The midnight bathroom break

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I had fitful sleep attempts last week. I fell asleep fine, but woke up at regular intervals every hour and then lay there with dizzying thoughts racing in my head.  My mouth was dry and my breath caught in my throat. A headache plagued the back of my eyes, my arthritic joints throbbed and my leg muscles were throbbing. The Tylenol PM obviously was not doing its job.

Because sleep eluded me, exhaustion ruled my body.  I was crabby and miserable, bordering on depression while researching “lack of sleep” on the Internet.

It was noted that if a person does not get enough sleep, the immune system could be disrupted with less resistance to illnesses.  During these COVID times, the opposite needs to be true. I needed to get more sleep!

Studies have shown that people sleeping less than seven hours a day have a greater tendency to gain weight and a much higher incidence of obesity.  Additionally, if a person misses out on deep sleep, there is an increased risk of diabetes whereby the lack of sleep changes the way the body processes glucose.  This change in the way the body produces this energy can have a direct effect on the person’s energy level during the day. 

It was reported that sleep deprived people can have reduced levels of leptin, the chemical that makes a person feel full.  Add that to the increased levels of ghrelin, the hunger stimulating hormone, and an eating machine that is never satisfied is born.  (Yes! That is my excuse!)

Sleep deprivation that goes on for a long time appears to be associated with an increase in heart rate and blood pressure and higher levels of chemicals that can cause inflammation.  This can put extra strain on the heart and greater pain in those arthritic areas. 

Yikes!  The side effects of poor sleep could be devastating and a likely excuse as to why I am in the shape that I am in.  However, as I was struggling with on again off again sleep, my dry mouth was especially troubling.  It felt as though I had hiked through a long desert and desperately needed a drink of water.  Thinking about it, I DID need a drink of water…my mouth was parched!  I finally got up out of bed and hungrily gulped down two full glasses of water. After lying back down in my comfy bed, warm comforter covering me, and pillow enveloping my tired head, sleep finally enveloped me.  All I needed was to drink more water!

Always curious, I researched the effects of lack of water. Sure enough, it was associated with a reduced quality of slumber.  I semi-scientifically deduced that my poor sleep was associated with a lack of water that can also cause headaches, joint pain and muscle aches.

I had previously learned many life lessons.  On this occasion, I learned that if I drink enough water, my sleep deprivation could be a thing of the past. With this enlightenment came thoughts of ways to accomplish this.

Research showed that the basic “eight cups of water a day” is a good starting point. Because this would not include water that can be found in fruits and vegetables such as lettuce, celery, cabbage, watermelon and cantaloupes that would be considered bonus water in my eyes, this is the rule I am going to use. My very large cup of morning tea contains at least 16 ounces of water.  At work, we have a water cooler that, YES, keeps water cool!  If I drink one eight ounce cup every hour, that should suffice.  Or, in addition to my morning tea, if I drink 16 ounces of water at three meals a day, and another big glass of water before bedtime, my daily intake would be met.  I can be creative and “mix it up”, and can even put a drinking water ap on my phone for extra fun!

My sleep-deprived nights will be a thing of the past, with the exception of having to get up to go to the bathroom because of all of the water that I drank…

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