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MDLinxEat This Much Salt for Better Sleep

Balancing sodium intake is crucial for sleep health, with both excessive and deficient levels leading to sleep disturbances and related health issues

The article explores the relationship between sodium intake and sleep health, emphasizing that both excessive and deficient sodium levels can cause sleep disturbances. By understanding individual sodium needs based on factors like activity level and daily habits, patients can better manage their sodium intake to support optimal sleep.

Key Points:

  • Sleep Disturbances: Both excessive and deficient sodium intake can lead to sleep disturbances, affecting REM sleep and increasing wakefulness.
  • Hypernatremia: Diagnosed when serum sodium levels exceed 145 mmol/L, hypernatremia can cause tachypnea, sleep difficulties, and restlessness.
  • Hyponatremia: Diagnosed when serum sodium levels fall below 135 mmol/L, hyponatremia can result in headaches, confusion, nausea, and delirium.
  • Recommended Sodium Intake: The Adequate Intake (AI) for sodium is 1,500 mg per day, while the maximum recommended limit is less than 2,300 mg per day. Most Americans consume about 3,400 mg daily.
  • Individual Needs: Sodium requirements vary among individuals based on factors like activity level and health status. Athletes may need more sodium, while sedentary individuals might need less.
  • Assessment Questions: Clinicians can use targeted questions to help patients assess their sodium needs, such as inquiries about sweating during exercise, exposure to heat, sleep quality, and muscle cramping.
  • Monitoring Intake: Encourage patients to monitor their sodium intake by reading nutrition labels and preparing meals at home with fresh ingredients to control added salt.
  • Clinical Implications: Tailoring sodium recommendations to individual patients can help prevent sleep disturbances and related health issues, promoting overall well-being.

“If patients are having symptoms of difficulty sleeping, associated with decreased REM and increased wakefulness, this could be a clue of salt depletion in their diet.”
– Jaclyn Leong, DO, DABOM

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