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Sleep

This hydration schedule will help you sleep like a baby, experts say

Do you frequently feel sluggish and irritated for no good reason when you wake up in the morning, instead of feeling rested and refreshed?

You might be part of the one in three Americans who have at least mild insomnia. Often, we blame our inability to get a good night’s sleep on late-night technology use, work stress, or on our next door neighbor’s dog who won’t stop barking. But did you know that not drinking enough water, and not drinking it at the right time throughout the day, could actually be what’s robbing you of quality shut-eye?

According to the National Sleep Foundation, “going to bed even mildly dehydrated can disrupt your sleep” and even cause snoring and hoarseness in the morning (another good reason to force your S.O. to drink more water). Luckily, experts have identified an optimal hydration schedule that you can follow to ensure you’re drinking enough water throughout the day so that you can sleep like a baby when the time comes. Here are the guidelines you need to follow to maintain a near-perfect level of hydration throughout the day.

1. Wake-and-hydrate

Do you frequently feel sluggish and irritated for no good reason when you wake up in the morning, instead of feeling rested and refreshed?

You might be part of the one in three Americans who have at least mild insomnia. Often, we blame our inability to get a good night’s sleep on late-night technology use, work stress, or on our next door neighbor’s dog who won’t stop barking. But did you know that not drinking enough water, and not drinking it at the right time throughout the day, could actually be what’s robbing you of quality shut-eye?

According to the National Sleep Foundation, “going to bed even mildly dehydrated can disrupt your sleep” and even cause snoring and hoarseness in the morning (another good reason to force your S.O. to drink more water). Luckily, experts have identified an optimal hydration schedule that you can follow to ensure you’re drinking enough water throughout the day so that you can sleep like a baby when the time comes. Here are the guidelines you need to follow to maintain a near-perfect level of hydration throughout the day.

2. If possible, wait two to three hours after you wake up to drink your coffee

We know, you’ll probably hate us for saying this, but for optimal hydration, experts recommend that you should wait two to three hours after you wake to drink coffee. Coffee is a slight diuretic, meaning that drinking it increases your need to pee. So having coffee right when you wake up and you’re already dehydrated from eight-ish hours of no liquids, will work against you in the hydration department. If you work out in the morning, opt for drinking water instead of coffee when you wake up and when you’re at the gym. Wait to drink caffeine until after your workout. The endorphin rush you’ll get from sweating it out will be enough to wake you up. The reward of having a morning coffee once you finish your HIIT sesh might be just what you need to help you get through it.

3. Make sure you’re drinking water with all of your meals

There’s an old-time myth circulating that drinking water during meals will dilute your stomach acid, making it harder for your body to absorb nutrients. This simply isn’t true. Drinking water during meals actually helps your body in digestion, because it helps your stomach liquefy food and absorb nutrients. Consuming H2O with food could also help prevent constipation by keeping your digestive tract lubricated, making it easier for the turds to slide down when the time comes (we hope that you’re not eating while reading this). Drinking water while you eat could keep you from overeating because it forces you to take breaks from shoveling food into your mouth, and will give you some time to check in with your stomach to see if it really needs more food or if it’s just being greedy.

4. Eat plenty of foods with a high water content

If you just can’t get yourself to drink water and you restrict your daily fluid intake to caffeinated beverages and fruit juices, eating foods with a high water content is crucial for you to maintain an appropriate level of hydration. Many veggies and fruits have a high H2O content, including watermelon (great for the summer), strawberries, cucumbers, celery, oranges, spinach, and cantaloupe. The good news is that all of these foods are also highly nutritious and will supply your daily dose of vitamins along with good hydration. Although eating these foods can help those who hate water increase their fluid intake, drinking water is still the most effective and healthy way to keep hydrated.

5. Avoid drinking caffeine for a period of 6 hours before going to bed

As sleepy as you may feel when 3 p.m. rolls around, try as hard as you can to resist the urge to grab a cup of coffee or other caffeinated beverages to help you power through. Studies have found that drinking caffeine during a period of six hours before going to bed will make it harder for you to fall and stay asleep. If you really crave the taste of your favorite cup of joe, opt for a decaffeinated version instead. You can also use other methods, like a brisk walk or a quick round of high-energy squats by your desk, to help renew your energy.

6. Drink one glass of water right before bed

You might have heard that drinking before bed will cause you to have to pee throughout the night, so it’s best to avoid it. Although you shouldn’t necessarily guzzle a huge bottle of water before hitting the sack, drinking a small glass of it will do you no harm. Hydrating before going to bed will actually help you avoid waking up due to thirst or uncomfortable leg cramps (caused by dehydration) throughout the night.

This article was originally published on Swirled.com.

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