It's perfectly normal that you feel miserable after a night of throwing and twisting or staying too late. But new research suggests that there may be more than just sleep deprivation: you can also be dehydrated, say scientists, and drinking more water can help you feel better.
A study, published this week in the journal Dream, they found that people who reported regularly sleeping only six hours a day were 16 to 59% more likely "insufficiently moisturized" (based on urine samples) than those who said they usually slept at eight. Both US and Chinese adults – around 25,000 people – took part in the study, and the results were consistent in both populations.
This does not mean that people who sleep less also drink less; in fact, the authors of the study actually controlled the total fluid consumption of some participants. They found that even if people drink the same amount, those who slept less often have more concentrated urine and other signs of dehydration.
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So what's happening? The authors of the study say that it probably has to do with a hormone called vasopressin, which helps regulate the hydration status of the body.
Vazopressin is released both during the day and at night, but production really accelerates in the subsequent sleep cycle, said lead author Asher Rosinger, assistant professor in the field of biobehavioral health and anthropology at Penn State University, in a press release. "So, if you wake up earlier, you may miss the window in which more hormone is released, causing disruption of the body's hydration," he added.
The authors point out that bad sleep was associated with previous studies of chronic kidney disease, and they say that dehydration can be an important driver of this relationship. Prolonged dehydration may also increase the risk of kidney stones and urinary tract infections.
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Because the study was based on sleep data reported by the patients themselves and only looked at the urine results at one time, it was only able to find a relationship between the two – not a causal relationship. Future research should look at this relationship during the week, the authors wrote in their articles to understand how daily hydration and sleep states change.
The National Sleep Foundation suggests that adults should spend between seven and nine hours of sleep and that it is best to keep as simple as possible the time of sleep and wakefulness. (In this sleep study, more than nine hours per night does not seem to have any effect, in any direction, on hydration status.)
Of course, you really do not need it other the reason why wasting time on sleep is harmful to you: it is also associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, overeating, weight gain (even when not related to overeating) and diabetes, just to name a few. It can also cause short-term problems, such as irritability, difficulty concentrating, memory problems and drowsiness while driving.
It has also been shown that dehydration alone causes headaches and fatigue and affects mood, cognitive functions and physical fitness, which may contribute to the already negative effects of a sleepless night. "This study suggests that if you do not sleep long enough and feel bad or tired the next day, drink some extra water," said Rosinger.
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