I’m continuing my series on sleep and children. Can you tell that it’s an issue at my house? Sleep deprivation in children has serious short-term and long-term side effects, including moodiness, decreased alertness, weight gain, diabetes, cancer and an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Many people are surprised to discover that dehydration has some similar short-term side effects, including mental confusion, fatigue, and cramping. Proper hydration is not only essential to your health, but it also plays a big role in your quality of sleep. Find out how good hydration affects your kid’s health and learn how to tell if they’re properly hydrated.
Removal of Toxins and Waste Products
One of the most important ways that good hydration affects your health is by allowing your body to remove toxins and waste products from metabolism. Every day, the food you digest gets broken down, and some of those byproducts are harmful. Staying hydrated makes it easier for your body to eliminate those toxins. Good hydration also makes it easier for your kid’s brain to get rid of abnormal proteins and other waste products.
Dehydration is a major cause of headaches and muscle cramps. When you’re little ones are well-hydrated, they’re less likely to develop a headache or frustrating cramps in their legs that could keep them up at night. Proper hydration also keeps your mucous membranes and skin moisturized from the inside, so you’ll have less irritation in your nasal passages and throat.
Creation of Memories and Faster Thinking
When you’re well-hydrated, your brain can do its work. At night, this includes processing all of the short-term memories from your day and connecting them with the memories already stored in your neurons. Your brain also uses this time to sort through and discard irrelevant information.
This is so incredibly important in children’s developing brains! Being well-hydrated allows your brain to make new connections. The result is that when you wake up well-rested in the morning, you’re ready to start with an alert and creative mind. You’ll have better cognitive performance, more accuracy in your problem-solving and improved reasoning and reaction skills.
Quality sleep depends on a number of things like laying on the right mattress for your individual body type, eating healthy foods and getting enough water throughout the day.
Proper hydration may be the most important of these. When your body is well-hydrated, you can avoid frustrating problems that are often worse at night. Some of those problems include leg cramps, a dry throat and dry nasal passages. Being well-hydrated allows your body to go through good sleep cycles. This includes the REM sleep that promotes a sense of feeling rested, alert and energetic when you get up in the morning. You’ll be able to fall asleep faster and stay asleep when your body is properly hydrated.
How to Stay Hydrated Throughout the Day
If you try to make up for dehydration by chugging water just before going to bed, this strategy will backfire. Instead of your children hydrating themselves and sleeping well, they’ll be up every hour or two to use the bathroom. It’s better to drink water throughout the day. Start your day with a glass of water. This eliminates the lack of fluids from the overnight period. Every hour or two, drink another glass of water.
Have a glass of water with each meal. It’ll help you feel full, and it’s better for you than a sugary drink. Consider using a reusable water bottle with ounce or liter markings in order to track your water intake. You can also choose healthy bedtime snacks that contain a lot of water. Some good options include watermelon and other melons, cucumbers, fresh apples, and citrus fruits.
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