Cutting Back On Salt Leads To Better Sleep

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Cutting Back On Salt Leads To Better Sleep
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For decades, doctors have been telling us to simply drink less fluid in order to avoid those midnight trips to the bathroom. Excessive urination volume is often associated with drinking large amounts of liquid such as alcohol, tea, water, and other beverages. However it turns out that frequent urination at night is more likely to be caused by higher salt intake as per the results of a study conducted by a group of researchers from Nagasaki University in Japan. [1]

Salt and sleep do not naturally seem to belong in the same sentence, but the Japanese study confirmed the role of salt as the missing link between you and a good night’s sleep. The researchers presented their findings at the European Society of Urology Conference in London, England on March 26, 2017.

According to the study, reducing your daily salt intake might prevent you from frequently waking at night to go to the bathroom. A group of more than three hundred men and women who had sleeping problems were recruited for the study. Those who managed to cut their salt intake experienced a drop in nighttime urination while those who increased their salt intake needed to urinate almost three times per night. The researcher noted that people over 60 more frequently need the toilet in the middle of the night.

The results of the study highlight the value of dietary modification to improving the quality of life for many people who experience excessive nighttime toilet trips, says study lead author Matsuo Tomohiro. By measuring the influence of salt intake on the frequency of going to the bathroom, the study offered new insights on excessive night time urination – a condition which the medical community refers to as nocturia.

Over one-third of adults over thirty gets up frequently at night to urinate, says the National Association for Continence. Nocturia can happen at any age even if the majority of those who experience it are usually over 60 years old. Factors that contribute to nocturia in both sexes include diuretic medications, behavioral patterns, caffeine, alcohol, and excessive fluids before bedtime. [2]

Please be warned that nocturia can be a symptom of a greater medical condition. There are certain health problems linked to excessive urination such as diabetes mellitus, high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, insomnia, sleep disorders, and vascular disease. [3][4][5][6]

The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that salt consumption should be less than 2,300 milligrams per day. However, there is a high prevalence of excess sodium intake among Americans. [7] A CDC report showed that overall sodium consumption in the U.S. has not changed over the past decade. Many Americans consume food that is high in sodium such as deli meats, pizza, soups, sandwiches, cheese, and pasta dishes. [8]

What can you do to reduce your sodium intake? We have outlined several tips below:

• Prepare your meals at home to control the amount of salt you consume every day.

• Eat smart when eating out by scanning the menu for items labeled ‘low sodium.’

• Buy reduced-sodium, or no-salt-added versions.

• Season your meals with spices and herbs instead of salt.

• Check the label of products to know how many milligrams of sodium are in serving size.


[1] Tomohiro M et al. March 14, 2017. International Journal of Urology. Night-time urination reduced by cutting salt in diet.

[2] National Association for Continence. Nocturia.

[3] Mayo Clinic. Diabetes symptoms: When diabetes symptoms are a concern.

[4] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. High Blood Pressure & Kidney Disease.

[5] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Heart Failure?

[6] Raheem OA et al. 2014. Urology Annals. Clinical predictors of nocturia in the sleep apnea population.

[7] U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Most Americans Should Consume Less Sodium.

[8] U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. January 8, 2016. Prevalence of Excess Sodium Intake in the United States — NHANES, 2009–2012.

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