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Can More Sleep at Night Affect Your Hydration?

Written by Dr. Joseph Mercola

If you’re feeling a bit tired on a consistent basis and you don’t get a full eight hours sleep, research conducted at Penn State University (PSU) suggests that simply making it a point to drink more water throughout the day may help you get more sleep. Investigators said they found your hydration status affects how your body’s hormonal system regulates hydration, and ultimately your sleep cycle.

On the flip side, “If you are only getting six hours of sleep a night, it can affect your hydration status,” a university press release said. While this data is observational and therefore not to be viewed as a cause-and-effect study, investigators said their findings will help them study how hormones and sleep work together.

It’s not surprising that researchers are studying how sleep and hydration are connected. But while the jury is out on which comes first, one thing we do know for certain is that hydration is about more than just drinking water. More specifically, it’s about getting the water inside your cells, where water acts as the ultimate mechanism by which you remove toxins and naturally produced oxidants from your body.

To that end, virtually everyone is dehydrated to some extent, and I have interviewed a physician and researcher, Dr. Zach Bush, who explains that when we talk about hydration, we’re not simply talking about drinking enough water throughout the day, but getting that water into those cells.

So how do you know that you’re dehydrated? The most obvious sign, of course, is that you’re thirsty, or you have a dry, sticky mouth. Beyond that, if you’re regularly dehydrated, you may also be experiencing — guess what — persistent sleepiness or tiredness. Producing few tears when crying, a rapid heartbeat and low blood pressure, as well as muscle cramps and dark yellow urine are more signs that your body is starved for hydration.

One thing you probably don’t realize is that water isn’t the only source of hydration. Many plant foods such as leafy greens are a major source of “structured water,” or the gel phase of water that is found inside your cells, and which is absolutely necessary for getting and staying hydrated. Chia seeds are another excellent source of this structured water.

The bottom line is, hydration is not just about input of more water. You also need to remember that input affects output, and a hydrated body is better able to detoxify and get rid of waste via sweat, stool and urine.