We’re all familiar with the necessity of drinking enough water each day. But does it matter when you choose to hydrate? Specifically, is it OK to drink a bunch of water just before hopping into bed? Let’s find out, shall we?
The Pros and Cons of Drinking Water Before Bed
Pro: It Could Improve Your Mood
This one comes down to the water your body loses while sleeping each night. Dehydration can negatively impact your mood, and while you can prevent it during the day by consistently drinking water, there’s nothing you can really do to avoid the natural dehydration that happens while you’re sleeping. Drinking a glass of water before bed could alleviate the effects of that dehydration a little bit.
Con: It Could Trigger Nocturia
According to the Cleveland Clinic, nocturia is a condition that causes you to wake up during the night to urinate. The condition becomes more common as people age and occurs in both men and women. Drinking water can cause nocturia, along with age, a urinary tract infection, certain medications and more. Apparently, though it can be common for most people to wake up once during the night to urinate, urinating more frequently may be a sign of something else going on. If you suspect your nighttime bathroom habits are off, check with your doctor.
Pro: It Could Prevent (or Ease) a Hangover
OK, so this isn’t an every night thing, obviously, but if you find you’ve had a couple too many glasses of wine, drinking water before you fall asleep could save you for the next morning. When you drink alcohol, your body loses a lot of its natural fluids, leading to dehydration, one of the leading causes of that throbbing pain in your skull. Think of a serving of water as a measure that helps prevent a headache from developing.
Con: It Might Mess Up Your Sleep Schedule
Drinking water before bed can increase the amount of times you need to use the bathroom during the night. If you’re someone who falls back asleep immediately after waking, this shouldn’t be too much of an issue. But, if even the slightest disruption during the night takes you out of sleep for hours, that water before bed could inadvertently lead to sleep deprivation and all the crappy side effects that come with it.
The Bottom Line
Potential sleep issues aside, drinking water before bed isn’t unhealthy. The most important thing is that you’re staying hydrated throughout the day. If that means having your last glass of water before hopping into bed, so be it. But again, if the thought of waking up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night gives you visions of bad nights’ sleep, maybe hold off sipping from your water bottle for the last hour or two before you hit the hay.
When Is the Best Time to Drink Water?
While it’s super important to drink water throughout the day, if we’re talking the *best* time, there are lots of proven benefits to kicking off your morning with a big glass of water. Here are five benefits of drinking water first thing when you wake up.
1. It Can Improve Your Metabolism
Drinking water (approximately 20 ounces) can increase your metabolic rate by 30 percent, according to a study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. Having a glass on an empty stomach helps put your body on a path toward more efficient digestion the moment you start your day.
2. It Can Alleviate Heartburn and Indigestion
When you sip a glass first thing in the morning, it cleanses any food acids from your esophagus that worked their way upward while you slept. (It also helps flush acids off your teeth.)
3. It Can Prevent Kidney Stones
Drinking water first thing is key to diluting the substances in your urine that can cause kidney stones to form. But remember: Your water intake should amount to at leasta half gallon a day to really ward them off, experts say. (Adding a slice of lemon—rich in citric acid—also helps, FYI.)
4. It Can Help Flush Toxins from the Body
It’s all about keeping your small intestine hydrated and your body’s water balance in check. Your gastric emptying rate (i.e., how much you pee) is acceleratedby how much water you consume. The more you pee, the more toxins you flush out. It's as simple as that.
5. It Can Keep Things Moving
Yep, a glass of water on an empty stomach also helps regulate your digestion (ahem, your bowel movements) so you get it out of the way first thing.
How Much Water Should I Be Drinking?
Although there’s no consensus on how much water people should drink each day, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) say each person’s guide should be their own thirst. If you’re feeling parched, drink some water—simple as that. As a very general guideline, the FNB suggests women should drink around 2.7 liters of water daily and men around 3.7 liters. (Note that those amounts include the water you get from eating, which estimates show make up to 20 percent of daily intake.)