Experts warn that a low sodium diet could ruin sleep quality

Cutting back on salt might seem healthy, but experts warn that it could disrupt sleep patterns [1].

Per the New York PostJames DiNicolantonio, a cardiovascular research scientist at Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute, underscores the significance of sodium in the body’s functions.

He explains that low sodium levels can disrupt the body’s ability to maintain proper hydration, affecting sleep. “People that were put on a low salt diet, because of the activation of the sympathetic nervous system, had a worsening in their sleep.”

Sodium is a key player in regulating fluid balance within cells. When levels drop too low, it can lead to dehydration, triggering symptoms like thirst and frequent urination – both of which can disrupt sleep.

In addition to hydration, sodium also influences the production of hormones like aldosterone and vasopressin, which help regulate water retention and blood pressure [2]. When sodium levels are low, these hormonal fluctuations can disrupt the body’s circadian rhythm, the internal clock that governs sleep-wake cycles.

Low sodium levels can also trigger the body’s stress response, leading to heightened cortisol levels, a hormone associated with wakefulness [3]. This can significantly disrupt sleep, making it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night.

While the exact mechanisms underlying the relationship between sodium intake and sleep quality are still being investigated, the evidence suggests that maintaining a moderate sodium level in the diet may be necessary for promoting healthy sleep patterns.

However, moderation is key. Experts stress that this does not mean people should start loading up on salty snacks and processed foods.

The goal is to strike a balance and consume sodium in moderation, avoiding excessive salt intake while also ensuring that levels remain adequate for overall health.

Several strategies can help individuals who are concerned about their sodium intake maintain a healthy balance. These include opting for fresh, whole foods over processed items, reading nutrition labels carefully and seasoning meals with herbs and spices instead of salt.

It’s also important to pay attention to individual differences and consult with a healthcare provider before making any significant changes to dietary habits, especially for those with existing health conditions like hypertension or kidney disease.

While reducing sodium intake can benefit heart health, considering its potential impact on sleep quality is essential. Individuals can support their cardiovascular health and sleep habits by maintaining a balanced approach to sodium consumption and prioritizing overall health and wellbeing.

[1] https://nypost.com/2024/05/03/lifestyle/this-healthy-diet-choice-could-ruin-your-sleep-doctor/
[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK470339/
[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK541120/

Photograph: amenic181/Envato
The information included in this article is for informational purposes only. The purpose of this webpage is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.