So, let’s start with the first of the three secrets to waking up like new. Eat, drink and move around! These three things have the most significant effect on our bodies, which is the basis for everything else we need, including sleep. If you don’t master water, movement, and food, you’ll struggle with everything else in your life regardless of the endless suggestions.
(If you’ve not read Part:1 of 3 SECRETS TO WAKING UP LIKE NEW, you should read that one first. You’ll find it HERE.
You might not think I’m a great example to use for struggling with food. Anyone who knows me is aware that I’m 5’9 and about 118 pounds for 15 years, before that was 115. I look like a walking billboard, but when I went from sleeping like a baby my whole life, to suddenly unable to sleep, everything I ate had a different effect on me. I craved cookies and sugar and was hungry all the time. I gained wait around my waist. (stress weight) and found I was less productive than ever.
In a year’s time, I noticed changes in my body that blew me away. But after researching sleep—in-depth and applying it to my life, I became the sleep expert and managed to sleep like a baby again; for the most part. I still wake up more often than ever, but I’ve learned how to get through it now, and when I wake up, 95% of the time I go right back to sleep. I don’t crave the sugars and I’m not hungry all day because my body is not looking for energy to make up for lack of sleep.
Remember that the great responsibility we hold for ourselves, family, and friends, includes having fun along the way while we learn. And in no way are these three suggestions the lone saviors. When it comes to sleep, avoiding blue light at night, establishing a bedtime routine, integrating herbal teas, applying oils, exposure to sunlight in the day, relaxation methods, eating correctly early on, playing an instrument, and being creative before bedtime are solutions many find helpful.
Think of all this information like college: you didn’t get everything in the first semester. You began with the basics!
Water: hydration impacts the way we feel and function throughout the day, but most forget how it affects the nighttime bliss. Water could actually be what’s robbing you of quality shut-eye? It’s now known that our biological clock stimulates thirst in the hours prior to sleep. It’s our body’s way to prevent dehydration. Water regulates every part of us, and without the right amounts, nothing in our body will function properly. It’ll shut down – causing health problems we can easily avoid with a glass. So, think hydration and keep reading.
Are you avoiding water at night to prevent getting up to use the restroom? Remember, we can sleep up to a third of our lives. Dehydrating at one-third or even one-fourth of our existence is seriously a large percentage.
Are you afraid that waking up to go the restroom will wake you up for hours once you’re up? This was my biggest fear, but I worked through it. First, I hydrated and expected night time parties with my pillow, but it didn’t’ take long before my body adjusted with the help of a snack and just feeling amazing because I was drinking more water. Go figure: our bodies are only made up of how much percentage of water? According to H.H. Mitchell, Journal of Biological Chemistry 158, the brain and heart are composed of 73% water, and the lungs are about 83% water. The skin contains 64% water, muscles and kidneys are 79%, and even the bones are 31%. Wow!
DO YOU BLAME STRESS FOR LACK OF SLEEP?
Off the topic of water, but one connected, do you blame stress for your lack of sleep? Do you see no sleep solution because it’s stress?
Many people mistake stress as the reason they don’t sleep. But this isn’t quite true. Stress can, indeed, prevent sleep. And what stress does to us during the day can easily permeate into the night. Our bodies protect us if we allow it. And sleep is critical. It’s possible to combat some of the daily stress and tell the evening side-effects to bugger off while you get your shut-eye! Stress is a whole other book – but as we just learned, starting with the basics of water, movement and nutrition will answer a few questions that will also help any kind of stress you might be feeling. FYI: not drinking water causes more stress at night.
In my case, when I started drinking more water before bedtime, it allowed my stress to relax rather than be that much more irritated. Stress was a factor but dehydration was stirring up the stress rather than vice versa. I delt with the stress too, that’s another book!
Let’s take a look at what happens when we’re dehydrated:
- Sluggish – brain fog – less alert – less energy.
- Irritable – dry body means an unhappy body.
- Off your game – being tired is a bummer and a logical reason to put you off your game.
- Snoring at night – when nasal passages are dry, snoring increases.
- Persistent bad breath – Again, water cleanses the body, thus flushing it out.
- Fatigue – physically and mentally. Dehydration makes the heart work harder to pump blood out to muscles.
- Constant illness – water cleanses our body; therefore, dehydration causes organs not to function, which leads to sickness.
- Constipation – moisture is vital to keeping your stool soft. When you don’t poop right, many other areas of your life suffer; and on top of it, losing weight is much harder.
- Poor, dry, or flushed skin health – dry skin is not usually 100% caused by dehydration, but poor skin health caused by dehydration can cause plump skin to un-plumb, which has a dry appearance and feel. It’s why skin creams work so well, as they treat the surface.
- Sugar cravings – the body doesn’t always know what’s missing, and it tries to repair the damage. Sugar is energy, and dehydration will cause a craving for energy.
- Leg cramps – especially for those who exercise because the more you sweat, the more fluids and electrolytes you lose; hence, the more fluids you need.
- Headaches – circulation is off when dehydration sets in, which can result in headaches.
- Bags under the eyes – be beautiful and hydrate!
The National Sleep Foundation Quote: “Many people realize that their level of hydration can affect the way they feel and function throughout the day. A lack of fluids can make you sluggish, irritable, and off your game. But hydration also plays a critical role in how well (or not) you sleep at night. Understanding the impact of your daily fluid intake on your nighttime slumber will go a long way to improving the quality of your sleep.”
Water and sleep are a two-way street, so going to bed even mildly dehydrated can cause many problems.
Here’s a surprising fact: we can lose up to 1 liter of water each night! Surprised? Think about it: if you weigh yourself before bedtime, then again in the morning, your weight difference will decrease depending on your body composition and metabolic rate. Mine averages 1.5-2 pounds each night. Which is, voila, a liter of water.
So, if you’re not losing pounds a night, you’re probably not hydrated enough in the day, and your body is saving the moisture (Using a humidifier can change our moisture loss at night, so can temperature).
When your mouth and nasal passages are dry from dehydrations, what comes next? For some, sleep-disruptive snoring, a parched throat, and hoarseness by morning typically occur.
So, unless by chance you’re one of the few that enjoy seeing the Egyptian Pyramids without water in your backpack, you might want to re-think the value of water as a sleep enhancer. You should no longer go to sleep without drinking, than take a long walk in a hot desert without some H2o.
Losing as much as a liter each night explains why we typically wake up thirsty.
Drink a good 12oz of water, my friends, first thing in the morning. If you’re one of those who grab coffee first, consider having water before. Obviously, one of these options (coffee or water first) is better than the other—better for the water gods, better for your mom, better for my vacuum. But most of all, better for you!
But the proof is in the pudding that drinking water before the coffee is best for the body.
If needed, take my course on SuperPower Habits. You’ll learn a fast and painless way to change your habits in the morning and simply shuffle the water and coffee around.
How do we lose fluids at night?
- Fluid loss happens just by breathing at night.
- You lose less fluids when breathing through the nose while sleeping.
- Breathing through the mouth causes more loss than the nose.
- Sleep apnea and snoring trigger further fluid loss.
- A warm bedroom is a factor in extra fluid loss.
- Exercising late in the day without enough hydration influences more loss while sleeping.
- Drinking excessive alcohol can exacerbate fluid-compromising scenarios, and add to tired or lethargic feelings the next day.
Now, I bet you think you can guzzle a gallon before you go to sleep and solve the problem from a dry day at the office? Come on, it’s like eating once a week. Does it make sense? Hydration is a process that warrants the right amount of water throughout the day and night.
- Hydration improves mood, energy, and alertness as it boosts metabolism and brainpower.
- Balances hormones.
- It helps us lose weight. Okay, that’s pretty all right!
- Allergies and asthma can be linked to dehydration.
Our body requires drinking fluids regularly throughout the day, and that means fluids without sugar and caffeine.
But how much water should we drink? It’s a myth to say 8 glasses of water, but it’s a fair average. It all depends on your lifestyle, body size, and so on. The easy way to tell is by the color of your urine. It should look almost clear without any color at all. But when you see clear urine, it doesn’t necessarily mean you can cut back on the mugs of water; it just means you’re on track.
Waiting until bedtime to do all your drinking sets you up for nighttime nocturia, which equates to less quality sleep and is tougher to wake up in the morning.
I can’t tell you how many people work in an environment that prevents them from drinking the recommended amount of water in the day. I wish we were bolder as human beings in times like this. But I do get it: jobs are a first priority, stress is high, and we push to keep up – no one wants to be the one known as “Bathroom Guy or Girl.” But what the heck: you matter more! A crucial need cannot be ignored; we need to dazzle our bodies with care.
Put the worry aside – and with a bit of practice, plan your hydration to match your schedule. As I mentioned, please start with the recommended amount, and then follow your body’s needs as you acclimate it to your own schedule. Yes, that means you can regulate your body for loo visits to fit a busy schedule.
Some fun ways to a Hydration Game include:
- Eat more vegetables and fruit. They’re high in water.
- Drinking a glass of water with every meal.
- Hydrate well before and after a workout.
- When you feel hungry, drink. Our bodies are often mistaken thirst for hunger.
- Make that tasty “spa water” we all love by adding in fruit and citrus slices, mint leaves, parsley, or cucumbers to a lovely pitcher of water. It’s pretty, it’s fun, and tastes good. Even my teen son loves it.
- Drink warm or room temperature water when you can, but not ice cold. I know that’s a hard one for many – but if you get used to it, it’s guaranteed to benefit your body. It helps digestion and circulation (Heat allows the circulatory organs to carry blood more effectively) and overall assists bodily functions. It clears the sinuses and helps with your body’s weight loss process by firing up your metabolism, especially when warm water is drunk first thing in the morning with fresh lemon juice. It further clears toxins, so it’s a pain relief (Warm water increases blood flow to the tissues, allowing muscles to relax. How cool).
When exercising, cold water is okay, since it enables the body to cool down the body – but if you’re like me, room temperature is preferred even when exercising.
Tips on how much water we need to drink and how to manage it from the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies:
Women need approximately 91 ounces daily from beverages and foods. Now take into consideration this is just an average. If you’re active or pregnant, more fluids are required daily.
Men should need about 125 ounces. Special note of warning: if a man is pregnant or nursing, I’d call the doctor and scientist right now!
Keep in mind: it’s an individual thing, as water requirements vary from person to person. The amount of water depends on several factors, including our weight, activity level, stress level, climate or temperature, and our diet. A reliable rule of thumb is to take your body weight (in pounds) and divide it by 2. This is the number of ounces of water that you should be drinking each day. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you’ll need 75 ounces of water per day. Divide then by 8 to calculate the number of 8-ounce glasses you should be drinking.
As you can see, water isn’t simple. It can take time to train your body to new things. When I took my own advice and began drinking more water, the annoyance of running to the loo every hour was discouraging – but I soon discovered my body adjusted, and trips to the bathroom became much less frequent. Plus, I felt like a million dollars when my nights were filled with dreams and soft awakenings just from proper water intake.
So, my friends, drink and make your own plan. Let your body guide you. At first, you’ll need to count and keep track of the water you drink. You see, your body might fight the desire to increase the amount. Not all experience this, but many do.
If you’ve been dehydrating yourself for a while, years even, suddenly hydrating will feel uncomfortable, won’t taste great, and you’ll get tired of going to the loo with what feels like every few minutes. But in about three weeks, things will begin to settle.
You’ll start craving the water, you’ll get used to going to the bathroom, but as well, you’ll stop running to the bathroom as much, and your body will begin craving the water without your permission.
But, if you’re not careful, oh how easy it is to unknowingly drink less and less returning to the same old dehydrated state. In fact, it’s the same as when most diets slide backward. The secret is to relax – and when you have increased your intake, pay attention to your habits for about 6-12 months to ensure your “water autopilot” is trained and working. Then check yourself every year.
Tips on how to drink more water
- Set timers.
- Use pitchers.
- Count how many times you fill your water bottle.
- Mix it up and add slices of fruit, lemon, berries, and citrus wedges. I personally love cucumbers and oranges!
- A big secret is repetition and anything weird you can add to the mix. For me, weird was a bunch of parsley just for the color. A common and very yummy addition is cucumbers. Walk into any expensive spa and they might have a beautiful display of fresh water for clients loaded with cucumbers. It just tastes good! If you fill a water bottle or pitcher, do it every morning at the same time and again before eating lunch. The habit of filling will increase the habit of drinking.
- Again, remember fruits, veggies, and soups count, too. Watermelon, yum. Cucumbers aren’t only good for your whole body but are great for hydration.
- If you’re not drinking filtered water, be sure it’s a good choice. Many cities have terrible drinking water. Do some research before you increase your intake of water that might have harmful things in it.
- Drink water with all your meals.
- Drink warm water.
- Drink water right before bedtime. Start small to manage your body’s perfect balance. If drinking a full glass wakes you up for the bathroom, then drink half a glass to start with as you go to sleep. Find your perfect recipe. Some need no water before sleeping when getting plenty in the day.
- For those who cannot part with their sugary drinks, start by mixing water into the drinks and increase the water more each week, thus diluting the sugars.
Okay, you did it, you’ve read through part 1 and 2. In part 3, we will cover movement. See you there. (I’ll be posting Part:3 Sunday, September 6th)
Notes on drinking more water each day:
- SleepFoundation, The Connection Between Hydration and Sleep