Industry insights

Should you drink water before, during and after drinking alcohol!

2 min read

By Will Vickery |  Published

Recently TV and radio broadcaster, Adrian Chiles, spoke about his battle and coming to terms with the amount of alcohol he was consuming. Adrian never really thought about the actual numerical volume of alcohol he was drinking until after tracking his alcohol consumption an expert revealed that he was consuming 80 – 100 units per week, which is way over the recommended 14 units per week.

Adrian’s doctor told him if he carried on drinking alcohol in such excess that his liver damage could cause cirrhosis or death.

In addition to the damage that alcohol can have on the major organs in the body and the diseases it can cause, alcohol also has a severely dehydrating effect on the body. It decreases the body’s production of the anti-diuretic hormone, which is used by the body to reabsorb water. With less of this hormone available, the body loses more fluid by increased urination. Switching to alcoholic drinks with less volume, such as shots, won’t help with frequent urination either because the diuretic element of the alcohol is what causes the issue and not the actual volume of the alcohol you are drinking.

Symptoms of dehydration:

  • Dry mouth
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Thirst
  • Tiredness
  • Dark coloured urination

Seeing Adrian talk about the issues with our alcohol consumption habits, got us thinking, is there a healthy way to stay well hydrated but still be able to go out drinking with your mates or have a few drinks at home.

Drinking water before, during and after drinking alcohol

Drinking a few glasses of water before your start drinking alcohol, trying to alternate alcoholic drinks with a glass of water whilst consuming alcohol and having a drink of water before you go to bed after a heavy session, is a technique that doctors advise us to do as it will significantly help to counteract the dehydration effect that alcohol has.  

If you are about to have a heavy session, it is also a good idea to have a healthy meal before you start drinking. Additionally by consuming some food between drinks, it will help to slow down the absorption of alcohol. Good nutrition helps to support your liver to function as well, which will play a crucial role when not only drinking alcohol, but also to your overall health.

Drinking alcohol in excess has long lasting effects that will prevent you from performing normal functions effectively, in particular, your concentration and memory. After a heavy drinking session, drink plenty of water (and fluids) throughout the day to flush out toxins and restore your hydration levels. Electrolyte solutions and rehydration drinks contain sodium and potassium that are lost during alcohol consumption.

This topic is something that Thirsty Work has been heavily involved in with local councils, pubs, nightclubs and restaurants. For a number of years now we have been involved in a scheme to try and tackle the issue of dehydration when people drink alcohol which is why we have installed publically accessible mains fed water coolers for local business, pubs and nightclubs, so people have access to free filtered drinking water when they are out drinking. To find out more about this scheme then click here.