Most of us understand that staying hydrated is essential. We have vague memories of learning in our high school health lessons exactly why water intake is so vital to maintaining good health; but if asked to expound on this point, many of us would be hard-pressed to recall the details.
Fortunately, we're here to help. In this post, we'll refresh your memory and include some tips on keeping your hydration on point without wrecking your sleep.
First, let's bust some myths.
First, most of us have heard at some point that we should drink eight glasses of water per day to stay hydrated. Because we like hard and fast rules, our culture has latched on to this myth with a vengeance. Unfortunately, however, it's just not true. Everyone's body works a little bit differently; additionally, things like temperature, climate, and activity level further impact how much water we need to drink to maintain hydration throughout the day.
Instead of trying to discover a fast rule that works for everyone (as if such a thing could exist), you should start by determining how much water your body needs to maintain baseline hydration.
The basic equation for determining this is by dividing your body weight in half. So, if you weigh 200 pounds, you would need 100 ounces of water per day if you're not doing anything strenuous. If you're working out, hiking, at a high altitude or outdoors a great deal, you're going to need to add to those 100 ounces. (US News)
The good news is that once you've worked your baseline hydration needs into your regular schedule, it's easy to add more as needed.
Another myth about proper hydration has to do with the color of urine. Somewhere along the line, people started believing that they could judge their hydration levels based solely on the clarity of their urine. In reality, the situation is more complicated than that. Multiple factors influence the color of your urine, and recent studies have concluded that "Practitioners should caution against using urine indices to diagnose or monitor dehydration because the urinary output is a response rather than a reflection of (tightly regulated) blood tonicity."
Instead of obsessively checking the color of your urine, other bodily signs may be better indicators. Thirst and dry mouth are among the more obvious symptoms, along with headaches, lack of sweat, and flaking skin. If you learn to listen to your body's rhythms, however, you're often able to keep on top of your hydration to the extent that you rarely experience these issues.
If proper hydration isn't already a natural part of your lifestyle, you can easily make a few small changes to right the ship.
- Remember that all drinks count. The myth that some beverages hydrate and some don't is pretty much bunk, particularly when it comes to coffee. So drink your water, your coffee, your tea, your juice, your milk, and all your other favorites. It's all good!
- Consider increasing fruit intake. While fruit is indeed no substitute for a beverage when it comes to hydration, it can always act as a supplement. Some fruits are more hydrating than others, though, so it's a good idea to do your homework on this.
- Be proactive. If you're just getting started with pursuing good hydration levels, start by increasing mindfulness and accessibility. You can program alerts in your phone that will remind you to drink (or download an app like Aloe Bud). You'll also want to carry a full water bottle with you when you leave the house in the morning. Try to make sure it's empty by the time you come home.
- Just drink. In the end, it is possible to overthink this. The easiest and most effective way to increase your hydration is to drink more.
So what are you waiting for? Go and get a drink!
The Connection Between Hydration and Sleep
According to the National Sleep Foundation, hydration levels affect sleep more than we know, and going to sleep dehydrated can negatively impact our ability to sleep well. Even mild dehydration worsens during the night as we lose moisture to deep, open-mouthed breathing. The result is dry throats and nasal passages, which leads to parched throats and severe snoring! Neither condition is conducive to restful sleep.
Loading up on large glasses of water right before bed isn't necessarily the best answer, however, since—well, you do the math.
One of the most straightforward solutions to this problem is to establish a steady hydration schedule. A regular intake of liquids throughout the day decreases your dehydration levels at night, putting you in a better position to go to bed with the assurance that you won't suffer sleep-depriving complications during the night.
Does that mean we should never take one last drink before bed? Not necessarily.
You might have heard that drinking before bed will cause you to have to pee throughout the night, so it's best to avoid it. Although you shouldn't necessarily guzzle a huge bottle of water before hitting the sack, drinking a small glass of it will do you no harm. Hydrating before going to bed will actually help you avoid waking up due to thirst or uncomfortable leg cramps (caused by dehydration) throughout the night. (Thrive Global)
While a small drink right before bed might not go amiss, the best option is to establish a mindful routine of hydration throughout the entire day.
We Can Help
Here at Nest Bedding, we remain committed to helping you get the best sleep possible, every night.
While we can't promise to follow you around reminding you to drink water (because we don't want to annoy you—or get arrested), we can guarantee to provide high-quality mattresses at the best possible prices!
To hear more about our premium products or check them out for yourselves, please stop by one of our showrooms any time. We'd love to meet you, answer your questions, and facilitate your purchase in any way we can without hovering, breathing down the back of your neck, or annoying you in any other way.
We may remind you to have some water, though.
Gotta keep hydrated!
If you have further questions or comments about hydration and sleep, please feel free to contact us at any time.
We look forward to hearing from you!