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Hydration Facts: Thirst At Bedtime Has Important Message For The Body, Study Suggests

First Posted: Oct 03, 2016 04:45 AM EDT
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Many people feel thirsty just before they sleep at night. The feeling actually has an important message to convey. According to a recent study, the workings of the inner brain's clock might cause thirst at bedtime. The reason? It wants to protect the body from dehydration.

According to Live Science, experts conducted the study in mice. Charles Bourque, co-author of the study, said it could point towards an answer as to why people normally feel thirsty before bedtime although it was performed in rodents. Bourque is a neurology professor at McGill University in Quebec.

Researchers knew that rodents tend to ingest more water two hours before they sleep. However, the reason was unclear. For this, they prevented 12 mice from drinking water before sleeping. As a result, the animals suffered severe dehydration by the time they woke up.

The study's outcome made the researchers believe that large water intake before sleeping might be the rodents' way of protecting themselves from getting dehydrated while asleep. However, the experts likewise want to know what exact mechanism causes the surge in water intake. According to Science Alert, they hypothesized that the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) communicates with the thirst neurons, which in turn trigger the mice to look for water.

After further tests in which the team used electricity to stimulate the inner clock of the mice's brains, they found that the stimulation increased the hormone vasopressin's release in the same region.  The hormone activated the cells linked to thirst.

These findings may help experts to have a greater understanding of the brain's inner clock. But as of writing, doing more research is important to determine if these mechanisms likewise work in humans. Moreover, there are other concerns relating to thirst at bedtime and ingesting liquid at night. Some people do not drink before they sleep due to the thought that they might fill up their bladders and wake up in the middle of the night.

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