Dr Hilary Jones gives advice on how to sleep with coronavirus
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Drinking water throughout the day is important to avoid dehydration – but it can hinder health if done late at night. The common habit often leads to frequent bathroom trips throughout the night. By interrupting the sleep cycle, the body may suffer long-term hormone fluctuations that could put the heart in danger.
It is a well-known fact that the body needs seven to eight hours per night for optimal health.
This is because sleep helps the body control hormones which are implicated in stress and metabolism.
If sleep disturbances become chronic, the body is likely to experience frequent fluctuations in hormones.
These hormonal disturbances are responsible for high blood pressure, and other metabolic complications such as type 2 diabetes and obesity.
All-cause mortality is also increased in men with sleep disturbances.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, these problems are frequent in people who sleep less than seven hours per night.
Unfortunately, the average person in the UK gets roughly six hours of sleep per night, due to various factors such as frequent trips to the bathroom.
Aqua Pura’s hydration expert, Doctor Stuart Galloway, of the University of Stirling, said: “When it comes to evening hydration, it is recommended to drink between 300 and 500 ml of liquids two to three hours before going to bed.
“This amount of fluid at the right time will help you meet your daily water intake, whilst not disturbing your sleep.
“Too much fluid before bed can result in excess urine filling your bladder while you sleep. This causes a rise in adrenaline which wakes you up during the night, forcing you to get out of bed to use the toilet.”
The expert explained that because kidney function slows down at night, urine isn’t processed as quickly by the body in the same way it is during the day.
“However, as you get older, ageing kidneys cannot concentrate your urine as well so your bladder fills up faster with a more dilute urine which can mean more often a disturbed sleep if fluid is ingested too close to bedtime,” added Doctor Golloway.
With this in mind, it may be preferable to get in more of your water intake mid-morning and mid-afternoon.
Avoiding caffeine and alcohol before the head is equally important to prevent trouble falling into a deep sleep.
Like water, these stimulants should also be avoided at least three hours before bed.
The NHS recommends maintaining regular sleep hours by going to when you feel tired and getting up roughly at the same time.
This can increase the amount of sleep a person gets each night and prolong the quality of sleep.
The health body adds: “If you are lying awake unable to sleep, do not force it. Get up and do something relaxing for a bit, and return to bed when you feel sleepier.
“If you often lie awake worrying about tomorrow, set aside time before bed to make a list for the next day. This can help put your mind at rest.”
Because restlessness often results from prolonged sedentary behaviours, a regular exercise routine is also recommended.
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