Roughly 60-70% of your body is composed of water. Having the slightest imbalance of hydration can impact your health from your urinary system to your nervous system. Recent findings indicate a direct correlation between dehydration and interrupted sleep. Staying hydrated through the night takes more than setting your water bottle on your nightstand. It presides in having your water bottle beside you throughout the day, changing a few simple habits, and keeping an eye out for any warning signs you may be dehydrated.
Dehydrated Through What We Eat And Drink
It’s common after a poor night’s sleep to seek out foods and drinks in the morning that are purported to wake us up and give us a boost. Yet several foods and liquids we put into our bodies are likely to exacerbate the problem and perpetuate a cycle of inadequate sleep. Foods like donuts, muffins, candy and energy bars are dehydrating, requiring our bodies to use more water and electrolytes to break down those complex sugars and carbs. In fact, the more processed the food and sugars the more water your body depletes, contributing to your overall dehydration. Yet avoiding those saturated fats, processed sugars and carbs won’t do it alone. Best avoid those energy drinks (even the sugar-free ones) and it’s probably a good idea to stick to one cup of coffee. Coffee does have its health benefits. It increases your body’s level of antioxidants, keeps us more alert, and benefits brain health. However, just like alcohol, coffee is a diuretic, prompting increased urination, and causes calcium to be depleted from the body and passed through urine.
Just as you should avoid those donuts and pancakes in the morning you’d best avoid those complex carbs and sugary desserts at night. Not a bad idea to taper off on your alcohol consumption as well. Similar to coffee, alcohol not only depletes calcium from your body but also several other minerals such as magnesium. When vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes are drawn out of our bodies and passed through our urine it increases the irritation of your bladder and induces prompt and vigorous excretion. At night this stirs us from sleep with an unignorable urgency to urinate. There’s also evidence that suggests depleted levels of magnesium and calcium can induce restless leg syndrome.
The Contributors To Restless Leg Syndrome
Restless leg syndrome is considered a sleep disorder. Research suggests there are many contributors to RLS, among which alcohol is a known trigger, as is caffeine. The main cause of RLS is a when part of the nervous system produces an urge to move your leg or causes involuntary cramping or twitching of the muscles. There’s a strong correlation between RLS and insufficient levels of magnesium and calcium in the body. Those who are treated for RLS are often advised to take magnesium supplements as a natural remedy versus a prescribed drug. The medications prescribed for RLS, as well as most sleep aids, have a wide range of side effects. Dry mouth, dry throat, and diarrhea are among the most dehydrating effects of hypnotic sleep aides and RLS medications to be aware of.
Dehydration And Snoring
Having a dry mouth, throat, and irritated nasal passages through the night can make the tissue in your throat sag and your tongue swell, causing partially obstructed airways to induce snoring. This may be exacerbated if your jaw opens and further obstructs your airways. In addition, breathing through your nose, with your mouth closed limits how much moisture you exhale. When sleeping that could be accomplished easily by laying in the right position to ensure your head is properly propped up.
Another way to ensure you don’t snore is to eliminate as many allergens as possible. The most common allergens correlated with snoring are dust and dust mites. Ensuring you have a well-dusted bedroom and clean bedding may do the trick. Regularly wash your sheets and pillowcases. Throw your pillow in the dryer on fluff every few weeks to filter any lint or dust from them. Vacuum your window screens and dust off your fans (especially your ceiling fan if you have one). Change the filters for your HVAC regularly as well. Clear your nose before you go to bed as you’re far less likely to snore if your nasal passages are open and hydrated. Perhaps sleeping with the windows open or putting a humidifier in the room is something that would work well for you. Yet if the issue persists then you might take a closer look at your mattress.
How A Mattress Contributes To Dehydration
In a recent study over 35 percent of people admitted to snoring. Among the most common causes of snoring are dehydration, sleeping in an unsupportive position, and high levels of allergens. Two of those could be correlated to your mattress. An old mattress may contain a build up of sweat and dust mites leading to allergies, congestion and increased snoring. An old mattress that’s seen better days may also no longer be as supportive as it once was, especially if it’s not properly supporting the curve of your neck and spine. For this reason, experts at BedTester.com note that it’s best to switch out your mattress roughly every seven to ten years to ensure a good night’s sleep, especially since the needs of your body and physique change the older you get.
The Hormone Irregularity
Both being dehydrated and sleep deprived can lead you to wake up on the wrong side of the bed, feeling irritable and off your game. From muscle weakness and fatigue to headaches and impaired cognition, the negative consequences are varied. Yet how interconnected those symptoms are with inadequate sleep requires a closer look. A recent study on hydration and sleep revealed that adults who sleep an average of 6 hours a night had significantly more concentrated urine and were more likely dehydrated compared with those who sleep 8 hours a night or more. The study observed that the hormone vasopressin may play a role in the correlation between insufficient sleep and dehydration. Vasopressin is a hormone that acts as an antidiuretic and regulates your body’s water levels in different manners during the night and day. To quote Asher Rosinger, assistant professor of biobehavioral health and anthropology at Penn State, “Vasopressin is released both more quickly and later on in the sleep cycle. If you’re waking up earlier, you might miss that window in which more of the hormone is released, causing a disruption in the body’s hydration.”
The Misconceptions Of Proper Hydration
The more you drink the more you’ll urinate is something of a misconception. The principle is to drink as much water as you are able throughout the day so that your urine appears as clear as possible. Your bladder can hold quite a lot of liquid, but remember that your bladder is not the only part of your body that is retaining water. We are mostly made up of water. The purpose of the bladder and the kidneys is to flush toxins and wastes from our body. When your urine is concentrated with those toxins which haven’t been adequately flushed from your body throughout the day those high concentrations will naturally irritate your bladder. That irritation is likely to stir you from sleep and force you to get up and go to the bathroom. That’s throwing off more than just your circadian rhythm. It could also lead to a variety of other health issues, from kidney stones to kidney disease.
Health Effects Of A Poor Night’s Sleep
There are direct correlations between not getting enough sleep to dementia-related illness such as Alzheimer’s disease. Yet a poor night’s sleep not only influences the state of your mental health but your physical health as well. There’s evidence linking irregular sleep to medical conditions such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
All of the contributing factors of dehydration are easily correlated to disrupted sleep patterns and insomnia. Our daily habits and diets not only influence our sleep but the health of our environment as well. Reducing the number of pollutants we put in our bodies by examining our diets and lifestyle choices is just as important and reducing the indoor air pollutants we may be breathing in. Ensuring our water intake is adequate and well monitored is the first step towards enhancing the overall quality of your nights and days to come. When you think about, both hydration and sleep are basic interconnected needs that are essential to survival.
Jacob Hatch is the author and founder of Hydration Anywhere. He has been actively writing about drinking water since 2013. These days Jacob spends most of his time investigating water related news, studying environmental issues, reading health studies, and reviewing products like water bottles and water filters.