Dehydration is a common cause of sleep difficulties, and far too many people don’t realize its role in their struggles to get a good night’s sleep. Adults need to drink 2.2 liters of water each day, but much of that needs to happen far before bedtime for us to avoid dehydration by the time we lie down to go to bed.
This is because sleep and stress are both very closely tied together. Dehydration can cause more stress, which in turn can make us sleepier, while poor sleep can also be a major factor in causing high levels of stress. This could well make dehydration more of a secondary issue when it comes to our everyday bedtime struggles. It’s certainly true that studies have found a link between dehydration and general feelings of tiredness and lethargy throughout the day, but we should bear in mind that there are other factors at play too.
Here’s Why Dehydration Could Be the Culprit of why you’re struggling to sleep:
Steer Clear Of Caffeine
To improve hydration levels when trying to sleep, abstain from strong ‘energy’ drinks and ensure you’re drinking enough water. Caffeine is a diuretic, which is why it makes you dehydrated in the first place. It causes the body to excrete water at an increased rate. You may not be aware of it, but any caffeine you consume will eventually find its way into your urine, which could wake you up in the middle of the night and also be the cause of dehydration which can also lead to poor sleep.
Poor Water Intake During The Day
Spreading out water intake throughout the day is an excellent way to ensure you’re avoiding dehydration at night and also minimizing energy crashes and feelings of tiredness throughout the day. If you’re groggy at work, have a few glasses of water to see if this helps. Water thins the blood and makes it easier for it to do its job for your body! It’s far better than reaching for a cup of coffee or caffeinated drink, which will only worsen matters in the long run.
Exercise And Insufficient Hydration
Like caffeine, adequate hydration is essential to keeping your body healthy and your brain functioning normally. Dehydration can lead to headaches, fatigue, and a feeling of lethargy throughout the day. If you’re exercising regularly, drink plenty of water and ensure you’re always drinking the minimum amount required by your body. Your immune system will thank you for this.
Monitor Your Sweat Loss
Sweating while exercising is a good thing, but the levels of sweat your body produces can indicate whether you’re getting enough water. If you lose about 1 liter of sweat for every 1 km run, you’ve got the balance right, but if you’re not managing this, find ways to increase your water intake and adjust accordingly until you get it right.
Avoid Drugs And Alcohol
Not only can these contribute to dehydration, but they can also mask the symptoms of dehydration. Many people never know they’ve become dehydrated because they believe symptoms like headaches and insomnia are part of the process of consuming drugs or alcohol. If you’re having a drink at night and going to bed feeling fine, but waking up in the middle of the night and having issues going back to sleep, its quite likely you may be dehydrated.
By ensuring you’re drinking plenty of water throughout the day, your body will thank you for it at night by being more restful. If you’re having trouble sleeping, then now might be the time to take a closer look at what’s causing this. By monitoring your sweat loss and ensuring you’re drinking enough water, you should find that even if dehydration isn’t the sole cause of your problem, it’s one of many factors contributing to your sleep difficulty.