When you consider how many different factors can negatively affect your sleep, dehydration isn’t usually high on the list. We all know that pillows, mattresses, room temperature, pre-bed routines, and body positioning play significant roles. But if you’ve been having trouble getting quality sleep and can’t find a culprit, you may want to explore dehydration as a possibility.
Keep reading to find out how dehydration affects your sleep and what you can do about it.
It is possible to be dehydrated even when you don’t feel thirsty, so relying on thirst alone to guide you is never a good idea. The consequences of dehydration can range from mild to severe, and include headaches, dizziness, confusion, fatigue, organ failure and even death in extreme cases. At night, dehydration can disrupt your sleep so you wake up not rested and still tired. It can also lead to a dry throat and nasal passages that lead to snoring and a raw, parched mouth in the morning. Trying to sleep while dehydrated can also lead to leg cramps and muscle spasms that will keep you up.
Surprisingly, dehydration actually increases the urge to use the bathroom in the middle of the night!
It makes sense that sleeping in a dry environment can dehydrate you faster than an environment with higher humidity levels. If your bedroom is particularly dry, you can become dehydrated while you sleep, or if you already are dehydrated, the situation will be made worse. And if you sleep in an environment that is conducive to dehydration, the sleep hormone melatonin may be affected, which can throw off your circadian rhythm and lead to poor quality sleep.
In 2018, the journal Sleep published research that found adults that sleep six hours per night or less have a higher chance of being dehydrated than those who slept longer.
Some believe these findings indicate that poor sleep symptoms like fatigue, headache or muddled thinking that many people experience in the morning may be caused by dehydration during the night.
The research was performed on around 20,000 Chinese and US adults. Those who claimed to sleep six hours a night or fewer across both groups had a 59% higher risk of being dehydrated than those who slept seven to eight hours regularly. The key may be a hormone called vasopressin. While you sleep, your pituitary gland uses vasopressin to signal the kidneys to retain fluid. Typically, more vasopressin is released later on in the sleep cycle, which is a period the shorter duration sleepers don’t reach.
It’s important to start the night well hydrated because you will lose fluid simply through the act of sleeping. The act of breathing leads to fluid loss, and this is exacerbated if you breathe through your mouth or snore during the night. As mentioned above, sleeping in a dry environment can increase fluid loss, as can exercising intensely in the evening or drinking alcohol to excess before bed.
It’s easy to assume that guzzling copious amounts of water before bed would be the solution to staying hydrated and having a more restful sleep, but that might not be the case. You may end up making multiple trips to the bathroom during the night, which would disrupt your sleep anyway.
It’s better to think of hydration as a whole day type of activity and not just think of it when you are faced with going to bed.
Some useful tips you can use include:
Staying hydrated at night to avoid the negative effects of dehydration can be challenging, but it’s definitely within reach. At SAMINA, we have a wide range of products that can help you have a holistic, natural sleep and avoid sleep-related dehydration. For pricing or any other questions, request more information here.
Water: You Gotta Have It
By Eliana Raver
The late American author, salesman and motivational speaker, Zig Ziglar famously said: “Money isn’t the most important thing in life, but it’s reasonably close to oxygen on the gotta have it’ scale.” We feel the same way about H2O! Next to air (oxygen), water is the most precious resource on Earth.
Did you know that when we are born, our bodies are roughly 75% water—[i]about the same percentage of water on Earth? Just as water is vital in sustaining life on our precious Blue Planet, so it is also necessary to our own health, well being and supports our bodies in achieving healthy sleep. We are constantly losing fluids throughout the day and night so keeping a balanced hydration level is a crucial, and often overlooked, part of staying healthy. Not to mention how healthy we look when we remain hydrated. Staying hydrated actually plumps up your skin cells for younger looking, smoother skin.
We all know theoretically that water is important—but why? Water has many indispensably roles within the body. There is not a cell in your body that doesn’t require water to properly function. From eliminating waste, lubricating your joints, to supporting healthy sleep practices, hydration maintains our body temperature and therefore, is one of those “gotta have it” items for our very survival.
“Dehydration can affect brain structure and function… Prolonged dehydration can lead to problems with thinking and reasoning.”[iii]
It’s not surprising that dehydration also has a detrimental effect on your sleep health, drying out the throat and sensitive mucous membranes in the nose, or even leading to muscle cramps that cause you to lose valuable rest.
As the National Sleep Foundation puts it,
“In addition to the frustration of fragmented sleep, being dehydrated during night can compromise your alertness, energy, and cognitive performance the following day[iv].”
Unfortunately, insufficient sleep may itself cause further dehydration. This was shown by a recent cumulative analysis of two separate studies; the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and the Chinese Kailuan Study. Altogether, the studies included over 20,000 people. The ensuing results speak for themselves:
“…Specifically, people who reported that they regularly slept for 6 hours or less each night were 16 to 59 percent more likely to be dehydrated than those who slept for 8 hours a night[v].”
Water is our lifeblood—quite literally, making up 90% of the blood that flows in our veins[vi]. As freshwater streams sustain life on earth running through capillary channels to main river arteries, so our more concentrated circulatory systems mimic this natural pattern—and water is at the center of it all.
For the remaining hot days of summer, try to focus on the importance of this simple resource and give your body the hydration it needs for balanced health, true rest and healthy sleep. In virtually every language and culture, there is a toast to one another’s health— to your water consumption, essential hydration, and a healthy night’s sleep we say, “cheers!”
[i] “How Much Water Is There on Earth?” USGS, www.usgs.gov/special-topic/water-science-school/science/how-much-water-there-earth?qt-science_center_objects=0#qt-science_center_objects
[ii] Mann, Denise. “Even Mild Dehydration May Cause Emotional, Physical Problems.” Web MD, www.webmd.com/women/news/20120120/even-mild-dehydration-may-cause-emotional-physical-problems#1
[iii] Mann, Denise. “Even Mild Dehydration May Cause Emotional, Physical Problems.” Web MD, www.webmd.com/women/news/20120120/even-mild-dehydration-may-cause-emotional-physical-problems#1
[iv] “The Connection Between Hydration and Sleep.” National Sleep Foundation, www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/connection-between-hydration-and-sleep
[v] Sandoiu, Ana. “Sleep Deprivation may Cause Dehydration.” Medical News Today, Fact checked by Gianna D’Emilio, Published Wednesday 7 November 2018, www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323595.php
[vi] McIntosh, James. “Fifteen benefits of drinking water.” Medical News Today, Reviewed by Karen Cross, FNP, MSN Last updated Mon 16 July 2018, https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/290814.php