How water can improve your sleep

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We all know that drinking water is important. After all, our bodies are made up of nearly 60% water. However, sometimes it can be difficult to stay hydrated during the day as we go about our busy lives.

 

But did you know dehydration can actually begin to disrupt your quality of sleep? It’s true! Dehydration can lead to things like sleep deprivation, leg cramps, high blood pressure, and more.

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Below, we’re sharing our top tips to help you stay hydrated so you can get a better night’s sleep. Keep reading to learn about the benefits of drinking a glass of water before bed and staying hydrated all night long so you can start improving your sleep habits today.

 

How staying hydrated all day can positively affect your quality of sleep

When you’re getting ready for bed, the last thing you want to do is be discomforted by dehydration. If you stay properly hydrated throughout the day, here are some top benefits that can help improve your quality of sleep:

  • Regulate your body temperature: If have trouble falling asleep because you’re too hot or too cold, drinking water may be able to help you fall asleep faster. If you sleep hot, drinking cold water before bed may help lower your body temperature. On the flip side, drinking warm water or hot water may help keep you warm throughout the night if you sleep cold.
  • Prevent nocturia and other symptoms: Nocturia is the term for frequently urinating in the middle of the night. Whether you have an overactive bladder or drink a lot of water before bed, this can disrupt your sleep duration. Consistently drinking water throughout the day (rather than guzzling a ton of water at night) may help prevent nocturia, bladder infections, and overactive bladder symptoms.
  • Mental health improvements: Better quality sleep may also assist in improving your mental health. By staying hydrated, you may find you have more energy in the morning and aren’t as prone to sleepiness throughout the day.

Side effects and health issues associated with sleep and dehydration

You might be wondering how, exactly, water plays a role in how well you sleep. It’s simple: When you’re not drinking enough water, you can become dehydrated.

Here are just some of the ways being dehydrated can interfere with a good night’s sleep:

  • Nighttime leg cramps: Dehydration increases your risk of leg cramps. The risk is especially high if you exercise a lot or live somewhere very hot. That’s because the more you sweat, the more fluids and electrolytes you lose—and that can cause your muscles to cramp up.
  • Snoring: If you’re not drinking the correct amount of water throughout the day, your nasal passages can get pretty dry. This can lead to snoring at night, which can not only make your sleep worse but also ruin your partner’s sleep. (If you or your partner has a serious snoring issue, check in with your doctor to make sure you don’t have sleep apnea, a potentially dangerous sleep disorder, and health condition. Here’s how to sleep better with sleep apnea.)
  • High blood pressure: Sometimes dehydration can cause you to have high blood pressure. That’s because your blood vessels have to work harder to pump out blood when you’re dehydrated—and that can cause trouble falling asleep. Consistently staying hydrated can also help prevent heart disease and irregular blood sugar levels because your heart won’t have to work as hard to get blood to other parts of the body.
  • Excessive thirst: You may wake up thirsty in the middle of the night if you don’t drink enough water during the day. This can lead to a lack of sleep and interrupt your sleep-wake cycle if it happens regularly.
  • Brain fog: When you don’t own enough H2O, expect to feel sluggish the next day. Tracking your fluid intake throughout the day can help you improve your alertness and energy levels the next day.

Signs you may not be drinking enough water

Potential sleep problems aside, pay attention to these other signals you may need to up your water intake. The human body needs a lot of water throughout the day to support your immune system and help you get enough sleep.

You may not be drinking enough water if you have:

  • Dark urine or low urine production: This is a telltale sign of dehydration. This is how your body tells you it’s time to replenish your water supply.
  • Dry skin: Even if you use moisturizer, your skin may remain dry if you’re not properly hydrated. You may also experience a dry mouth throughout the day if you’re dehydrated.
  • Trouble focusing: Dehydration has a negative impact on the blood supply to your brain. Since water helps to improve blood circulation, you may become foggy-headed and unable to concentrate for long periods of time if you’re dehydrated.
  • Headaches: These are also linked to blood supply issues and can be caused by dehydration.
  • Fatigue: Dehydration makes the heart work harder to pump blood out to muscles, which can lead to fatigue and sleep deprivation. (Take our quiz to learn how sleep deprived you really are.)

How to drink enough water (without waking up to pee)

It’s commonly said that the human body needs eight glasses of water a day. But your exact fluid intake will vary based on individual factors like your body size, activity level, and more.

The best way to tell if you’re drinking enough water throughout the day is to look at the color of your urine. If you’re properly hydrated, then your pee should be a very light yellow color—almost clear.

Here are more tips to help you increase your water intake during the day so you’re properly hydrated. (Just keep in mind that though it’s best to consistently sip water throughout the day, drinking too much water late at night can lead to middle-of-the-night bathroom trips—and those can hinder your sleep just as much as dehydration.)

  • Stick to drinking water that’s filtered: Some cities across the United States have water with unsafe lead levels. In order to truly reap the health benefits of staying hydrated, you should try to drink filtered water as frequently as possible. Try a filtered water pitcher for your refrigerator. Brita makes great ones!
  • Use your water bottle to keep track of how much you’re drinking: If you’re a visual person, you may benefit from investing in a water bottle with lines to tell you how much you need to drink by a certain time of day.
  • Set reminders: Your phone can help you remember to continue drinking water throughout the day. We like to use water tracking apps that have a calculator to help you figure out how much H2O you need daily. They also allow you to set up push notifications to nudge you to refill your water bottle.

Hydration isn’t just important for your health and wellness—it can also affect your quality of sleep. Hopefully, you found our top tips for staying hydrated throughout the day helpful so you can start to sleep better.

 

This article originally appeared on Saatva.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org

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5 sleep tips from former US presidents

 

 

Presidents have a complicated relationship with sleep. Either they boast about how little they need (we’re looking at you, Trump and Clinton), or, like George W. Bush, they go to bed so early that even their wife makes fun of them.

As we’ve noted previously in our post on the Lincoln bedroom, it’s ironic that President’s Day has become associated with mattress sales, because at least some presidents have had extraordinarily bad luck with mattresses, starting with George Washington, who complained as a young man about having to sleep on a bed of straw ridden with “vermin such as lice and fleas, etc.” Then there was James Garfield, whose new White House mattress may have hastened his demise when its metal coils interfered with Alexander Graham Bell’s attempts to use a metal detector to find the assassin’s bullet lodged in his abdomen.

But despite those tales of presidential mattress misfortune, there are also positive sleep lessons from the occupants of the Oval Office that anyone, regardless of party or political leanings, can learn from. Here are some of the best presidential sleep habits and the science that supports them.

 

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The habit: Exercise. Adams, the nation’s sixth president, maintained a morning workout routine that involved getting up at 5 a.m. and taking either a six-mile walk or an hour-long swim.

The science: Even back then, Adams understood the benefits of a workout early in the day. A 2011 study found that people worked out in the morning slept longer, experienced deeper sleep cycles, and spent 75% more time in the most reparative stages of slumber (both mind and body) than those who exercised at later times in the day.

Another more recent study found that exercising in the early morning led to a greater decline in nighttime blood pressure than exercising in the afternoon or evening. The decreased blood pressure, in turn, resulted in a night of better quality sleep.

 

Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

 

The habit: Taking a bath. Presidential nappers didn’t just stick to the prescribed 20-minute time slot usually thought of as a “power nap.” In fact, LBJ’s predecessor, John F. Kennedy, sometimes took up to two hours for his nap, always followed by his second hot bath of the day and a fresh suit of clothes to begin his afternoon of meetings in the Oval Office.

The science:Although JFK took his two daytime baths in large part to soothe his injured back, studies suggest that taking a bath at night can contribute to a better night’s sleep. Body temperature naturally dips at night, helping prepare the body for sleep. A warm bath can help hasten that temperature drop. One study, from Gunma University in Japan, measured the effects of a hot bath before bedtime and found that those of their study subjects who had a warm bath reported better, deeper sleep.

 

Library of Congress

 

The habit: Napping. Johnson was famous for his daily afternoon siestas. After waking at 6:30 or 7 a.m., LBJ read the papers, worked until 2 p.m., took a swim or brisk walk, then put on his PJs and napped for 30 minutes. Back up at 4, he resumed what he called his “two-shift day,” sometimes working until 1 or 2 a.m.

The science:Johnson didn’t need to read our Five Reasons to Take a Nap Right Now to know that a nap of just 26 minutes can boost performance by as much as 34%, according to a NASA study. Napping helps with alertness, learning new skills, and memory processing. Daytime naps can also enhance your sex life, aid in weight loss, cut down on workplace and auto accidents, and reduce the risk of heart attacks.

Even a short, 20- to 30-minute nap can help improve mood, alertness, and work performance—which is why companies like Google, Nike, and British Airways are among the businesses that encourage napping at work. Some employers have dedicated “nap rooms,” while others have “nap pods” placed throughout the office or even encourage employees to take a quick snooze at their desks.

 

Arnold Newman, White House Press Office/Wikimedia Commons

 

 

The habit: Prioritize sleep. Like father, like son. Both of the Bushes made getting enough sleep a stated goal of their presidencies. So much so that when George H. W. Bush jetted between time zones on Air Force One, he would pop a sleeping pill to get extra shuteye.

George W. Bush also guarded his sleep, regularly going to bed as early as 9 p.m. and sleeping upwards of nine hours per night. He also rose early and was ready for his debriefings at 6:45 a.m. After his 2000 election, the younger Bush joked, “I’m trying to set the record as the president who got to bed earliest on Inauguration Day.”

The science: There’s no shortage of scientific evidence of the tangible benefits of sleep for health and life, including:

Better memory—According to the National Institutes of Health, sleeping after learning something new can actually improve your memory. (Anything new you learn is cemented in your brain during the deeper stages of sleep.)

Better quality of life—One sleep study found that people who slept six to nine hours each night reported having a higher quality of life and ranked lower for depression. Those who slept less than six hours or more than nine hours reported having a lower quality of life and had higher scores for depression severity.

More creativity—Even when we sleep and dream, our brain is still very active, connecting ideas and thoughts throughout the night. If you’ve gone to sleep after trying to solve a problem or two all day, your brain actively keeps trying to solve them while you sleep.

Improved attention span—Without enough sleep, your body doesn’t get the right dosages of body chemicals like dopamine (“the feel-good hormone”) and adrenaline. This negatively affects your concentration level and attention span throughout the day. Just one night of bad quality sleep can result in ADHD-like symptoms such as forgetfulness and difficulty maintaining concentration.

Lower stress level—When you don’t get enough quality sleep, your blood pressure and stress hormones increase. When you’re tired, you’re also more likely to become agitated and impatient, which in turn can increase stress levels. Stress can also affect your overall quality of sleep, making it harder to fall and stay asleep. More sleep and healthy sleep hygiene are key to helping lower stress.

 

Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

 

The habit: Healthy late-night snacks. Seven lightly salted almonds helped keep Obama going during his regular late-night solitude of reading and writing in the Treaty Room.

The science: Studies show that certain foods promote sleep more than others. Foods high in melatonin, like tart cherries, can help you fall asleep, while greasy foods like pizza and hamburgers are hard to digest and can keep you up at night. Here are our lists of the best foods to eat before bed and what not to eat before you hit the sheets.

So this Presidents Day, take advantage of that extra time off to get some quality shuteye. Think of it as your civic duty.

This article originally appeared on Saatva.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

 

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Featured Image Credit: Prostock-Studio/iStock.

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