Not many things are worse than waking up in the middle of the night and you don’t know why. Still, waking up super-thirsty even though you drank a glass of water before bed is more common than you thought. However, the cause for that is not always dehydration, and neither is diabetes in case you feel scared.
In this article, we’ll talk about the main causes of waking up thirsty in the middle of the night. We’ll start from the mildest causes and walk you up to a serious condition that requires attention from your doctor.
Wake Up Thirsty in The Middle of The Night: 14 Causes And Solutions
Waking up thirsty can feel annoying as pouring water while you’re half-asleep can feel inconvenient at least. However, if it happens frequently, you need to find what’s causing it.
1. Dry Air
Our room’s ambient can provide us with better sleep. That’s why experts recommend to cool down the room temperature so that it will help you fall asleep and wake up rested. Rooms with a temperature between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit can promote more restful and restorative sleep, and will help you wake up more relaxed.
However, without a humidifier, open windows, or proper cooling or heating system, your room’s air may become dry.
Sleep experts, as well as agencies such as The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), suggest that keeping room humidity between 30 and 50% is the best for sleep. In addition to that, your room won’t be humid enough to be appropriate for mold development.
That said, using a humidifier with essential oils will help you fall asleep easier and with aromatherapy. There are options that provide lavender oil, which can be affordable and easy to find.
Another way to avoid breaking the bank with a humidifier is by using a water-soaked blanket that you can put over a radiator in the winter. That should help with dry air in the winter months.
Lastly, there’s nothing wrong with keeping a glass of water next to your bed if your air in the room is dry.
Although dehydration isn’t always the cause of waking up thirsty, very often, it can happen. According to a study most of our body is composed of water which is why we should drink water regularly to stay hydrated.
About 20% of daily water intake is generated through fruits, vegetables, and other foods.
You’ll need more water if you work out vigorously and more than an hour a day, or have a physically-exhausting job that is performed outside. Additionally, if you’re sick and experience symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea, you’ll need to drink more water to make up for the loss of fluids, salts, and electrolytes.
Children and the elderly may not have a clear picture of how much water is enough to satisfy their thirst. That’s why it’s necessary to be attentive and ensure they’re taking enough water.
The best and only solution you can do is to drink enough water. Don’t take heavy meals through the evening and keep track of how much water you drink. There are even apps such as Drink Water for Android and iOS, which will notify you when it’s the time to drink water. You can also drink sports water, which is rich in electrolytes, and help you with water if you exercise daily.
Lastly, remember not to drink too much water before bed, as it can cause you to urinate frequently throughout the night.
Some medicines may result in dry mouth and excess thirst, especially if you take them before bed. Some of them can even rise the glucose in blood. Are some of these medicines on the list?
- SGLT2 inhibitors
Keep in mind that some antihistamines can also result in excess thirst. For example, if you drink Benadryl or Loratadine for hay fever or other allergies, there is a possibility you’ll feel dehydrated or just thirsty enough to wake up in the middle of the night.
If the medicines are meddling between you and healthy sleep, you need to talk to your doctor about changing the dosage. Some medicines may be necessary for your help, while some medicines simply do you more bad than good. Don’t remove medicines from your routine, or add them without your doctor’s permission.
4. Excessive Alcohol Consumption
Alcohol can be a dehydrating drink in excess amounts. Being a diuretic, it causes people to visit the bathroom more often and urinate, making for the fluid loss. With that in mind, excess alcohol consumption in the night can result in excess dehydration and thirst.
A lot of people mix the alcohol with other drinks which masks the buzzing effects of alcohol, leaving many people blind to the consequences until they’re too drunk to realize. However, if you wake up all thirsty in the night, that can indicate you had a few glasses too many.
Another consequence of alcohol that leads to excessive thirst is a hangover. What to do in that case?
Also Read: How Does Alcohol Affect Sleep?
Once the alcohol starts breaking down, you may feel hungover. The body releases chemical acetaldehyde which causes excessive thirst, but it can also have additional psychological impacts.
If you’re certain you’re hungover, you can replenish the electrolytes and fluid by drinking water or a herbal tea, as well as sports drinks. Don’t force yourself to exercise.
If you feel that your alcohol consumption is beyond you, perhaps it’s time for a lifestyle change and abstinence that will prevent you from using it.
Tobacco intake and excessive smoking can lead to excessive thirst, even in the night when our body is resting. Smoking changes certain metabolic functions in our body. One of them is affecting how much saliva our salivary glands produce.
If there’s not enough saliva, we will feel thirsty as our mouth, gums and throat won’t feel enough moist. In the night when we sleep, our salivary glands are taking a breather too.
Note: It’s important to note that excessive smoking results in even thicker saliva, which prevents moisture of mouth in the proper way.
Additionally, if you have a habit of smoking weed, it may cause you to feel more dehydrated than tobacco would, according to experts.
Smoking is one of the biggest addictions in the world, and to be able to get rid of it, you need to practice abstinence. Reducing smoking in the evening and before bed, can be one way of taking the necessary steps to take it.
However, if you struggle, then you should consider talking to your doctor about medication that can help you stop smoking without big consequences.
Also Read: How to Sleep Without Weed?
6. Sodium-Rich Diet
Fast foods are usually rich in saturated fats and sodium which makes you feel more thirsty, especially in night. If you’ve been out on a dinner or party, you probably drank a soda or other drink that can’t satisfy your thirst, without realizing it.
Even a study confirms the acute change of thirst and fluid retention due to sodium-rich foods.
Lifestyle changes in diet can help you improve problems with thirst in the night. Introducing more protein and vitamin foods will help you get the needed water from the actual foods. Eating less salt and spices can also help you regulate the sodium levels. Salt can cause water retention in the body which just makes you thirstier in the process.
7. Breathing Through the Mouth
Some people are simply unable to breathe through their nose when sleeping or are simply not aware that they don’t. When we sleep, we reduce producing as much saliva as it does when we’re awake, as a mean to save and replenish energy.
However, when we breathe through the mouth and there’s not enough saliva produced, our gums, tongue, mouth roof and throat become dry and sore, often resulting in thirst.
The first step towards solving this problem is identifying it. No one knows that they’re sleeping with their mouth open unless someone tells them or they wake up with dry mouth all the time. Breathing techniques are just some of the solutions for mouth sleeping. Remember to talk to your doctor about it too.
8. Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that causes a blockage of airflow resulting in excess snoring and leaves a person waking up, gasping for air. Sleep apnea patients are also mouth sleepers so their mouth often becomes dry.
Severe obstructive sleep apnea patients need to use continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine to get a constant airflow through the night. However, this device can only worsen the dry throat in the night, as well as thirst. Researchers found that heating humidity such as the one from CPAP machines can make the thirst worse.
To overcome this, you can talk to your doctor about better quality devices that can help with sleep apnea management, without drying your mouths to the point you will feel excessively thirsty. Study shows that one of the behavioral changes to obstructive sleep apnea may include excessive thirst.
9. Dry Mouth
Some people have dry mouth, a condition also known as xerostomia where salivary glands in the night don’t produce enough saliva to keep the mouth, throat, and gums moist. This can happen for several reasons, such as a result of certain medication, aging, hormonal changes, and radiation therapy for cancer patients.
Dry mouth makes it even worse in the night when the salivary glands are at rest anyway, so people often wake up thirsty and unable to fall back asleep until they drank enough water.
Also Read: What Causes a Dry Throat at Night?
Don’t forget to drink enough, not too much water, before bed. Also, talk to your doctor about stimulants that could boost your salivary glands to produce enough saliva to make your mouth moist.
10. Exercising Before Bed
Exercising through the day is great, but the same doesn’t apply for the evening. The reason for that is because exercising stimulates our metabolism and raises body temperature.
Higher body temperature demands more water to replenish the loss of fluid. However, if we unconsciously don’t drink enough water before bedtime, our organism will get just enough fluids for a limited time and require more as you’re sleeping.
Know More: Pros and Cons of Exercising Before Bed
A good idea is to work out in the morning and take a power nap to feel better. Heavy exercising at night can increase your need for water, even if you think you drank enough water. Also, try avoiding eating larger meals before bed if you exercise at night.
11. Perimenopause and Menopause
Women’s reproductive hormones estrogen and progesterone help regulate the levels in the fluid of our bodies. With that in mind, they’re also responsible for controlling the level of thirst women experience.
Women who experience perimenopause and menopause, at some point in their life, are aware that their body is undergoing serious hormonal changes that affect their lifestyle, whether they want it or not.
With that in mind, women shouldn’t be surprised for waking up thirsty all of a sudden in the night and should keep a water bottle near a nightstand.
They documented their findings in a study finding that postmenopausal study subjects experienced more thirst than premenopausal, as compared to their exercising habits.
Women in perimenopause should talk to their doctor about potential solutions and hormones they could be taken to balance out the hormones. During perimenopause and menopause, the body consumes much more water and needs more fluids to stay moist.
Consider finding creams that may work with your skin and help you keep your skin moist, and allowing it to breathe. Also, don’t forget to drink water when you feel thirsty.
As we listed most of the reasons for waking up thirsty, let’s take a look at the scariest of them all, diabetes mellitus that can cause a person to get extremely thirsty over a small amount of time.
When the body is unable to process too much sugar, kidneys work extra hard and force you to urinate too. Frequent urination also rids you of fluids and electrolytes which results in excess thirst.
Other diabetic conditions such as central diabetes insipidus, dipsogenic diabetes insipidus, and nephrogenic diabetes insipidus can all result in a sensation of thirst in the night.
Unfortunately, diabetes and its diabetic conditions are a serious disease. That’s why experimenting with solutions and treatment options are a bad idea unless you consider your doctor. Your doctor will know what’s the best solution to your problem and how to minimize the effects of diabetic damage.
13. Sjögren Syndrome
Sjögren syndrome is an autoimmune disease that you don’t hear much about. However, this condition results in your body attacking the glands that keep certain parts of your body moist, such as salivary glands that keep the mouth moist, as well as glands that help moisturize eyes. Statistically, it attacks more women than men.
This systemic disorder can lead to excessive thirst even in the night, when body is supposed to be resting, according to a study.
Given it attacks moisturizing glands, here are other difficulties it causes.
- Vaginal dryness
- Joint pain
- Systemic inflammation
- Dry skin
It’s important to talk to your doctor about creams and moisturizing cosmetic products that can help you get rid of the other symptoms such as rash and dry skin. Keeping your skin moist at all times can be difficult, but can help minimize the effects of the condition.
Anemia is the deficiency of red blood cells in the blood, caused by a deficiency of iron and vitamin B12. There are different types of anemia so some of them can also lead to dehydration. Even though it has mild symptoms if you don’t visit a doctor the state could complicate, causing lung and kidney issues, as well as other health issues.
Eating iron and zinc-reach foods can improve the metabolism and rise your iron levels which ultimately leads to the improvement of red blood cells in the body. Don’t forget the vitamin B12!
When to See a Doctor?
A lot of people think they can wake up thirsty just because it’s summer and temperatures are off the charts. But, when the temperatures cool down and the problem persists, it’s usually too late for early detection of a serious health issue. Constant thirst at night can also lead to urination at night.
If you feel insatiable thirst, you’re fatigued and sleepy, urinate more than you should and have blurry vision, those should be the signs to visit a doctor.
Thirst In Pregnancy: Drinking for Two
There’s a popular saying for pregnancy going “eating for two.” But, why can’t we say that you’re also drinking for two when pregnant? It’s completely normal to feel thirsty during the pregnancy. Also, don’t get surprised if the excessive thirst starts as early as the first trimester and gradually grows throughout the months.
Early pregnancy signs such as morning sickness and others are also accompanied by an increased need for water and other fluids that make up for the loss in electrolytes. However, unlike other symptoms that decrease as the second and third trimesters approach, morning sickness is bound to stick around for a while.
Water in pregnancy serves to support both your and the circulation of the arriving baby, as well as control the satisfactory levels of amniotic fluid and satisfy the higher blood volume that is another addition that comes with pregnancy.
Additionally, pregnant women go through a series of hormonal changes throughout pregnancy. They feel sweaty, tired, experience hot flashes, and whatnot. Vomiting due to morning sickness also contributes to fluid loss.
Excessive thirst can be overcome through different methods. If you’re taking food rich in salts and sodium in the evening, it’s noticeable that your thirst may be too hard to satisfy in the night. Start eating a leaner diet, and go low on the heavy medication and alcohol.
Additionally, don’t exercise too vigorously before bedtime as that may both disrupt your sleep and make you thirsty in the process.
Moderation in everything is in the key, and drinking enough water through the day will also lead to less thirst in the night.