Monday, May 27, 2024

This ‘healthy’ diet choice could ruin your sleep: doctor

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If you’re feeling salty about your lack of sleep, you may need more sodium in your diet. 

James DiNicolantonio, a cardiovascular research scientist, shared a video on Instagram about why too little salt in your diet can make you toss and turn at night. 

“People that were put on a low salt diet, because of the activation of the sympathetic nervous system, had a worsening in their sleep,” he explains in the clip, which received over 3,000 likes. 

He said this activation of the sympathetic nervous system is a “stress response” that can affect sleep.

He added that several studies have shown consuming a low-salt diet consisting of about 2,200 milligrams of sodium a day was enough to lead to sodium depletion. 

Milan – stock.adobe.com
You might think you’re doing your body a favor by cutting out the salt, but docs warn that too little salt can cause other problems. Hihitetlin – stock.adobe.com

When the body is low on sodium, it will pull sodium, magnesium, and calcium from the bone to the detriment of someone’s health, he explained. 

The Post reached out to DiNicolantonio for additional comment. He isn’t the only medical expert to warn about low sodium and poor sleep. 

An article in Ageist explained that when sodium levels fall in the body, the adrenals respond by creating more adrenaline, which helps with sodium retention. Adrenaline triggers the body’s fight-or-flight response and isn’t conducive to a relaxing night of sleep.

Too little salt in the body can trigger a “fight or flight” response — which isn’t conducive to sleep Daniel Vincek – stock.adobe.com

When someone has low sodium, they’re also more likely to have more trips to the bathroom, potentially in the middle of the night. When people are low on sodium, they don’t produce as much antidiuretic hormone. ADH helps the body retain pee during sleep. 

The American Heart Association recommends that people consume around 2,300 mg of sodium a day. The average American consumes 3,400 mg.

Diets too high in sodium are detrimental to health, experts warn. High sodium can lead to high blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes. 

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