are a lot of rumors out there that claim coffee will dehydrate you faster than anything, but that’s what they are – rumors.
If you’re a regular coffee drinker, you won’t go through any of the diuretic effects that a newbie coffee drinker would go through, such as headaches and the jolt of energy. Veteran coffee drinkers can get the same amount of hydration needed from a regular drink of water, but this doesn’t mean you should only drink coffee on your flight.
Make the Water Enjoyable With an Additive
If you’re someone who doesn’t drink water regularly due to it being so bland, you can actually trick yourself into enjoying it by adding something to it that will make it more appealing. Ask for a lemon or lime wedge to squeeze or toss into your water.
However, if your flight offers flavored water, make sure you avoid it. The risks of flavored water greatly outweigh the benefits, if there are any at all. In truth, the only benefit to flavored water is that it tastes slightly better when compared to plain water, but that’s it.
Unfortunately, the sugars and additives in flavored water can actually dehydrate you and make you more thirsty and dehydrated, causing you to drink more of it. More often than not, flavored water has double the sugar compared to sodas and energy drinks.
Pick Up Some Nasal Saline Spray
Because of the low humidity and thin air found on airplanes, the moisture molecules located in your eyes, nose, and throat will fail in keeping moisture retained in the body. The hair-like structures located in your nose and throat must be kept hydrated at all times during your flight to ensure your body is properly hydrated. You can’t exactly shoot water up your nose or sniff water through a straw, though.
However, picking up some nasal saline spray is the best way to keep your nose hydrated, which will help your body to retain more moisture and keep you properly hydrated throughout the entire duration of your flight.
A lot of people, flight attendants included, have suffered from nosebleeds because of how dry the air up there is. Having a nosebleed is actually a common symptom of being dehydrated when you’re flying, so make sure you use a nasal saline spray to keep your nose hydrated.
Wash Your Face and Hands
Washing your face and hands throughout your flight is another great way to stay hydrated. Dehydrated skin is common during flights, especially if you aren’t a regular moisturizer user. Washing your hands after you use the washroom on the plane is pretty much common sense, but washing your face, as well, will work wonders to keep your skin, and your body, relatively hydrated.
The Importance of Staying Hydrated During Your Flight
It’s very important to stay hydrated throughout your flight to ensure you make it to your destination, off the plane, and throughout the rest of the day without being smacked by jet lag and the draining symptoms of dehydration.
Jacob Hatch is the author and founder of Hydration Anywhere. He has been actively writing about drinking water since 2013. These days Jacob spends most of his time investigating water related news, studying environmental issues, reading health studies, and reviewing products like water bottles and water filters.