The Bizarre Side Effect Of Getting 6 Hours Of Sleep Or Less

“Are you getting at least eight hours of sleep?”

We hear this question all the time—from our doctors, our parents, and our partners—and yet, most of us aren’t getting enough shut-eye. Despite the fact that we know there are negative consequences of skimping on sleep, it can still be so difficult to prioritize it over all our other activities and responsibilities.

I get it! Sometimes we need a little extra motivation to hit the sack at a reasonable hour, which is why a new study showing that sleep deprivation can make you dehydrated is something we should turn out attention to.

The study, published in the journal Sleep analyzed data from over 25,000 adults from China and the United States, and the results showed that compared to those getting the magic eight or more hours of sleep, people who slept only six hours a night had more concentrated urine and a 16 to 59 percent higher chance of being dehydrated.

So what’s the reason for this? Experts think it has everything to do with a hormone called vasopressin, which is released in the body during the night, later on in the sleep cycle. Vasopressin helps manage the body’s fluid levels. In fact, it can actually pull water back into the body from our urine to prevent us from losing too much water while we’re sleeping. The theory is that when we’re not getting enough sleep, vasopressin can’t do its job as well, and our hydration levels suffer.

The researchers on the study also suspect that the negative side effects of not getting enough sleep might actually be caused, in part, by simple dehydration. So while it’s best to always try to increase sleep quality and quantity—instead of treating the symptoms of sleep deprivation—if you do have to pull an all-nighter for some reason, make sure you’re drinking plenty of water.