HYDRATION

HYDRATION, HYDRATION, HYDRATION

Well the amount of articles I have read on hydration in the last couple of days had me back into study mode, like I was doing my masters all over again. The interesting thing that I found out, is what I have known for a very long time. Systematic Hydration (which really just mean drinking water or liquids that add water to you system), benefits vocal production, increases self-lubrication of the vocal folds and improves overall fitness and efficiency of the vocal equipment. DAH… vocalist and vocal teachers have known this for years. The difference is that academics have decided to study it and study it they are. They still have a long way to go in this area with hydration, dehydration and placebo groups of study, but they have come leaps and bounds in just the last few years. The problem with studying hydration and dehydration on the vocal folds is that they are difficult to get to. The studies they have done dehydrating and hydrating cadaver vocal chords from humans and animals shows that hydration does improve the vocal chords… but getting the research to be definitive on alive vocal chords is much more difficult because of all the variables in the amazing instrument that is the voice.

They have also discovered that drink caffeine and caffeinated drinks increase dehydration. SURPRISE, SURPRISE. So try and keep you caffeine habit to once a day, twice at the most… but it also means all you coffee drinkers out there that you require more water, (but what is one more glass if you can enjoy some of that sweet nectar called coffee) so make sure it’s a good one!

SUPERFICIAL HYDRATION

I believe that this is an area that a lot of vocalists don’t know about. Honestly, I have only been aware of it in the last few years. Superficial hydration is when the vocal chords are hydrated through external means; such as Humidified air inhaled through nebulizers; humidifying the air you breath in at home or inhaling steam. It has been found that if vocalist or people who use their voice a lot combine systematic hydration and superficial hydration, they can achieve ideal vocal production.

So what is the verdict…? Drink water and at the very least inhale the steam in the bathroom when you have a shower. If you were going to invest in a humidifier the most important place would be in your bedroom. If you are a gigging vocalist, vocalist in training, teacher, profession speaker, preacher, call centre worker (lets face it they need all the help they can get) or really anyone who uses their voice a lot, you should drink 2 litres of water a day and inhale steam or humidified air on a regular basis. If you can’t be bothered with that or you just can’t drink water then you aren’t really serious about your voice!

TIPS FOR DRINKING MORE WATER

  1. Filter the water and make sure you but it in a non-BPA bottle, as water that has been sitting in plastic and gets heated tastes funny and you don’t want to drink it any way. Bottles from the supermarket are for one use! Invest in a good drinking bottle that is not plastic, you will thank yourself.
  2. Put a squeeze of lemon or other citrus in it as when you drink a lot of water it can taste metallic… this stops this!
  3. The first thing you should do in the morning after you have been to the toilet (if weeing in the morning is not the first thing you do, you are not drinking enough water) is to have a large glass of water with lemon squeezed into it. This is beneficial to your liver as well as you.
  4. Make sure you drink a large glass of water BEFORE you eat, so at my count that is 4 large glasses a day… you are off to a good start.
  5. Be a super sipper. While having glasses of water throughout the day is still beneficial, sipping continuously is the best way to go

DON’T STRESS your bladder will start to realise that you don’t need to go to the toilet all the time and will balance itself out!

I hope this is helpful see you soon!