The importance of sleep for muscle recovery is well known, but little research has examined the link between hydration and sleep. A recent study published in the International Journal of SLEEP found that six hours or less sleep might cause dehydration.
The research examined the link between sleep duration and hydration biomarkers. Fortunately, the cross-cultural study suggests some easy remedies.
Six Hours Sleep Can Cause Dehydration
The Penn State University study compared people sleeping six hours against those getting eight hours. They surveyed over 26,000 participants across America and China, and analysed their morning urine samples.
Lead author, Dr Asher Rosinger, suggested, ‘If you are only getting six hours sleep a night, it can affect your hydration status.’ In other words, that sluggish or irritable morning feeling that some experience could be caused by inadequate hydration.
It shows that while we might be productive night owls, this could negatively affect our performance throughout the day. Drinking water after waking can lessen the effects associated with a poor night’s sleep.
Impact on Productivity and Problem Solving
Our bodies naturally release the hormone vasopressin in the later hours of sleep to help conserve body water. ‘If you’re waking up earlier, you might miss that window in which more of the hormone is released, causing a disruption in the body’s hydration’, said Rosinger.
Dehydration can lead to muscle injuries and reduced cognitive performance. Similarly, shortened sleep weakens the more complex problem-solving functions of the brain.
The Solution to a Better Sleep and Morning Routine
The large study suggests that if you’re sleep deprived you should focus on drinking extra water throughout the day, especially before bed and upon waking. The participants that slept eight hours were better hydrated to function at optimum peak performance the following day.
In spite of the scale of the research, more studies are needed to verify the observations between reduced sleep and dehydration.