For the past few years, I haven't been sleeping well.

Some people take ages to get their minds to rest. For me, keeping asleep is tricky. It's a lifelong pattern, but unlike earlier periods of sleeplessness, this recent phase wasn't tied to an obvious stressor.  

To compensate for the lost morning sleep, I went to bed before the children. About six weeks ago, the insomnia became ridiculous as I averaged three hours a night for the so-called 40 winks. Many nights were 90 minutes. It was rare to get beyond five hours.

It was weirder than weird because I'm routinely in bed at the same time. My habits are good: limited evening screen time, meditation 1-2 hours a day, 30 minutes of exerted exercise 3x a week, no caffeine consumption after midday, no chocolate most days, and although I have worries like everyone, it's no more than others and fewer than most.

The research is unequivocal about the negative impacts of the lack of long-term sleep. I've also found insomniac colleagues slightly more antagonistic than most. Knowing this made me nervous and I planned to see the GP to take SSRIs to reduce the mounting anxiety. I've avoided Prozac and friends thus far, but the decision to resolve it is a marker of the despair.

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Last week, I mentioned to a bodyworker friend about my sleep concerns. He asked how much water I was drinking as dehydration will hinder the body from getting back to sleep if it's woken during the night. He recommended a glass of water before bed which I was uneasy about doing given it would wake me a few hours later to nip to the loo. 

That night, with trepidation, I drank a mug of warm water just before bed. I woke as expected a few hours later. I then found myself waking at 6am having slept a few more hours. In the days since, I increased my water consumption and am back to a full 8 hours sleep.  

A couple of months ago, I read that 80% of Americans who drink 10+ glasses of water per day self-described as 'very happy'. 45% who drank 4 glasses a day were equally joyous as did 34% of people who drank 2 glasses a day. The unhappiest mob were the no H2O drinkers.

What else can I say about my experience with hydration? Previously, it resolved low-grade headaches and Google found an article in The Conversation stating that 1% dehydration makes you grumpier, less focused and clumsier.  It also makes you dizzier when moving quickly to a standing position. 

The recommended daily water intake is 2.7L for women and 3.7L for men. Here's my plan: start the day with a mug of warm water, another at mid-morning and refill a 1L Thermos for the afternoon making it 2.5L per day.

Sleep deprivation is the pits and a strong motivator. If I make a billy-goat track between my desk and the lav, and my subscription to Who Gives a Crap needs replenishing sooner, so be it.

When you next spend a penny, compare yours to this. 

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Happy hydrating.

Happy sleeping.


Wendy Nash | Kindly Cut The Crap