One of my biggest sleep pet peeves is having to use the bathroom in the middle of the night. At two or three in the morning, leaving the warmth and comfort of my bed feels like a nightmare, no matter how badly I need to go. But those days of interrupted rest might be behind me, if a trick I just heard about works. It turns out that drinking sea salt water — a little-known natural remedy for better sleep — might just keep me from having to make that late-night trek down the hall in the wee hours.
Can I drink salt water before bed?
When we think of bedtime drinks, a mug of tea or warm milk usually comes to mind. But sea salt water might just have those classic sleepytime sips beat. Why? It contains minerals called electrolytes, which are responsible for helping keep the fluids in your body in balance. Jonathan Steele, RN, tells Prevention that if your fluids are unbalanced, your body will try to correct that —often with midnight trips to the bathroom.
So how does adding sea salt to your nightly glass of water help keep your body’s fluids in balance? And isn’t drinking a glass of water the opposite of what you want to do, if you want to avoid a bathroom trip in the night?
“Unprocessed [sea] salt helps the water to get into all of our cells,” he says. Drinking sea salt water helps your body avoid any excess build-up of fluids that will result in the sudden urge to go at all hours of the night.
How much sea salt should I put in my drinking water?
Want to try it? It couldn’t be easier! As the name suggests, sea salt and water are the only two ingredients you’ll need to make this pre-bedtime beverage. But beware: A little sea salt goes a long way. Steele recommends adding a small pinch to an eight ounce glass of water and sipping it 30 minutes before bedtime to keep your bladder from waking you up in the night (relief at last!).
While this is a small amount, you’ll want to be aware of your overall salt intake. The American Heart Association says that women over 50 should aim to limit their salt intake to no more than 1,500 mg. per day, and if your salt intake is too high, then drinking sea salt water at night could cause your heart to pump fast, making it harder to fall asleep.
If drinking sea salt water for better sleep means I have to cut salt out of my diet somewhere else so I can catch those Zzzs, I’ll do it. For me, it’s worth the trade-off. No more nightmare 2 AM wake-up calls for me, thanks!