Did you know that dehydration places a huge stress load on your body?  Especially as Police and First Responders.    

Add the amount you sweat with your uniform and gear on while performing the physical demands of your job every single shift.   

It’s a fact that the majority of us are dehydrated.

If you think about it 60% of our body is made of water.    That’s a lot of water? Your legs, up past your belly button, most likely up to your sternum would make about 60% of you.  

Do you drink that much water a day?   

If not, you are not giving your body what it needs for you to digest food, your brain to think clearly,  lungs and all other organs to work optimally.  

You become exhausted,  your joints ache, bowels start to have issues and the list goes on…. 

The first thing we work on . . .

Dehydration is the first thing we work on in my 911 Elite Performance Prep Program because of how simple it is and the impact of how much this one change directly affects the stress load on your body.   Every lesson after compounds until your stress load is at a point where your body can function optimally.    

Now, if you are saying that you do get enough water I have a few other things to think about…

Highly caffeinated beverages,  artificial flavours and sweeteners,  energy drinks and alcohol do not count as water.   

In fact for every one of these beverages that you consume, you will need to add more water to your 60% they dehydrate you,   not hydrate you.   

The shiftwork hangover

That hangover feeling after a night shift of drinking coffee and energy drinks when you wake up is from the exact same reasons you get a hangover when you drink alcohol.  

It’s caused from dehydration and stress on your adrenals (grape sized, walnut shaped, sits on top of your kidneys and manages all of the physical stress in your body)  

It seems weird that liquids can dehydrate you, but some make you pee more as your body does not absorb and use them the way they use water.   Yes, the main ingredient in most is water, but when it’s mixed with other substances the chemical properties change and your body does not use it the same.   

So your body eliminates it instead of absorbs it.   .      

You may be feeling the symptoms of hydration and not even realize it.

If you drink alcohol and coffee on a regular basis you may feel signs and symptoms of dehydration.  

Anxiety,  depression, moods, short with loved ones and not being able to handle stress like you used ?   

Have you ever considered that dehydration may be attributing to how crappy you are feeling every day?    

Not only does the dehydration side effect of the alcohol stress your adrenals, so does alcohol itself. 

The signs

There are many studies out there that say that 1 alcoholic drink a day will not harm your health.   But they are speaking to people who do not have any health issues. When your adrenals are already giving you signs that they are in need of support

  • Sleep issues –  tired and wired,  wake mid sleep
  • Exhaustion
  • Brain Fog
  • Short Fuse
  • Easily frustrated
  • Digestive Issues
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Constant colds/flu’s or nagging injuries
  • And more..

Then 1 drink can be enough to push your adrenals even one step closer to the edge.   

Your Adrenals control 50 different hormone responses.  

Here are only a few examples of how alcohol affects your adrenals.. 

Sex Hormone

This hormone is directly related to erections and orgasm. 

When we first started drinking alcohol lowers inhibitions, but eventually it does opposite and your sex drive decreases along with your ability to enjoy it.   

Cortisol, Epinephrine and Norepinephrine Hormones

These energy/waking hormones are released when you are responding to a stress.  When you are in a high stress state for a long period of time you initially have extra of these hormones floating in your body.   BUT over time your brain starts sending signals to produce less and less which leads to sleep issues, brain fog, depression, anxiety and more.  

Alcohol decreases these hormones from being produced increasing your symptoms.  

Caffeine, Energy Drinks and Other Stimulants Such As Most Caffeine Tea and Chocolate (unless over 70% cocoa and not high in sugar)

Caffeine is the highest consumed stimulants.  Though all stimulants send out adrenaline and cortisol.  The stronger the dose, the stronger the signal.     

Going back to what we spoke of on alcohol,  when our body has been stressed for a long time and our brain is exhausted, it turns down cortisol.  

That craving for caffeine where you have zero willpower is your body screaming for more energy and to wake up.   

The problem is that once your bodies cortisol and adrenaline spike again, your brain turns down your natural production MORE.  

It’s a vicious cycle. 

Decaf Coffee

This does not mean switching to decaf coffee is any better. 

Decaf still contains caffeine.   It’s just lower than the FDA regulations so they do not need to say it is there.   Although this is not the thing you should be concerned of the most.  

Depending on the quality of the brand.  In order to strip some caffeine out toxins are used.  Sometimes bleach and other toxins that place a larger burden on your adrenals than caffeine itself.  

It’s not the most comforting when the substitute is often worse than your first choice, is it?  


This does not mean that coffee, alcohol or stimulants need to be avoided for the rest of your life.  

Knowledge is Power.  

Now that you know what some of the symptoms are of stressed adrenals and if you are experiencing some of these symptoms yourself,  you have two choices. 

  1. Keep doing what you are doing until you feel you can’t anymore. 

  2. Make the choice to take a big stress burden off of your body and rehydrate your body and start your journey to become an Elite First Responder who sleeps regardless of your shift,  wakes with energy, is calm, cool and collected (even at home), peaks during crisis, recovers after and has energy left over for your family. 



The advice provided in this article is for informational purposes only. It is meant to augment and not replace consultation with a licensed health care provider. Consultation with a Naturopathic Doctor or other primary care provider is recommended for anyone suffering from a health problem.


Andi Clark is a mom, wife of a Police Officer and the founder of 911 Lifestyle. Also known as The Elite Trainer for Police and First Responders, Andi is an expert in peak performance and how stress physically affects your body.

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Andi Clark is a mom, wife of a Police Officer and the founder of 911 Lifestyle.

Andi has a background in athletics including a 25+yr career as a personal trainer, nutrition and mindset coach to athletes and stressed out high end executives.

Being healthy and active was what she lived for. Until her body started waking absolutely exhausted, workouts become something to push through instead of enjoy. A short fuse crept in, motivation left and injuries seemed to be a part of life. All of this added up to the point that she had to stop all activity altogether.

Doctors, specialists and prescriptions were never able to fix the problem.

Once Andi realized she had a genetic stress condition that puts her body into an increased stress response state all the time (similar to what Police Officers and First Responders experience when they put on their uniform and have to mentally prepare for whatever may happen in their day) was she able to figure out what was happening and how to reverse it.

Through years of research and studying, Andi formulated a completely different way to thrive when your body is always functioning at higher than usual stress levels. One where it is possible to reverse and prevent an officer from getting to a point where they struggle to get through their days by taking a preventative approach instead of a reactive one. And one that reduces the negative effects of shift work on the body.

Through her husbands career as an officer her focus has been on preventing burnout, exhaustion and a tanked immune system that she knew can result from high levels of stress that are out of your control.

As she watched his co-workers struggle with everything from sleep, exhaustion and anger leading to divorce, PTSD and even suicide it became apparent how LIFE-SAVING the foundations she was laying down for her husband actually were, because not only was he tolerating the shiftwork lifestyle, he was thriving in it.

Andi created 911 Lifestyle once she realized the strategies her husband was using MUST become available to all Police Officers and First Responders so they can peak during crisis, recover quickly after, have energy left over for their families and become the Elite First Responders that they were born to be.