Is dehydration waking you up at night?

Did you know that if you do not drink more fluids than what you lose during the day, you could wake up during the night? Well, it’s true.


Dehydration can happen to anyone, anywhere, and at any time. It can happen when you don’t drink enough, through heavy sweating, heat, exercise, airplane travel, or the occasional hangover. Mild to moderate dehydration isn’t dangerous and can be corrected by drinking more fluids.


How does it affect your sleep?

Dehydration is in its most basic form is a lack of water in your body. A lack of water in your body is a result of your body losing more fluid than it is receiving. When you are asleep, you have no way of drinking or obtaining fluids. Therefore, it is natural for your body to lose more water than it receives during sleep.


Interestingly research shows adults who sleep only six hours per night have a higher chance of being dehydrated, compared with those who sleep 8hrs.


When you are dehydrated, it restricts the amount of melatonin your body can produce by reducing the number of essential amino acids. Melatonin is known as the sleep hormone and it is produced during your waking hours and is vital for a healthy sleep cycle. Low melatonin interrupts your sleep and wake schedule – known as your circadian rhythm.


Insufficient melatonin can make it difficult to fall asleep at night and stay asleep.


Dehydration can also cause snoring. It does this by drying out the nose and throat, and can also cause thickening in the mucus lining which interrupts your breathing. Often this is how people wake themselves up at night by coughing or struggling to breathe.


Early signs of dehydration

If you are experiencing dry lips and mouth, you are already dehydrated. This is independent of the weather outside. The aim is to prevent those symptoms from starting and to keep your body’s hydration level up at all times.


Signs of mild to moderate dehydration during the day

We all have busy days and no doubt have experienced some or all of these symptoms at some stage. Here are the common signs and symptoms of mild to moderate dehydration:

  • Having a dry mouth
  • Feeling fatigued or sleepy all the time
  • Having increased thirstiness
  • Having a decreased urine output with urine that is more yellow than it usually is
  • Having dry or flaky skin
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Having a headache from low blood volume in the brain
  • Crying without having many tears


What to do about it

Dehydration has a way of sneaking up on you. It may also be causing you to experience headaches or migraines and muscle cramps at the end of the day. The best way to prevent dehydration is to consume non-caffeinated fluids at regular intervals throughout the day. This will not only prevent you from waking up feeling dehydrated, but it will promote a healthier lifestyle overall.


With our bodies made up of over 60% water, it is important that we replenish lost fluids so we continue to function optimally. Hydrating regularly throughout the day will help you have a more complete sleep at night. Water is the best option for hydrating during the day.


For men, the recommendation is 13 glasses a day. For women, it is 9 glasses. This is including the water you get from eating – so you don’t have to consume 13 full glasses a day!


To help you with this you may want to consider how you can have easy access to water when you are awake. You may want to keep a bottle of water in your car, and on your desk or near you wherever you work. You can even keep a small bottle in a handbag and refill it throughout the day.


If you are like many of my clients who are rushed off their feet during the day and forget to drink water regularly, I suggest drinking an oral rehydration solution like Hydralyte, with dinner. This will help you replenish the missing minerals and rehydrate your body faster than drinking water alone. It is a smaller amount to drink, as drinking lots of water close to sleep time could leave you waking to go to the bathroom because your bladder is full.  


In conclusion, if your body is well hydrated, it is better prepared for quality sleep and I decreases the chance of night waking. Your overall health and quality of life will also improve as your sleep cycle becomes healthier.


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