On any given day, I try to drink 100 ounces of water. I have a 32 fl. ounce water bottle that I have on my person practically 24/7. That, however, all goes out the window on days when I’m set to travel.
As a general rule of thumb, I try to stop my water intake two or so hours before my flight is scheduled to depart, the reason, I would think, is obvious — I want to use the plane bathroom as little as possible. Not only because they’re typically pretty gross, but also because it gives me anxiety to ask my seat mate — assuming I’m not in the aisle — to get up on my behalf, particularly more than once.
That said, depriving yourself of water under any circumstances is not smart. And, as fate would have it, that’s even truer when it comes to flying. According to a new report from Best Life, staying hydrated inflight is paramount.
“Dehydration is a major issue when traveling by airplane,” physiotherapist Yasmin Badiani told Marie Claire. “The problem arises due to spending long periods of time in a climate-controlled environment where the relative humidity can be as low as 10-15 percent, which is three times drier than the Sahara desert!”
“All of that drying out can significantly add up on long-haul trips. “In an average 10-hour flight, men can lose approximately two liters of water and women around 1.6 liters. This means that on a London to Sydney flight, a passenger could lose up to four liters and eight percent of their bodily water,” she adds.
The decrease in hydration levels — which is reportedly around 50 percent — is due in large part to “insensible water loss,” mostly due to respiration. So, literally just breathing is enough to dehydrate you. Further, alcohol can exacerbate dehydration, so it’s especially important to be cognizant of alcohol intake versus water intake (which, to be fair, is true pretty much everywhere, all the time).
So how much water should you be drinking while flying? Per Aerospace Medical Association, passengers should aim to drink roughly eight ounces of water every hour spent in the air.
“As a flight attendant, the medical staff tells us we have to drink one liter of water for every four hours of flying,” one Air France crew member confirmed to The Sun. “I would definitely tell passengers to drink lots of water.”
The good news is that there is literally nothing easier than drinking water. And even if you don’t bring your own on board, you’ll likely have more than one opportunity to ask a flight attendant for some. The bad news? You’re probably going to have to ask your seat mate to get up so you can use the bathroom inflight. Potentially more than once.
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