Salt and its Effect on Sleep

Spoon of Salt and its effect on sleep

You have heard many times that too much salt is bad -- it causes water retention and can have an adverse effect on our bodies.

Salt in excess can increase your blood pressure and, even worse, put you at risk for heart disease. If that alone does not make you aware, new studies show a direct link between higher daily salt intake and the quantity of sleep you achieve each night. Salt can cause you to wake up more frequently throughout the night, and create sleep disturbances. If you find yourself taking multiple trips to the bathroom during the night, salt could be the culprit.

Salt’s effect on the body during sleep

Water retention can cause high blood pressure and prevent you from a comfortable night’s sleep. An excess amount of liquid within your body can be uncomfortable when you lie down for bed. The excess water often settles in the upper body, affecting the ability to breathe. Water retention can also be a cause of sleep apnea. Being mindful and reducing your salt intake can help you reverse these negative effects.

How much salt should I intake?

The American Heart Association (AHA)  recommends no more than 2300 mg of sodium per day. For optimal health- aim lower, around 1500mg of sodium is ideal.  Most Americans consume much more than that — an average of 3400 mg of sodium per day.

Foods that are high in fat and processed foods make their way through the digestive system slower than healthy foods like vegetables and those high in protein. Your digestive system starts and your body releases the chemical known as histamine. Histamines stimulate the production of acid that travels to your stomach to break down food. Antihistamines can make you feel sleepy, while histamines may keep you awake.

If you're going to indulge in salty foods, try to consume them as early in the evening as possible.

To reduce your salt intake:

  • Always check labels — Salt may be added to many foods you’re not aware of.
  • If you eat canned foods — Look for “no salt added.”
  • Choose low-sodium versions when purchasing sauces and condiments.
  • Kick bread — Try a lettuce wrap or whole grain tortilla that’s lower in sodium.