You’ve heard the benefits of water are abundant—no wonder, given our bodies are made up of nearly 60% of this essential element. But according to a new study Well + Good pointed out, dehydration could also contribute to poor sleep.
We’re not just talking about the dehydration caused by spiking your eggnog—though that can certainly be a factor—but rather a beneficial effect of staying hydrated. We particularly love this study because it was large and they used lab tests to measure hydration (not just participant-reported water consumption habits). Here’s the scoop.
The Water/Body Connection
A new study published in the journal of SLEEP found that when it comes to a quality slumber, hydration is key. The data sets compared the sleep patterns of over 20,000 healthy adults in the United States and China. The participants reported their average nights sleep and provided urine samples. Researchers determined whether there was a correlation between hydration levels in their urine with how much sleep they received.
What they found? Participants who reported sleeping six hours or less at night were 16-59 percent more likely to be dehydrated than those who reported sleeping eight hours. While the reason why some subjects were less hydrated than other remains unclear—researchers do have some ideas.
Are Hormones Part of Why You Are Dehydrated?
There are many factors in hydration, and it’s not as simple as drinking tons of water. In fact, that may not help much if you aren’t producing enough of one particular hormone: vasopressin. This crucial hormone helps your body regulate hydration levels while you sleep. Exercise, certain supplements, and adequate hydration may help with boosting this hormone in your body; talk to your doctor if you think dehydration might be a factor in your poor sleep. (Dr. Buford loves to talk to his patients about nuances of heath and ways to look and feel more vibrant.)
If you want to tinker on your own, work on lifestyle habits that affect how hydrated your body is including diet, exercise, and lessening alcohol consumption. A healthy, balanced diet with the right amount (and kinds) of salt and regular exercise are key. And, because alcohol is a diuretic that also suppresses vasopressin, consider drinking less. Skip that second glass of eggnog, and grab a water with a twist instead. You can be festive on occasion and still sleep well, but moderation is the key.
How to Have a Healthy Holiday Season
As a medical professional, award-winning plastic surgeon, and health-based author, Gregory A. Buford, MD, FACS, PCEO is continually exploring ways to help his patients maximize their health and live vibrantly.
To learn more about the best ways to take care of your body after medical procedures, Dr. Buford wrote Eat, Drink, Heal: The Art and Science of Surgical Nutrition. This labor of love demonstrates the ways in which nutritional decisions and lifestyle affect your healing response. Contact us today to learn more.