Staying hydrated and getting enough sleep are at the top of the list when we’re under the weather. The doctor says, “plenty of fluids and rest,” so we drink water and tea and get our eight hours (sometimes more!). But why do we only consciously prioritize hydration and sleep then? Life is busy, but proper rest and hydration shouldn’t fall by the wayside just because we’re not sick. They are the foundation of our physical health and even just the slightest neglect of either can leave us unhappy, unfocused, uncoordinated or worse. It can even lead to getting sick because lack of sleep lowers our immune systems.
Sleep ←→ Hydration
Not unexpectedly, as core elements of our physical health, hydration and sleep are interdependent, relying heavily on each other. Researchers in a collaborative sleep study in the United States and China determined that adults who slept six hours each night had greater levels of dehydration (up to 59%!) than those who slept a proper eight hours. But are we dehydrated because we aren’t sleeping enough or are we not sleeping enough because we’re slightly dehydrated?
The researchers suspect that a hormone called vasopressin, an antidiuretic hormone that controls water in the body, may be the culprit. Dr. Asher Rosinger, an assistant professor of biobehavioral health at Pennsylvania State University in State College and director of the study, said that people who are waking up after only six hours of sleep may be missing a window where vasopressin is released, causing a disruption in hydration levels. This was even true for people who had equal fluid consumption during the day -- if these individuals got six hours of sleep per night or fewer, they were meaningfully dehydrated when compared to their well-rested counterparts.
Though Rosinger did recommend that if you haven’t gotten enough sleep, you should drink a glass of water. Likely, to correct your dehydration. Because dehydration can meaningfully affect sleep quality. Dehydration can dry out the mouth, throat, and nasal passages, causing soreness and discomfort and can also lead to leg cramps that wake you in the night.
How Our Bodies Lose
We know what dehydration and lack of sleep can do in extremes: think Tom Hanks hallucinating in Cast Away and Christian Bale wasting away in The Machinist. But what happens when you are just mildly dehydrated or getting just a bit less than the right amount of sleep? According to Science Alert, “Research shows that as little as 1 percent dehydration negatively affects your mood, attention, memory and motor coordination,” and getting too few hours of sleep can lead to poorer metabolic health including lower HDL cholesterol (the good kind that helps remove the bad kind from the bloodstream!) and higher BMI.
If all of that is true, then properly hydrating and getting the right amount of sleep can do the following:
- stabilize mood
- increase attention span/alertness
- boost memory function and cognition
- increase energy levels
- increase motor coordination
- balance cholesterol levels
- increase metabolism
- lower BMI/decrease risk for obesity
- What is the right amount of sleep? Experts recommend between 7-9 hours of sleep for a restful night. Some people lean closer to 7 or 9, while others hover in the middle at 8. Your body will let you know if you’re not getting enough, don’t worry.
- How much water is enough? There’s a lot of information out there about what’s best but most overlaps with the 8x8 rule minimum, an easy-to-remember formula for eight glasses of eight ounces each. This should easily double if you’re active throughout your day, work out, or in hot climates.
- What about sleep quality? Yes! This matters as much as quantity. A balance of the two is ideal. The National Sleep Foundation defines good sleep for adults as: typically falling asleep in 30 minutes or less, sleeping soundly through the night with no more than one awakening, and drifting back to sleep within 20 minutes if you do wake up.
- How can I improve my sleep quality? Stay hydrated throughout the day by keeping your Soma bottle within reach! Try not to eat a large meal close to your bedtime. Make sure your bed is comfortable (THIS is our favorite pillow from our friends at Leesa and helps us fall into dreamland all too quickly), and keep your room quiet, dark and cool (if you sleep hot THIS pillow is a lifesaver -- yay for Leesa). And importantly, avoid using tablets, computers, and phones in bed, particularly if you wake up. The lights on these screens are extremely disruptive to the brain during sleep and suppress the release of melatonin, the hormone responsible for good sleep rhythms.
So let’s not wait until we catch a cold or the latest flu virus to stay hydrated and well-rested. Let’s make it a priority now and every day.
For a limited time, shop www.leesa.com and score a FREE Soma glass water bottle with any premium foam or hybrid pillow purchase.
They say it’s bad luck to cheers with water but we disagree. What’s a better toast than to your good health?