To keep our bodies functioning correctly, we need to drink water every day. Through our body’s many natural processes, such as going through the bathroom, sweating, and breathing, we lose some of that water throughout the day, and it needs to be replenished. The same thing happens during the night. Even if you don’t get up to go to the bathroom, you will lose about 1.5 pounds of water weight each night, which is why stepping on the scale first thing in the morning is such a great motivator.
Many people choose to drink a tall glass of water before going to bed to help them stay hydrated while asleep, but it turns out that this may not be such a good practice after all. In this article, we’re going to deal with some benefits and disadvantages of drinking water before bed, and how it can affect your sleep cycle.
Important Facts on Drinking Water Before Bed
As we mentioned above, you can lose a significant amount of water while you sleep, which is why you usually get the lowest number on the scale if you weigh yourself in the morning.
This weight loss is mostly due to breathing and sweating during the night, but getting up to urinate can be a significant contributor as well. If you do this a lot, it is most likely because you drink too much water right before going to bed.
This leads to the need to go to the restroom in the middle of the night and can interrupt the sleep cycle and negatively affect your ability to go back to sleep afterward, which in turn can lead to a myriad of problems with your physical and mental health down the line.
Waking up in the middle of the night to go to the restroom becomes more common as we get older due to conditions such as diabetes, overactive bladder, enlarged prostate, and even certain medications. What this means is that it might be a good practice not to drink any water at least two or three hours before going to bed, especially if you’re older.
Water at Night and Sleep Deprivation Correlation
It is hardly new information that your level of hydration can affect the way you function and feel throughout the day. An insufficient amount of water in your system can make you irritable, sluggish, and generally off your peak performance. However, not many people think about the correlation between hydration and the quality of your sleep.
Having a deeper understanding of the impact of your fluid intake throughout the day on the quality of your nighttime slumber can go a long way to improve your sleep quality. You’re probably not surprised by the fact that going to bed dehydrated can harm your sleep. Nasal and mouth passages can become dry, causing disruptive snoring, which leads to hoarseness and a parched throat in the morning.
However, if you drink too much water right before going to bed, you may end up having to wake up once or twice to go to the bathroom. Many people find it difficult to go back to sleep after these trips to the restroom and end up tossing and turning for hours.
Drinking Water Before Bed: Pros and Cons
So, we’ve learned that keeping hydrated even during the night is quite important, but there’s a negative side to it as well. Where do we go from here? Probably the best way to approach this problem is by looking at the pros and cons associated with drinking water before bed.
Promotes Weight Loss
One of the best and healthiest ways to control your weight, drinking water helps you keep the pounds down in a few different ways. It prevents your body from holding onto water, which means you’re not going to be looking all bloaty and puffy.
Staying continuously hydrated allows your body to maintain a healthy fluid balance. Drinking plenty of water also boosts your metabolism and suppresses your appetite.
Improves Your Mood
We don’t often think about the effect water can have on our mood, but it turns out that as little as a 1.5% decrease in the amount of water in your body can lead to difficulties with concentration, lack of motivation, headaches, mood changes, anxiety, and fatigue.
One thing that is also important to note is that by the time you feel thirsty, you’ve likely already lost more than the 1.5% mentioned above, which means that you should never really allow yourself to be thirsty in the first place.
Great for Detox
Water is our body’s waste transportation system. The kidneys and liver use it to flush away the toxins that accumulate in our body throughout the day, and drinking more water allows these organs to do their job at the maximum capacity. This is especially true if you prefer sleeping on your side since some studies suggest that this position promotes liver and kidney function.
When you are dehydrated, your body needs to pull water away from some organs, such as the intestines and colon, to allow the liver and kidneys to function correctly. This can lead to digestion issues and problematic bowel movements. Needless to say, all of these organs must perform at their best if we want the detoxification of our organism to be done well.
The sleep cycle of your body is a complex and finely-tuned process that has the responsibility of dictating when you will feel alert, or sleepy, or how often you will wake up during the night. Interruptions in this cycle can lead to sleep deprivation, and other problematic symptoms such as mood changes, daytime sleepiness, and sleep inertia.
Even though drinking a tall glass of water before going to bed can provide your vital organs with much-needed fluids, it can also have an adverse effect by impacting your sleep cycle. Your bladder does this by sending out an alarm to your brain in the middle of the night, signaling the need to urinate.
Also known as nocturia, this is a situation most of us have experienced at least a few times, and it isn’t great. All the unpleasantness of having to get out of a warm and cozy bed aside, nocturia can cause a bunch of more tangible problems.
Because your body needs at least six, and ideally eight hours of sleep per night, and nocturia can lead to problems with going back to sleep after your visit to the bathroom, you may experience sleep deprivation and its many unpleasant manifestations. Studies have shown that a lack of sleep harms many mental and physical functions, such as energy levels, immune system, and more.
When is the Best Time to Drink Water?
You’ve probably heard about the magic number of eight glasses a day to remain adequately hydrated. This number can go up or down depending on a lot of factors, such as exercise, external temperature, or sodium intake. What matters is that you never let yourself get too dehydrated. But what about the specific times of the day when drinking water brings the most benefit in terms of cognitive function and overall health?
The basic gist of it is that drinking water is a good idea at almost any time, with ‘almost’ being the operative word. What you should most definitely do is grab a glass of water as soon as you get out of bed. After seven or eight hours of sleeping, your body is (hopefully) at its most dehydrated point in the day, and getting some fresh water is the best way to get your metabolism up and running.
Health Benefits of Drinking Water
We all know that staying hydrated is essential, but we rarely ask ourselves about the exact reasons for this. If you’ve been wondering about why drinking water is good for your health, you should always remember the fact that our bodies are made up mostly of water, and that being dehydrated can affect you not only physically but mentally as well.
Drinking enough water can improve your mood and memory. Even mild dehydration can have a drastic effect on your mood, regardless of your age or physical wellbeing.
Water can also help you maintain your weight by reducing sugar cravings. Your brain sometimes has trouble differentiating between thirst and hunger, so we all often mistake thirst for a sugar craving. Try drinking a tall glass of water the next time you feel the need for something sweet. You’ll be surprised at the result.
How long before going to bed, should I stop drinking water?
It is healthy to drink water at any time, including right before bed, as long as you don’t notice any disturbance in your sleep pattern. If you find yourself waking up every night to go to the bathroom, consider cutting back on your water intake late in the evening.
As a rule of thumb, you can stop drinking water a couple of hours before going to bed and see whether there’s an improvement.
Is it possible to drink too much water?
Since most people don’t drink enough water during the day, this is the topic that gets the bulk of the attention when it comes to water intake. However, it can also be dangerous to drink too much, which can lead to what is known as water intoxication.
Due to drinking too much water, electrolytes and minerals in your body can become too diluted, leading to some potentially nasty outcomes, and even death in rare cases.
Drinking enough water during the day is vital for your health, and most people resort to the feeling of thirst to guide them when it comes to the amount of water they consume during the day. This works well for the most part, but you may begin feeling some symptoms of dehydration without even realizing that you’re thirsty.
Having a bottle or glass of water near you at all times, and sipping on it throughout the day is a much better option, but you should stop a couple of hours before bed if you tend to wake up to go to the bathroom. The reason for this is that nightly trips to the restroom can adversely affect your sleep schedule and lead to a plethora of problems. In the end, you’re going to have to find a balance between staying hydrated in the evening and having a restful night.