We know we need water, but there remains confusion as to whether or not we should drink water before we go to sleep. Some assume that drinking water just before bed will keep us hydrated throughout the night while others question whether it has any real health benefits. Which is true, and what’s nothing more than “watered-down” information? We set out to answer this question.
The Cons of Drinking Water Before Bed
Drinking water before bed can influence your body in both negative and positive ways. Below, we’ve broken down the primary means by which drinking water before bed can negatively impact your body.
Your Sleep Cycle
Your body’s sleep cycle is a complex process that dictates when you feel sleepy, when you feel alert, and how often you wake throughout the night. Interrupt this cycle and you may experience sleep deprivation symptoms such as sleep inertia, afternoon grogginess, or a change in your mood.
While drinking a glass of water before bed may provide your body with fluids, it can also impact your sleep cycle by increasing overnight urination, also known as nocturia. Because your body requires six to eight hours of sleep each night, fluid intake can influence how often you wake to use the bathroom.
This is why sleep deprivation can then take hold. Research indicates a lack of sleep can negatively impact your immune system, your energy levels, and more.
This information shouldn’t dissuade you from drinking water before going to sleep. As you’ll soon find out, there are some health benefits to nightly hydration. But it should serve as a cautionary note — if you decide to drink water before bed, be sure the amount of water you consume will not impact your sleep. Your body needs both water and sleep to function properly.
The Benefits of Drinking Water Before Bed
While drinking water before bed can interrupt your sleep cycle or create nocturia, it can also provide numerous benefits. We broke these down in greater detail below.
Detoxing Your Body
Water acts as a natural cleanser that helps your body rid itself of unwanted toxins while simultaneously aiding your digestive system.
Should you choose to drink water before bed, consider drinking warm water or hot water. Warm water increases blood circulation and your sweat output. Though sweating during the night may cause your body to lose fluids, it will also remove excess salts and cleanse your skin cells, thus acting as a natural detox for your body.
Ah yes, the dreaded hangover. You spent the night celebrating with friends and woke the following morning feeling as if you were just hit by a truck. When you drink alcohol, you will need to urinate more, further promoting dehydration and amplifying the symptoms of a hangover.
The best way to avoid the classic hangover is to drink alcohol in moderation — this much we know. But water can help reduce a hangover’s effects. These include drinking water between each alcoholic beverage and drinking a couple of glasses of water before going to bed.
If you anticipate spending the night out with friends, leave a full water bottle on your bedside table before heading out for the night. When you return, drink a few ounces of water to avoid a serious headache the next day.
Improved Mood and Mental Performance
Do you ever feel better when you’re fully hydrated? Maybe your mind feels sharp or instead you’re simply on your game. Believe it or not, a lack of water can negatively impact your mood and disrupt your sleep cycle in-turn.
Research suggests that those who are consistently hydrated feel better than those who are not. By drinking enough water during the day and before bed, you stand to replenish fluids and get better sleep that will boost your mood and mental strength.
No, it’s not some fad from the back of a tabloid magazine. Believe it or not, drinking cold water before bed actually burns calories simply because your body needs to warm up the water. It works twice as hard to do so while you’re asleep, as your body is in a state of rest with little movement.
Don’t expect this tactic to burn calories at a similar rate to exercise. But cold water intake can still burn calories while you sleep, and capitalizing on this is as simple as downing a glass of cold water before bed. However, the healthiest and simplest weight loss management relates to diet and physical activity.
Drinking Lemon Water
Not only does drinking cold water at night benefit you, warm lemon water will do so as well.
Lemons are full of health benefits. While we often consume lemons because of their vitamin C content, they also contain other nutrients and minerals such as pectin, vitamin E, vitamin B. A glass of lemon water in the morning will boost your immune system and promote your well-being by eliminating free radicals that may otherwise promote illness and disease. Hot lemon water can also balance your body’s pH levels to promote cell function and structure.
But the benefits of drinking lemon water don’t end there. Lemon water also acts as a diuretic that increases urination to help purify your body and your urinary tract (again, moderate your bedtime consumption wisely). The citric acid in lemons can help prevent kidney stones by making your urine less acidic. And when you drink lemon water, it even keeps your breath fresh. (However, the citric acid can erode tooth enamel over time, so be sure to keep an eye on this.)
Moderate lemon juice and hot water before bed can promote a healthy lifestyle. It’s a natural remedy to maintain good health with very few side effects.
To prepare a cup of lemon water, squeeze fresh lemon or pour lemon juice into a mug of warm water. It’s a sort of healthy and rejuvenating lemon tea.
When Should You Drink Water?
Now that we’ve come to understand the many benefits of drinking water before bed, let’s discuss when you should drink water and when you shouldn’t.
Drinking water before bed has a number of benefits, but drinking too close to bedtime can disrupt your sleep cycle and impact your overall health. Over time, this can lead to issues such as heart disease and weight gain.
At the end of the day, you simply need to drink enough water to avoid dehydration while simultaneously ensuring you’re not waking in the middle of the night to use the bathroom. A general rule of thumb suggests you avoid drinking water two hours before sleeping to avoid waking up at night.
Most online guides will suggest drinking eight cups of water per day on average, though this may vary depending on your needs. For instance, you may need to consume more water if you’re physically active or if it’s hot outside. Drink water with every meal and when you’re hungry, and consume foods like fruits or vegetables that possess higher water content levels.
If you’re not sure how much water you should drink or when you should drink it, simply speak with a dietitian.
An Ode to Water
Our bodies constantly crave water in the hopes of replenishing fluids that are lost over time. From sweating to sleeping to bowel movements, our body is losing water that we need to replace. While drinking water before bed may influence your sleep cycle, it can also provide a number of health benefits you may want to consider taking advantage of.
Take time to determine how much water you should drink before bed. It should be enough to hydrate you without waking you to use the bathroom consistently. Otherwise, enjoy the many benefits of your body’s favorite fluid.