THE CONNECTION BETWEEN HYDRATION AND SLEEP
We all know that our hydration levels affect the way we feel during the day, but have you ever thought about how it affects us while we sleep?
Not drinking enough water throughout the day can significantly affect the way you feel and function. A lack of fluids can make you sluggish, irritable, and off your game. Therefore there’s no doubt our hydration levels affect our quality of sleep too. In fact, hydration plays a crucial role in how well (or not) you sleep at night. Simply not having drunk enough water the day before could cause a terrible nights sleep for you.
DEHYDRATION AND SLEEP
Do you feel sluggish and irritated for no good reason when you wake up in the morning? Being dehydrated before your nighttime slumber can disrupt your quality of sleep more than you might
think. If you identify with the following symptoms, then increasing your water intake may just be the answer!
- Dry throat, lips and nose: Being even mildly dehydrated can cause the mouth and nasal passages to become dry, giving you a parched throat and causing you to snore more (affecting your partner’s quality of sleep as well as your own!). As we breath during our sleep, we loose some body fluids which leads to the dryness. This is especially true if you breathe through your mouth, however if you breathe through your nose while you slumber, you won’t lose nearly as much water from your body.
- Nocturnal Cramps: Ever woken up in the night with awful cramp in your legs? Being dehydrated before going to bed can cause painful nocturnal cramping. Cramping is likely to disturb your sleep and keep you awake, leaving you with a poor quality of sleep.
- Gout: The risk of a painful, sleep-killing attack of gout (crystalized uric acid crystals in the joints, particularly the big toe) rises at night and the early morning. This is possibly due to dehydration, as it prevents the flushing out of uric acid in urine.
- Cognitive Performance: Being dehydrated in the night can affect your cognitive function because your brain hasn’t received enough water. Water is necessary for the body to detoxify itself during the night. During sleep, the body clears our toxins in the brain. Sleeping while dehydrated has been shown to affect the detoxification process, potentially causing some of the mental effects of sleep deprivation the following day.
HYDRATION AND SLEEP
Want to wake up feeling rested and refreshed? Well, a restful, hydrated sleep requires more than guzzling a bottle of water just before going to bed. There are a few things you can do to ensure you stay properly hydrated and get that quality shut-eye we all dream of.
- First Thing: Drink a glass of water as soon as you wake up. Through respiration we lose a significant amount of water when we sleep, so hydrating at the first chance is a great way to replenish any lost fluids. Drinking a delicious, ice-cold glass of water can help to motivate you even more to stay hydrated. What is more, a glass of cold water first thing in the morning means your body has to use more effort to warm up the water, which helps boost your metabolism.
- Little and Often: Practice spreading your fluid intake throughout your day to maximise the odds of sleeping soundly at night. Take small sips throughout the day. Waiting until bedtime is never a good idea as it sets you up for multiple nighttime bathroom trips (if this happens frequently to you, it may be a condition called nocturia) making it difficult to achieve quality sleep and making it tougher to wake up in the morning.
- Cut down the Caffeine: If you want a restful sleep, avoid drinking caffeinated fluids as best you can, especially before bed time. Not only is caffeine a stimulant which interferes with sleep, but it dehydrates you as well. A cup of coffee before bed time is a recipe for disaster!
- Juicy Food: Eating foods with a high water content is crucial for you to maintain an appropriate level of hydration. Many veggies and fruits have a high H2O content, including watermelon, strawberries, cucumbers, celery, oranges, spinach, and cantaloupe.
Understanding the impact of your daily fluid intake on your nighttime slumber will go a long way to improving the quality of your sleep. We hope you have found our top tips useful. Sweet dreams, and drink up!