Why Does It Take So Long to Rehydrate?

by Jay | Posted on January 12th, 2023

If you’ve ever wondered why your hydration efforts take so long or can’t seem to drink enough water, this blog post is for you. We’ll examine the reasons behind dehydration, how to rehydrate quickly and efficiently, and how to stay hydrated in the long run.

What is Dehydration?

Dehydration occurs when your body doesn’t have enough water to function properly. It can be caused by not drinking enough fluids, excessive sweating, vomiting and diarrhea, and other conditions like diabetes.

Unrecognizable woman sitting on the floor and opening a bottle of water, tired after the exercise; cut out

Dehydration can range from mild to severe, and the symptoms can include dry mouth, dizziness, fatigue, and confusion. It’s important to recognize the signs of dehydration and take steps to rehydrate your body immediately.

What Causes Dehydration?

Dehydration occurs when your body loses more fluid than you take in. Several causes of dehydration include not drinking enough water, sweating excessively, vomiting, diarrhea, and fever. It is important to be aware of these causes of dehydration and to take measures to prevent it.

Dehydration can also be caused by certain medications, such as diuretics, that cause your body to lose more water than usual. Other factors, such as heat, humidity, and inadequate air circulation, can also contribute to dehydration.

How Long Does it Take to Recover from Dehydration?

Recovering from dehydration can take anywhere from a few minutes to several hours, depending on the severity of your dehydration.

For mild or moderate cases, expect your body to feel better after just a few hours, but full rehydration won’t happen until you have replaced all of the fluids and electrolytes that have been lost. Severe cases may take up to 36 hours to recover.

To ensure you’re fully rehydrated, drink plenty of fluids and eat foods high in electrolytes, such as fruits, vegetables, and dairy products. Additionally, if you’re feeling dehydrated, keep an eye out for signs of dehydration, such as dizziness, fatigue, dry mouth, and dark-colored urine.

What are the Symptoms of Dehydration?

The symptoms of dehydration can range from mild to severe. Mild symptoms include headache, fatigue, dizziness, and lightheadedness.

Moderate to severe symptoms include extreme thirst, dry mouth, decreased urine output or dark urine, confusion, and fainting. Older adults are at an increased risk for dehydration due to a decrease in their body’s fluid reserve and their reduced ability to conserve water. It is important to watch for warning signs of dehydration in these groups.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to rehydrate as soon as possible. Drinking plenty of water can help restore your body’s fluids and return it to a healthy state. It is also important to avoid activities that can cause further dehydration, like drinking alcohol, exercising in hot weather, and spending time in the sun.

How Much Water Do I Need to Rehydrate?

Rehydrating your body after physical activity or a bout of mild to moderate dehydration requires replenishing lost fluids. The amount of water you need depends on your size and the severity of your dehydration.

The general rule of thumb for mild to moderate dehydration is to drink twice as much fluid as you lost during activity. For instance, drink four liters spread out over the day if you lose two liters of fluid.

Research suggests that 20.3 oz (600 ml) of water can help to quell the effects of mild dehydration in just 45 minutes. But if you’re looking to get back to your normal hydration levels, experts suggest that men should drink around 125 ounces (just over 15 cups) of fluid each day and that women drink around 90 ounces (over 11 cups).

For severe dehydration, it’s important to start slowly and steadily. The Texas medical recommends drinking 1 liter (33 ounces) per hour for the first four hours. After that, continue drinking smaller amounts throughout the day until you are properly rehydrated.

If you are severely dehydrated, it’s important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. It’s also important to ensure that any mild to moderate dehydration isn’t left untreated, as this can quickly turn into severe dehydration if not resolved quickly.

How Long Does it Take to Rehydrate with Home Care?

When rehydrating with home care, the amount of time it takes to recover depends on the severity of your dehydration. If your dehydration is mild to moderate, it is possible to rehydrate with home care within a few hours.

For mild or moderate cases of dehydration, expect your body to feel better after just a few hours. Still, full rehydration won’t happen until you’ve replenished your lost fluids and electrolytes. Research shows that you can relieve mild dehydration in about 45 minutes.

But for moderate to severe dehydration, you’ll take longer to recover, but this can happen if you do not drink enough fluids or lose a lot of fluid due to diarrhea or vomiting. On the other hand, if you are eating food along with the fluids you are drinking, rehydration takes longer because your body prioritizes digesting food before hydrating.

If you are severely dehydrated, it’s likely that you will be hospitalized and put on intravenous hydration for up to 24 hours to rehydrate your body or until your test results indicate that your body has reached normal levels of hydration.

What Happens if You Drink Water While Eating?

It is generally accepted that drinking water while eating can help with digestion, as it helps to break down the food and make it easier for the body to absorb the nutrients.

However, it is important to be mindful of how much water you are drinking, as drinking too much can lead to bloating and indigestion. Sip on the water slowly throughout your meal, allowing your body to absorb the fluid more effectively.

Additionally, it is important to remember that different types of food require different amounts of water. For example, if you eat a meal high in carbohydrates, you may need to drink more water than if you eat something with a higher fat content.

What About Mild or Moderate Dehydration?

Mild or moderate dehydration can usually be reversed with adequate fluid intake. It can take several hours until the body is fully rehydrated, but you may start to feel better within a few hours. Your body needs to replace the lost fluids and electrolytes, minerals like sodium, potassium, and magnesium that help regulate your body’s processes.

Drinking an electrolyte solution or sports drink can help replace lost electrolytes and rehydrate your body faster than plain water. It’s also a good idea to keep snacking on light foods like fruits and vegetables and drinking plenty of fluids.

If you’re not responding to home care or have severe dehydration, you should seek medical attention immediately. Severe dehydration can be dangerous and require intravenous (IV) fluids.

How Can I Relieve Mild Dehydration Quickly?

When relieving mild dehydration quickly, the good news is that it can be done in about 45 minutes. Research shows that drinking 20.3 oz of water can help your body replenish lost fluids and rehydrate in 45 minutes or less.

Additionally, drinking water while eating can help your body prioritize digestion and rehydrate more quickly. Replenishing electrolytes is also important to help your body stay hydrated.

So if you’re feeling a bit dehydrated, take small sips of water every 30 minutes and aim to drink at least 10 glasses of water or other fluids per day. With these simple steps, you can easily relieve mild dehydration and get back to feeling your best in no time.

What About Chronic Dehydration?

Chronic dehydration is when a person consistently loses more water than they take in over a long period. It’s a main cause of heat exhaustion and can lead to serious health problems if not addressed. The recovery time for chronic dehydration is often longer and more complicated than for mild or moderate dehydration.

It can take up to two weeks for the body to return to its normal hydration levels. It’s important to remember that this recovery process is not instantaneous and that you will need to be diligent about drinking plenty of water and electrolytes and avoiding activities that cause dehydration.


Jay is a health and wellness enthusiast with expertise in water quality and nutrition. As a knowledgeable advocate for holistic well-being, Jay successfully manages Type 2 Diabetes through informed lifestyle choices. Committed to sharing reliable and authoritative insights, Jay combines firsthand experience with a passion for enhancing health."