Waking up Dehydrated? What Is Your Body Telling You?

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If you are like most people, getting out of bed is not your favorite time of the day. This is particularly true when you have to use an alarm, or you did not get enough sleep. Add waking up dehydrated to the equation, and it only becomes worse. Dryness of the mouth and extreme thirst are common symptoms dehydration has, which can also disrupt your sleep and make it less satisfying.

Waking up dehydrated in the morning is probably more common than you would expect. This article explores why you may be experiencing waking up dehydrated, how dehydration affects your sleep and daily life, and how to avoid dehydration in the future.

Common Reasons You May Be Waking Up Dehydrated

Have you ever asked yourself, why do I wake up dehydrated? If so, you are not alone. There are a variety of external reasons that involve your daily habits. It could also be the result of your body’s natural loss of water each night through the humidity in your breath. Some estimate that we lose as much as one liter of water per night through our natural respiration.

Some other common causes for waking up dehydrated include:

  • Diabetes and high blood glucose levels closely link to getting your mouth dry or worse, dehydrated. High blood glucose levels make you thirsty, and when you sleep, your body is unable to quench this thirst, causing you to get dehydrated when you wake up.
  • Eating a diet heavy in sodium, or eating extra salty foods close to going to bed can also contribute to dehydration. Try to avoid processed foods that are high in sodium, and when eating a bedtime snack, try something without salt.
  • Consuming alcohol may make you feel dehydrated when you wake up. Alcohol is a big dehydrator that can lead to health issues like headaches and nausea.

consuming alcohol

  • Consuming excess amounts of sugar can also lead to increased water loss that extends throughout the night.
  • Upper and lower respiratory infections, or colds and stuffy sinuses can also make you dehydrated when you wake up. When your sinuses and lungs are congested, you have to work harder to breathe. You may even need to do so through your mouth, as opposed to your nose. This leads to a higher than average loss of water through your breath’s humidity.
  • Other Illnesses like diarrhea, vomiting, and high fever can also increase dehydration. All of these cause excess fluid loss through pores and other orifices in your body.
  • A vigorous workout close to bedtime promotes sweating, which can dehydrate you in the morning.
  • Purposely avoiding liquid consumption in the evening to prevent passing urine overnight may also lead to dehydration in the morning. It is more important to stay hydrated like drinking a glass of water than it is to sleep straight through the night without the need for using the bathroom.
  • Sleeping too long may also lead to dehydration because your body goes for too long without water or any liquid intake.
  • Hormone imbalance experienced later in life, and during the menstrual cycle, can also contribute to getting dehydrated in the morning. As our hormone release changes, so can our hydration levels. Older people often find themselves using the bathroom more at night, which also reduces their hydration level.
  • Overheating at night due to improper bedding or due to a hot and humid climate leads to sweating, which reduces hydration while you sleep. Your body naturally tries to cool itself overnight while it performs other regenerative functions, and sweating is one method it uses to accomplish this.
  • Side effects from medications, particularly antidepressants, may also be affecting your hydration. Consult a doctor if this is a persistent problem.

You Can Feel the Negative Side Effects of Dehydration Throughout the Day

Waking up dehydrated every morning is a sign that your body is not getting what it needs. When your body is dehydrated, it makes it hard to flush out toxins that you accumulate throughout the day. Being dehydrated also causes abnormal dryness of the mouth and dark-colored strong-smelling urine.

If your dehydration persists, it can lead to health issues such as exhaustion, weakness, headaches, itchy skin, muscle cramps, and a reduced amount of urine due to kidney damage. Extended kidney damage can become severe and may lead to one or both kidneys going into shock.

Severe dehydration may cause electrolyte imbalance and cardiac arrest, which can be fatal.

How Does Dehydration Interact with Sleep?

Can dehydration cause sleep problems? By now, you probably know the answer is yes. Let’s take a closer look at how dehydration and sleep interact both internally and externally.

As we mentioned above, sleep naturally dehydrates you. Does this mean getting less sleep will make you less dehydrated? Actually no, sleep deprivation can get you dehydrated for a couple of reasons. First, not getting enough sleep can disrupt the release of the antidiuretic hormone, Vasopressin, which is a crucial polypeptide associated with hydration. Vasopressin is released late in your sleep cycle, and if you do not get enough sleep, you could prevent its release. Second, insufficient sleep can cause impaired kidney functioning, and the kidneys are also key players in your body’s hydration.

Leg cramps while you sleep, also known as charlie horses, are symptoms of dehydration. If you have ever had one, you know, there is no way you are going to sleep through the pain.

Dehydration symptoms such as dryness of the mouth can also cause snoring, which often disrupts sleep and leads to hoarseness when you wake up the next day.

woman with insomnia

Can dehydration cause insomnia? Insomnia has many contributing factors that vary from person to person, but being dehydrated factors largely into the equation for some people. Dehydration makes your body work harder than necessary, and without proper hydration, the adverse side effects it produces can lead to unnecessary sleep interruptions. If you have insomnia, you are probably trying to rule out as many contributing factors as you can, so make sure dehydration is not one of them.

How to Stay Hydrated All Day and Night

There are several preventive steps you can take throughout the day to avoid getting dehydrated and all of the adverse side effects that come along with it. These tips will help you stay hydrated all day and night, so experiment with them and find out what works best for you.

1. Drink a glass of water first thing when you wake up.

We recommend drinking cold water for the fastest absorption. Your stomach pushes cold water through faster, allowing more rapid absorption to occur in the kidneys and liver. This enables more rapid rehydration, something you need after water loss throughout the night.

2. Only drink a small amount of coffee or tea until you have had one or two glasses of water.

If you are a daily coffee drinker, this might help motivate you to gulp water down so you can reward yourself with caffeine. While caffeine is known as a diuretic, a substance that makes you need to pass urine more frequently, it has very minimal effects unless you surpass 500 mg. According to the Mayo Clinic, if you have less than 500 mg, which almost everyone does, you don’t need to worry about caffeine dehydrating you more. You may consider the water used to brew as additional liquid intake.

3. Make sure you are getting the right amount of daily water.

Most people do not drink enough water in their day to day lives. Make sure you are not one of these people by drinking a minimum of half your body weight in ounces of water each day. This will help you avoid any form of dehydration when you wake up.

4. Drink a glass of water for each alcoholic beverage you drink.

Alcohol is a huge dehydrator. Counterbalancing it with water will help you to stay as hydrated as possible, given the circumstances. Also, try not to consume alcohol in excess or within three hours of your bedtime.

5. Drink water before and after exercising.

As you sweat during a workout, your body rapidly dehydrates. Make sure to counteract this and increase your fluid intake. Drink plenty of water before and after your workout to avoid dehydration later in the day.

6. Eat a healthy diet containing leafy green vegetables and fruits.

Eating well will allow your body to benefit from more hydration outside of just drinking water. Fruits and vegetables are high in water content and help your body rehydrate while it refuels with energy.

7. Keep your room fresh to prevent night sweats.

While hot and humid weather is not always avoidable, try to keep your room fresh. We recommend between 60 and 68 degrees. Also, make sure not to overuse blankets, use breathable bedding materials, and promote airflow in your bedroom when necessary.

Say Goodbye to Your Morning Dry Mouth and Get Better Sleep

Waking up dehydrated is not fun. No one likes to have a dry mouth and be stiff and irritable in the morning. If you ever ask yourself again, why do I wake up dehydrated? You now know what possible things can cause dehydration and how to combat it in the future, so you never have to be waking up dehydrated again. Consider what you have learned and start experimenting with our helpful tips and tricks today. It’s time to start getting better, more restful, and rewarding sleep every night!

Additional Resources

Emily Alexander
Emily Alexander

Emily Melynn Alexander was born on the east coast of the USA but has called Colorado home since 2000. She has a degree in English and Political Science from Metropolitan State University of Denver. She enjoys sleeping in locations all around the world.

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