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Can drinking water (or not drinking enough) affect your sleep?

Can drinking water (or not drinking enough) affect your sleep?

Water is vital for life. You can’t go a single day without drinking water. Staying hydrated is essential for the proper and expected functioning of the human body, especially when the weather is hot.

In coastal and tropical regions where the summers remain, water is like oxygen to people for most of the year.

Water is mainly thought of as a source of health and nutrition, and several studies have proven the relationship between sleep and hydration.

It is commonly observed that being dehydrated can make it difficult for you to sleep, and lack of sleep can cause dehydration. On the other hand, excessive fluid intake can lead to frequent urination, which ultimately disrupts sleep.

What is Dehydration?

When your body loses a much more significant amount of water than it gets, it is known as dehydration. Conversely, when your body’s typical water level is dropped, its mineral balance is upset, changing how it functions.

Around 75% of a healthy human body is made up of water. It acts as a lubricant for joints, eyes, aids in digestion, removes waste and harmful toxins from the body, and keeps your skin fresh and glowing.

The most known and obvious cause of dehydration is not taking enough fluids to replace the water we lose. In addition, the weather conditions can cause dehydration, the amount of physical activity you do (especially in hot weather), and your food.

Dehydration can also occur due to a disease, such as continuous vomiting and diarrhea or excessive perspiration caused by a fever.

Association between Sleep and Water

An adequate amount of water is necessary for your body to function normally. The reason for this is that lack of fluid intake can have diverse effects on your sleep cycles, digestion, and cell growth.

Lack of enough fluid intake can result in the following symptoms, all of which can impair sleep:

Muscle cramps:

Dehydration can cause muscle cramping, which can cause severe tightness of the calf or foot muscles, waking someone up amid the night.


Headaches and migraine attacks can make it difficult to fall and sleep through the night.

Muscle Spasm:

Muscle spasms can be a side effect of dehydration, making it difficult to fall asleep or might wake you up in the middle of the night. But, according to a study review published in 2019, muscle mass contains 76 percent water.

Mouth Dryness:

A dry mouth can also create an incredible amount of discomfort, resulting in making sleeping difficult.

Does drinking plenty of water disrupt your sleep?

Having too much water before going to bed can affect your sleep. As a result, you may have to wake up several times in the middle of the night to urinate. There’s even a term for it — nocturia — which can be a more significant issue for people who can’t get back to sleep after going to the bathroom.

Drinking too much water, especially late at night or close to bedtime, might disrupt sleep. In addition, some older investigations revealed that the kidneys filter more blood when the person is lying prone. 

Lower water levels in your body and electrolytes can create an electrolytic imbalance that can lead to dehydration.

Muscle cramps, dizziness, elevated blood pressure, excessive thirst, and a continual lack of energy are all signs of dehydration.

If you go to bed thirsty, you might have difficulties sleeping. Because dehydration can produce nocturnal leg cramps, limb movement, and pain, you may wake up several times during the night. In addition, melatonin, a sleep hormone that regulates your circadian rhythm, or natural sleep cycle, can be affected by dehydration. Chronic dehydration lowers the number of amino acids in your body that help you sleep.

Excessive daytime drowsiness can be caused by a variety of conditions, including dehydration. However, sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, narcolepsy, idiopathic hypersomnia, Kleine-Levin syndrome, and fidgety legs syndrome are the most prevalent causes of excessive daytime sleepiness.

Affect on sleep patterns if you are dehydrated

It is a known fact that hydration affects our mood and activities throughout the day. For example, headaches, dizziness, and sluggishness might occur when we don’t drink enough fluids. However, many people are unaware that dehydration can have a notable impact on sleep cycles. In reality, there’s a link between dehydration and excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS). 

Severely dehydrated people frequently feel excessively weary, lethargic, or exhausted. Other dehydration symptoms, such as headaches, dry lips, nasal passages, and muscular cramps, make sleeping difficult and affect overall health and daily activities.

Proper and regular drinking of water and intaking of fluids keeps you fresh and active throughout the day. Dehydration can cause long-term side effects on your body and can affect your organs. Do not think like when you get thirsty; you will drink water, check on your hydration status and keep a water bottle beside your desk at work to remind you that it is a part of your meals and snacks.

In addition, compared to sleeping 8 hours, a short sleep duration is connected with a greater risk of dehydration in American and Chinese people. People who slept 6 hours or fewer per night were 16–59% more likely to be dehydrated than those who slept 8 hours. Both population samples supported these conclusions.

Factors affecting sleep and hydration 

There are a few more things that can influence hydration and how it affects sleep.

Sweating during sleep

According to a study, if you sweat too much at night, you can lose a significant amount of water, contributing to dehydration. Therefore, if you’re a night owl, it is recommended to create a more relaxed sleeping environment. For example, lowering your thermostat to a comfortable temperature at night — which is typically lower than a daytime temperature. 

Breathing through the mouth At night

Mouth breathers may undergo insensible water loss. According to research, heavy mouth breathers release 42 percent more water than individuals who breathe through their noses.

Excess caffeine intake

Caffeine Consumption Caffeine can function as a moderate diuretic (as well as a stimulant), delaying your capacity to get a deep, peaceful sleep. Caffeine should be avoided six hours before night, according to the Sleep Foundation. If it helps, pick a motto like ‘go caffeine-free after 5 p.m.’ or ‘nix it six hours before bed as a strategy.

The most apparent strategy to stay hydrated is drinking plenty of water throughout the day and avoiding or restricting dehydrating substances like caffeine, tea, and alcohol.

Additional sleep research suggests that poor or insufficient sleep can lead to dehydration, aggravating the dehydration-poor-sleep cycle. Sleep deprivation or poor sleep quality, according to this study, can influence the synthesis of the antidiuretic hormone vasopressin, which is essential for hydration. Dehydration has also been linked to an increased risk of disorders affecting the kidneys, necessary for appropriate hydration.

Dehydration and sleep apnea

Sleep apnea is characterized by loud, chronic snoring, exhaustion, and forgetfulness. Patients frequently wake up coughing or gasping for air because they are unable to breathe. The condition affects 18 million people in the United States or one in every 15 persons. It can have a significant detrimental influence on one’s job, relationships, and overall quality of life. Sleep apnea, if not treated timely, can lead to death in certain people. It can also be related to an increased risk of heart attack, high blood pressure, and diabetic problems.

Here’s a fascinating fact to consider. Increased glucose levels were discovered in one research of adults of average weight who slept 6.5 or fewer hours each night, indicating hormonal alterations that could lead to weight gain in the future. In other words, sleeping less than average recommended hours of sleep may impact weight gain in the future. In addition, because the human mind closely links the need for rest and food, the study discovered that insufficient sleep could generate a mental desire to consume more calories.

If you wake up with a headache every day, life might be difficult – and you may have a sleep issue. The headaches may be tension headaches or indeed migraines. Morning headaches affect 15 to 74 percent of sleep apnea sufferers, according to research. Obstructive sleep apnea is the most frequent disorder linked to morning headaches. People who have daily morning headaches are two to eight times more likely to have sleep disturbances, and those who suffer from sleep apnea have a higher chance of severe, recurring headaches. Scientists have discovered the relationship between melatonin, serotonin, and the hypothalamus of the brain.


Dehydration is linked to many changes in body homeostasis, both physiological and psychological. In addition, dehydration has also been shown to harm subjectively perceived sleep-related metrics in other studies.

Consult your doctor if you’re concerned about frequent dehydration, poor sleep, or numerous midnight excursions to the bathroom. Examining your scenario might help you figure out whether you have an underlying medical condition that could be causing your symptoms. Your doctor may also provide particular dietary and water intake suggestions.

Written by HealthRadar360

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