Should You Drink Water Before Bed?
You’re ready to turn in for the night, but you feel a bit of dryness in your mouth and throat. Should you take a sip of water, or will that mean waking up in a couple of hours to use the restroom?
If you can avoid drinking water before bed, it is recommended to do so. Sleep disruptions, even short bathroom breaks, limit the time spent in the deeper stages of sleep. It’s better to hydrate yourself throughout the day and stop drinking water an hour before sleeping, rather than wake up multiple times throughout the night to use the bathroom.
Why Do We Drink Water?
Every cell in the human body needs water to function optimally. Our bodies use water as a lubricant for our joints, as a cushion for the spine and sensitive tissues, and as a way to remove waste and excess salt through sweat, urine, and bowel movements. Drinking a glass of water during or after a meal can help your digestive system break down food further.
The idea that water is a “natural cleanser” and detoxes the body, however, is a common myth. It’s the kidneys that filter out unwanted toxins from the body and send them to the bladder, but drinking more water doesn’t necessarily improve your kidneys’ function, if they are overburdened with toxins already. Drinking too much water can even hamper how well your kidneys work.
While we get most of our water intake by drinking it, your body can draw water from many foods, such as soups and fruit like celery and melons. Around 20 percent of our daily fluid intake can come from food.
How Much Water Do You Need?
Recommendations for the amount of water we should drink have varied. The common advice to drink eight glasses a day has no real clear origin, according to Dr. Stanley Goldfarb, a kidney expert at the University of Pennsylvania.
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recommend men drink 125 ounces of water daily, and women drink 91 ounces of water—or 3.7 liters and 2.7 liters, respectively.
You need to drink more water if you’re physically active, live in a hot climate, are sick with a fever, or are vomiting. If needed, carry around a refillable water bottle and consult your doctor, healthcare practitioner, nutritionist or registered dietitian on how much water to drink.
If you haven’t had enough water to drink, you may feel lightheaded, dizzy, experience headaches or a dry mouth, or feel your breathing and heart rate speed up.
Also, watch how often you need to go to the bathroom. Most people need to visit the restroom 6 to 7 times every 24 hours, although 4 to 10 times a day isn’t abnormal. If you’re unhappy with how often you need to use the restroom or it’s affecting your everyday life, we suggest talking with your doctor about your concerns.
According to Brittany Ford, RHN, “If you wake up throughout the night to use the bathroom, limiting water consumption before bed is advised. Try having your last glass at least an hour before going to bed. If you are super thirsty before bed, a few sips of water won’t hurt, just try not to consume more than a couple of ounces. Drinking more throughout the day may help with the feeling of being extra thirsty at night. As always, opt for filtered, room temperature water and avoid adding any extra powders or mixes, especially before going to bed.”
What Temperature of Water Should I Drink?
Many of us find ice-cold water refreshing. However, is that the best temperature of water to drink?
Drinking cold water might be the best way to rehydrate while exercising. A 2013 study found that participants sweat less when they drank cold water (5 degrees Celsius, or 41 degrees Fahrenheit) than when they drank cool, tepid, or warm water.
Drinking hot water, however, is a common household remedy for improving digestion. Many also recommend drinking a glass in the morning.
Does It Have to Be Water?
You don’t have to only drink water to replenish liquids in your body. Any beverage with water helps you meet your required daily intake.
Still, there are health benefits to drinking water instead of another beverage. Sweet drinks like soda and even sports drinks have extra calories and sugar that can lead to weight gain. As well, having drinks with caffeine in them too close to bedtime can interfere with your sleep schedule, causing sleep deprivation.
There is evidence regular water can help you lose extra weight. A 2016 study found that participants who drank more water took in less saturated fat, sugar, salt, and cholesterol.
And try to stick to plain water—sure, getting your daily recommended dose of Vitamin C and other minerals from vitamin-infused water sounds nice, but the sugar inside these drinks, however, can negatively impact your health.
Nocturia: Causes and Treatment
If you need to get up more than once a night to use the restroom, you may have nocturia. Around a third of adults older than 30 have nocturia.
While drinking too much before bedtime can cause nocturia, it can also be a symptom of an underlying health issue such as:
- Heart disease
- Sleep disorders, like insomnia or sleep apnea
- Restless legs syndrome
Treatment for nocturia includes limiting fluid intake two to four hours before bedtime, elevating your legs to redistribute fluids in your bloodstream and decrease the need to urinate, and taking any diuretics at least six hours before bedtime.
Tips to Sleep Better
The average person needs 7 to 9 hours of sleep; if you’re an athlete, you may need 10 hours to spend more time in the recovery stages of your sleep cycle.
Not getting enough sleep affects your performance, such as slowed reaction time and decreased alertness. Sleep deprivation has been linked to obesity, increased stress, and a less active immune system.
If you have trouble getting a full night’s rest, establish a bedtime and wake-up time routine. Stick to your schedule even on the weekend, since sleeping in can disrupt your routine. A good sign you’ve slept enough is waking up before your alarm the next day.
Don’t neglect to set up your bedroom for better sleep. Keep it dark with blackout curtains and eye masks, and set the thermostat between 60 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
And make sure you’re sleeping on a quality bed! The best mattresses contour to your body for pressure relief while providing back and head support. If you’re dehydrated, you’re more likely to snore since your mucus becomes stickier and can clog up your mouth and throat. The simplest way to tell if you’re drinking enough water is by looking at your urine—clear to pale yellow is good, dark yellow with a strong smell means you need to drink more water. Signs you haven’t had enough water include dry mouth, dizziness, lightheadedness, headaches, sped-up breathing, and increased heart rate.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does dehydration affect sleep?
How do I know if I’m drinking enough water?
If you’re dehydrated, you’re more likely to snore since your mucus becomes stickier and can clog up your mouth and throat.
The simplest way to tell if you’re drinking enough water is by looking at your urine—clear to pale yellow is good, dark yellow with a strong smell means you need to drink more water. Signs you haven’t had enough water include dry mouth, dizziness, lightheadedness, headaches, sped-up breathing, and increased heart rate.
Did We Help?
While it’s important to remain hydrated for a good night’s sleep, it’s best to limit how much water you drink before bedtime. Instead, make sure to drink plenty of water during the day. If you wake up twice or more a night to urinate, you may have nocturia and should speak to your doctor about possible causes and treatments.
This article is for informational purposes and should not replace advice from your doctor or other medical professional.
Andrew Russell, Wellness Writer
Andrew Russell is a part-time writer and full-time sleep enthusiast. At Zoma, Andrew lends his sleep expertise and writes many of our “better sleep” guides. Outside of Zoma, Andrew puts his advice to the test, always trying new ways to get deeper, more restorative sleep. We appreciate Andrew because he doesn’t give advice that he doesn’t follow himself, so you can feel confident his solutions for better sleep really do the trick. Andrew's work has been featured on Ladders, Bright Side, and several other publications.View all posts