Staying Hydrated


Most serious talkers and singers have already heard that it’s important to drink a lot of water. This water does not directly “wet” the vocal folds. Swallowing water sends it down the other tube, the esophagus, into your stomach. Drinking plenty of water does make sure that the cells inside the voice box are nourished and resilient. If the body as a whole is dehydrated, the vocal folds get tired faster, and they recover more slowly from heavy use.

Recommendations on the right amount of water intake range from two quarts or two liters per day to “whatever it takes to pee pale.” A general rule of thumb is to divide your weight in pounds by 2 and drink that number of ounces (see Figure 1). Sipping your water throughout the day and evening is much more beneficial than trying to drink a lot all at once.

If you weigh:

  • 100 lbs: aim to drink 50 oz (about 3 pints)
  • 125 lbs: aim to drink 62 oz (about 2 quarts)
  • 150 lbs: aim to drink 75 oz (about 5 pints)
  • 200 lbs: aim to drink 100 oz (about 3 quarts)

People have different internal sensation of thirst, or desire for water. If your voice is working well, you may already get enough for your own system. If you notice signs of vocal fatigue and you’re not in the habit of staying hydrated, increasing the amount of water you drink is a simple first step to try. As always, use common sense. If you have heart or kidney problems, or other concerns about fluid intake, talk to your doctor before making drastic changes.

Ice-cold drinks used to be forbidden to serious vocalists. However, research has shown that it doesn’t matter whether you drink cold, hot, warm, or lukewarm beverages during rehearsal and performance. Drink whatever temperature you link, what feels best on a particular day. The main thing is to get plenty of fluids on a regular basis.