Like many of us, you probably have a tall glass of water on your nightstand, ready to quench that morning thirst.
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But what are the benefits (and possible drawbacks) of drinking water right before bed? While staying hydrated throughout the day is important for many reasons, there are also ways to time your water intake just right.
Sleep disorder specialist Jessica Vensel Rundo, MD, MS, explains why you should be mindful of how much water you’re drinking before bed.
“In general, we don’t recommend drinking a large amount of water before bedtime, but a small amount is good,” says Dr. Vensel Rundo.
When‘s the best time to stop drinking water?
It’s often recommended that you should stop drinking water two hours before going to bed. This way, you’re not flooding your body with extra fluids that may cause an unwanted trip to the bathroom in the middle of the night.
If you do need to have some water before you hit the hay — whether it’s because your mouth is feeling parched or you need to take nightly medications — a little bit is still OK.
“As a general rule, drink less than a glass of water in those last two hours before bedtime if you have to. And drink small sips,” advises Dr. Vensel Rundo.
This goes for other late night sips as well. Try to avoid fluids like alcohol, juice and tea within those last two hours before your head hits the pillow.
Why should you stop drinking water right before bed?
While staying hydrated is important, getting a good night’s rest is just as crucial. A quick 2 am trip to the bathroom here and there is expected. But if your sleep’s regularly getting interrupted, it may be time to change your nighttime routine.
“It can start to disrupt your sleep and it can make you have trouble falling back asleep,” says Dr. Vensel Rundo.
If your sleep is constantly interrupted night after night, it can even lead to sleep deprivation and worsening the quality of your sleep.
“Your immune system is not as effective after experiencing any kind of sleep deprivation,” explains Dr. Vensel Rundo.
While getting up to go to the bathroom occasionally won’t hurt your health, it’s important to note that constant sleep interruptions can lead to a variety of issues. After all, sleep ties in with everything from our immune system to mental health. Intense sleep deprivation has been shown to have a link to:
It’s also important to know if you have any conditions that may cause frequent urination. If so, you may need to cut down on your water intake even earlier before bed. One study showed that even drinking water an hour before bed wasn’t enough for people who experience nocturia.
Are there any benefits of drinking water before bed?
In moderate amounts, drinking water in the evening can still be beneficial. Water is an essential nutrient that keeps your body hydrated, lubricated, breaks down waste and much more.
“It’s just a matter of balancing it out and not having large amounts of water right before bedtime,” says Dr. Vensel Rundo. “You don’t want to go to bed when you’re feeling dry and thirsty, but you also don’t want to guzzle a whole glass of water either.”
Here are some benefits of staying hydrated before bed:
- Cleanses your body. Staying hydrated throughout the day and evening can help with breaking down waste in your body and releasing toxins through sweat.
- Helps regulate your body temperature. If you’re in an extra warm environment or feeling especially hot, cooling your body down with a bit of water can be beneficial before bed. Try sucking on ice cubes or taking tiny sips of water before bed.
So, when should you drink water?
If there’s one thing we know for sure, it’s that you should be drinking water consistently throughout the day. This doesn’t mean drinking large amounts of water in one sitting — especially not before bed.
Instead, keep a balance of fluids throughout the day by:
- Drinking water with every meal.
- Staying hydrated after exercising.
- Getting extra water from fruits and vegetables.
“There isn’t a specific time of the day certainly that’s optimal to get all of your fluid intake in,” says Dr. Vensel Rundo. “It’s more of a continuous period of time throughout the day and making sure you’re consistent.”
If you’re experiencing frequent urination at night, talk to your healthcare provider.