Electrolytes Before Bed: Why You Should Think Twice About Taking Them

The human body has a plethora of electrolytes in it and the correct balance of these electrolytes is important for the normal functioning of the body. Some of the important electrolytes in the body include: sodium, potassium, chloride, and bicarbonate.

Chemically, electrolytes are substances that turn to ions when in solution. These ions have the ability to conduct electricity.

They perform a wide variety of functions such as regulating the nervous system, ensuring fluid balance of the body and even building and maintaining of muscles. They also play an important role in communication between the cells of the nervous system.

It’s not unusual to find people taking sports drinks after a grueling exercise or workout. These drinks don’t contain only sugar and their substitutes. Many of them also contain electrolytes that are much needed for the body’s processes.

But as much as we need these electrolytes in our body, what happens to our body when we take electrolytes before bed? We’ve been asked that before, so here’s the answer!

Electrolytes Before Bed

Electrolytes can be found in various food substances like bananas, seeds, nuts, and dairy products. Electrolytes are also found in some body fluids like sweat, blood, or urine.

However, one of the easiest ways to get them into your body is via fluids. That is why you see sportsmen and women take them after carrying out physical activities.

There is no exact effect that taking electrolytes on that body might cause.

And any effect that is a result of taking electrolytes before bed is dependent on whether the body previously has a normal or abnormal electrolyte level.

If your body’s level of electrolytes before you take an electrolyte-rich meal is low, then, taking electrolytes before bed might prove beneficial and might make sleeping easier.

However, if they are taken when the electrolyte level of the body is normal or already high, they can cause a number of undesirable symptoms.

Before we go to bed at night, there is a huge probability that our body’s electrolytes level is high. This is probably from eating dinner, doing less strenuous activities, and so on. Therefore, it is not advisable to take electrolytes before bed unless you know your body is running low on them.

However, this isn’t to say taking electrolytes-rich meals or drinks is bad. When used rightly they can be very beneficial to the body.

Since it is most likely that the body’s level of electrolytes will be normal before bed, we will be discussing the effects of taking electrolytes before bed based on the assumption that the level of electrolytes in the body was normal before the consumption of the electrolyte.

Below are some of the effects of using electrolytes on a body already at a normal electrolyte level.

1. Fatigue and headaches

When electrolytes are taken before bed, especially when the body’s electrolyte level is normal, it can lead to an increase in the level of calcium, sodium, and other electrolytes in the body.

A common symptom of excessive amounts of these electrolytes is fatigue and headaches.

2. Gastrointestinal discomforts

An increased level of electrolytes in the body leads to gastrointestinal disturbances such as nausea, constipation, abdominal pain, vomiting, etc. These discomforts won’t exactly make for a great sleep.

3. Excessive thirst

One common symptom of a high level of electrolytes in the body is excessive thirst. Trying to get a night of sound sleep when you’re waking up every other minute because of thirst will not exactly make your sleeping blissful.

Also, excessive thirst throughout the night might lead to you feeling sick and tired the next day.

4. Neurological conditions

Excessive intake of electrolytes can lead to severe neurological conditions like coma, depression, and memory loss.

General Effects Of Taking Electrolytes on The Body

1. Helps to rehydrate the body during an illness

Electrolyte enhanced drinks or foods help to maintain the recommended hydration level of the body.

During illnesses like vomiting or diarrhea which can easily lead to dehydration and depletion of fluids and electrolytes, electrolyte-rich meals and drinks help to rehydrate the body and get it back to normal levels, thus preventing more severe illnesses from setting in.

2. Prevents dehydration from alcohol

Alcohol can cause rapid dehydration of the body. This dehydration is part of what leads to hangovers and other unpleasant symptoms of drinking alcohol.

However, taking electrolytes will help to lessen these effects.

3. Can prevent heatstroke

The body’s natural way of cooling down in hot environments or weather is by releasing heat in form of sweat.

However, if the weather becomes very hot, this cooling system might not work. This can cause heat-related diseases like heat rash or life-threatening heatstroke.

Taking lots of fluid and electrolytes can help further cool down the body and prevent the body’s temperature from rising to levels that can be dangerous.

4. May enhance exercise performance

Drinks enhanced with electrolytes are usually taken as sports drinks because they help to hydrate the body and also replenish energy or electrolytes lost during the process of exercising.

Sweat contains a significant amount of electrolytes that are important for the normal functioning of the body. Important electrolytes like sodium, potassium, and calcium. During exercise, we lose sweat and electrolytes simultaneously.

This is why electrolyte-enhanced drinks are usually recommended after exercising, they replace fluids and electrolytes that might have been lost during exercise.

Electrolytes Before Bed: Wrapping Up

Electrolytes are essential minerals and the body cannot properly function without them.

However, the body gets a sufficient amount from our daily meals. Even ordinary water contains a trace amount of electrolytes that can maintain the body’s normal level.

Therefore, it is advised that electrolyte-enhanced drinks be taken only in cases of prolonged exercise, extreme dehydration caused by hot environments, or dehydration caused by illnesses.

Taking electrolytes before bed when the level of electrolytes in the body is normal can lead to a number of undesirable effects that might hinder proper sleep.