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Shorter sleep can lead to dehydration

Adults who sleep just six hours a night – unlike eight – may have a higher chance of being dehydrated,…

Adults who sleep just six hours a night – unlike eight – may have a higher chance of being dehydrated, according to a Penn State study.

These results indicate that those who do not feel well after a night of bad sleep may want to consider dehydration – not just bad sleep – as a cause and drink more water.

The results of the study are published in the journal SLEEP on November 5th.

Researchers looked at sleep-related hydration status and risk of dehydration at American and Chinese adults. In both populations, adults reported that they had slept six hours significantly more concentrated urine and 16 to 59 percent higher risk of insufficient hydration than adults who regularly slept eight hours at night.

The reason was linked to the way the body’s hormonal system regulates hydration.

A hormone called vasopressin is released to regulate the body’s hydration status. It is released all day, as well as during the night, which is what the researchers focused on for this study.

“Vasopressin is released both faster and later in the sleep cycle,” says Asher Rosinger, senior author and deputy professor of bio-behavioral health at Penn State. “So if you wake up earlier, you may miss the window where more of the hormone is released, causing a disruption to the body’s hydration.”

Dehydration negatively affects many of the body’s systems and functions, including cognition, mood, physical performance and others. Long term or chronic dehydration can lead to more serious problems, such as higher risk of urinary tract infections and kidney stones.

“If you only get six hours of sleep one night it may affect your hydration status,” said Rosinger. “This study suggests that if you do not get enough sleep, and you feel bad or tired the next day, you drink extra water.”

Two adult samples were analyzed by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and a sample of adults was analyzed by the Chinese Kailuan study. More than 20,000 adults were included in the three tests. The participants were examined about their sleep habits and also gave urine samples that were analyzed by researchers for the hydration of biomarkers.

All data is observative and from cross-sectional studies or a cross-sectional view of a cohort study; Therefore, the association results should not be considered as causal link. Future studies should use the same methodology across websites and investigate this relationship in the long run for a week to understand the baseline sleep and hydration status, said Rosinger.

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