I keep waking up in the night to use the bathroom. What can I do about this?
Repeatedly waking to use the bathroom is one of the most common causes of sleep disruption. The chief reason for this problem is overhydration, the result of a baseless medical mantra which you may have heard: ‘You must drink at least eight glasses of water each day to be healthy.’ I do not know who began this medical meme, but there is absolutely no data to support the idea that 8 glasses of water per day is healthy. On the contrary, overhydration (too much water) can cause significant health problems, stemming primarily from sleep disruption and, over time, the washing out of important minerals, called electrolytes. I exercise nearly every day and lose a fair amount of water and electrolytes through perspiration. Over the course of a typical day, I will drink somewhere between 20 oz. and 40 oz. of fluids (3-5 glasses), either in the form of filtered water, mineral water or green tea.
If I drank 64 oz. of water each day (8 glasses) I would suffer from overhydration and need to supplement my diet with magnesium, calcium, manganese, potassium, and sodium to avoid symptoms of fatigue, muscle cramping, and poor concentration. In addition, I would most likely need to use the bathroom between 2-3 times each night in order to empty my bladder as my body works overtime to rid my system of excess fluid. Less overall fluid intake and no fluids late at night are recommendations I make to my patients on a daily basis.
Tip: A good routine to get into is to brush and floss your teeth immediately after dinner. The small bits of food which become trapped between the teeth and gums stimulate salivation which in turns fuels the desire to eat more. Follow brushing/flossing with a small glass of purified or mineral water and then have that be the last liquid of the day . Empty your bladder just before bedtime and you will notice that you are less likely to wake up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom.
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