Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Salt and Sleep

According to Dr. Vitiello, an internationally recognized expert in sleep and sleep disorders in aging, low levels of sodium in the blood cause blood volume to decrease, and the sympathetic nervous system becomes more active in order to compensate. That causes sleepers to wake up more often and have difficulty going back to sleep.

A research study looked at the sleep of nine 23 year old men who were placed on low, normal and high sodium diets.
When they were on low sodium diets, about 0.5 grams a day, the men woke up during the night nearly twice as often and got about 10 percent less sleep than when they were on normal diets, which included 2g daily.
When they were on a high sodium diet, 5g a day, the men slept longer and woke up less at night than when they were on normal diets.

If you have been on a self imposed restricted salt diet (do not go against doctor's orders)and want to experiment with increasing it slightly, unrefined sea salt is said to be a much better source of salt than the chemically derived table salt commonly used, as sea salt contains many other beneficial compounds including minute quantities of potassium and magnesium.

However, scientists have cautioned, that people with high blood pressure should continue to keep their sodium intake low, because the benefit from a low sodium diet with respect to blood pressure outweighs its detrimental effect on sleeping.

5 comments:

Padmanaban said...

If you feel tired or sleepy during daytime, then there may be possibilities of Sleep apnea. It is the worst case and one cannot find it themselves. Consult your family members or your partner who sleep along with you regarding your problem. If you had Sleep apnea then proper care should be taken to cure the problem.

Admin said...

It should be interesting to treat sleep disorders by increasing the salt intake, but I don't think this will help patients with sleep apnea syndrome. Their cause (the obstruction of the airways) doesn't have any correlation with the salt quantity in their bodies.

Cynthia said...

Hi, I have noticed when I have quite a high salt intake, that I dont feel as tired and only seem to need 4-5hrs, waking refreshed and not feeling tired the following day. I have low blood pressure. I also have a minor heart condition (a leaky valve) which may or may not be relevant. I have been tempted to purposefully increase my salt intake so that I can achieve more each day (as normally I need at least 9-10 hours sleep.) But still not sure if that would be a good idea.

nimsy said...

Mmm...Not sure about that one...

techsumi said...

Never new that salt could help me get some sleep.. I found some other natural remedies for insomnia here