Why is “It’s 3 a.m., and I Woke Up Severely Dehydrated” Going Viral?

I’m sure many of us can relate to this scenario. It’s a hot summer evening, and you wake up in the middle from thirst. Our bodies are made of about 55% to 60% water, and we need to stay hydrated. Hydration is a key component of health and wellness (and skin health, duh). Don’t drink enough and there could be issues with body temperature, joint lubrication, organ functions, cell health and the immune system. Drinking H2O can also help prevent brain fog. In the summer we sweat more than usual, making it easy to not be hydrated enough. But water is only part of it. The body needs electrolytes, too. So, where did the saying “It’s 3 a.m., and I woke up severely dehydrated” come from, exactly? Let me explain.

Starting in 2023, influencer Amy Flamy shared how hwachae, a traditional Korean chilled fruit-and-milk dish, can hit the spot for dehydration. Flamy was one of the first influencers to showcase the dish to her followers in a TikTok that quickly went viral, now amassing 37.3 million views and sparking the “it’s 3 a.m., and I’m dehydrated” trend. In the video, Flamy explains that she woke up at 3 a.m. “severely dehydrated,” so she ordered the dish. Some online are calling it nature’s cereal. Recently, this trend has begun resurfacing and popped up on my FYP thanks to U.K.-based comedian Michael Barrymore, who added his own comedic twist to the viral sensation.

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What is hwachae?

Hwachae is a traditional Korean fruit dish typically enjoyed during the summer. It is made with a variety of fresh fruits, like watermelon, strawberries and melon, combined with jelly, milk or strawberry milk, and a splash of a carbonated drink for fizz. The mixture is served on ice to make it extra refreshing. Thousands of videos online show people recreating putting their own twist on the recipe.

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Why is hwachae so hydrating?

Hwachae uses fruits as ingredients that are high in water content, which helps to replenish lost fluids in the body. Think: watermelon and strawberries, which are rich in vitamins, minerals and electrolytes. The natural fruit sugars also provide a quick energy boost. While traditional hwachae recipes may call for sugar or honey to enhance the flavours, the primary hydrating benefits come from the fruits. For those wanting to avoid refined sugar, just skip it.

How to make hwachae using Canadian ingredients