Can A Lack Of Sleep Affect Your Kidneys?

In addition to feeling void of focus and energy the day after a restless night's sleep, a consistent lack of sleep may also place one at an increased risk for certain health conditions, such as depression, Alzheimer's disease, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and more, reports Medical News Today. In addition, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute states that sleep deprivation may also make one more susceptible to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, stroke, and high blood pressure, amongst other health issues. Similarly, could there also be a connection between sleeplessness and kidney function?

As per the Cleveland Clinic, our kidneys act as a filter for our blood. In addition, as a member of the urinary tract, they also rid the body of waste as we urinate. No doubt our kidneys are important, as these small organs are always hard at work. Although they're no larger than a human fist, the amount of liquid they filter each day is equivalent to what a sizable bathtub would hold. However, different factors can affect the health of our kidneys. Is it possible that sleep could be one of them?

How fewer hours of sleep may put one at risk for kidney function decline

Some research suggests that poor sleep could potentially pave the way for kidney disease down the line. For example, researchers from a 2016 study published in Kidney International looked at health data from over 4,000 women who had participated in the ‚Äč‚ÄčNurses' Health Study. Participants were tracked over an 11-year follow-up period, during which time their levels of serum creatinine were measured as an indicator of kidney health. Measurements were taken in 1989 and 2000. As reported via HealthDay, women who got five or fewer hours of sleep nightly were 65% more prone to rapid renal function decline than those who obtained between seven and eight hours of sleep each night.

Although the study only revealed a correlation rather than causation, lead researcher Dr. Ciaran McMullan feels the findings are worth further study. "This is concerning because as a general population the amount of sleep we are getting has decreased over the last 20 years," Dr. McMullan told HealthDay. "The concern is that sleep deprivation will lead to a decline in kidney function."

The relationship between insomnia and kidney health

Categorized as a sleep disorder, insomnia can make falling asleep and staying asleep difficult, as it is often stress-related, reports the Mayo Clinic. Research presented at the American Society of Nephrology 2017 Kidney Week examined the relationship between chronic insomnia as it pertains to all-cause mortality and adverse effects on kidney function. Among more than 957,000 U.S. veterans included in the study, 41,928 were diagnosed with insomnia. Study findings showed that just over 23% of participants had died, 0.2% had experienced kidney failure, and 2.7% experienced rapid kidney function decline during the course of about a 6-year average follow-up period (via Medical News Today). Overall, the researchers deemed that individuals with chronic insomnia were 2.4 times more prone to kidney failure, and 1.5 times more susceptible to kidney decline.

Experts are encouraging further studies on how insomnia management could help promote more benefits overtime and prevent possible subsequent health conditions. Alternatively, for those who occasionally find themselves struggling to get enough sleep, the Sleep Foundation offers a unique suggestion. On nights when you find yourself tossing and turning, try dialing the Help Me Sleep Hotline at 1-833-I-CANT-SLEEP for meditations and additional sleep tips.