You need to drink water every day for your body to function properly. Throughout the day — and while sleeping — you lose water from breathing, sweating, and passing stool from the digestive system.
Some people drink a glass of water before bed to remain hydrated through the night. But researchers question whether or not drinking water before bed is healthy.
Water and the interrupted sleep cycle
Drinking water before bed can increase the amount of times you need to urinate at night.
Your urine output decreases at night, allowing you to sleep six to eight hours without interruption. Drinking a glass or two of water before bed can change this cycle.
Sleep deprivation can also adversely affect your heart health. Lack of sleep can influence one’s potential for developing:
- high blood pressure
- high cholesterol levels
- weight gain
According to the National Sleep Foundation, a study found adults 45 years of age and older who slept fewer than six hours at night were at an increased risk of having a stroke or heart attack.
Age can also play a role in your sleep and urinary cycle. The older you become, the more likely you will develop an overactive bladder. This could be related to medical conditions that can affect urinary bladder function, such as declining cognitive function due to dementia, or a stroke that will make it difficult for your brain to communicate signals to your bladder. Diabetes mellitus and benign prostatic hypertrophy can also affect your urinary bladder function.
2 benefits of drinking water before bed
1. Improved mood
According to a 2014 study, water deprivation can negatively impact your mood, which could affect your overall sleep-wake cycle.
The study examined a total of 52 high (22) and low (30) fluid volume intake subjects. People who normally drank a lot of water weren’t as calm and didn’t feel as many positive emotions when they couldn’t drink as much as they normally did.
Those with a low fluid intake showed an increase in positive emotion, satisfaction, and calmness when they increased their water intake.
2. Natural cleanser
Drinking water — specifically hot or warm water — is one natural way to help detox the body and improve digestion.
Warm water increases blood circulation, helps your body to be able to break down waste, and increases sweat output. Sweating will cause you to lose some fluid through the night, but it will also remove excess salts or toxins and clean the skin cells.
Drinking warm water before bed will keep you hydrated through the night and may help the body to rid itself of unwanted toxins. It may also help to relieve pain or cramping in the stomach.
If plain water is too bland or if you’re trying to beat a cold, consider adding lemon to you water before bed. This can give an interesting flavor to the water, and lemon also contains vitamin C, an added benefit that can help to boost your immune system as it fights infection.
When is the best time to drink water?
Drinking water before bed has a number of benefits, but drinking too close to bedtime can interrupt your sleep cycle and negatively impact heart health.
You must drink enough water throughout the day to avoid dehydration and prevent excess water intake at night. One sign of dehydration is dark urine. If you’re drinking enough water, your urine should be light yellow to clear in color.
Drinking eight glasses of water a day is a helpful goal, but that number can vary from one person to the next. You may need to drink more water depending on your activity levels, the weather, or if you’re pregnant.
Some best practices for staying hydrated include:
- increasing your vegetable and fruit intake, since they contain a heavy percentage of water
- drinking a glass of water with every meal
- drinking water before and after exercise
- drinking water when you’re hungry because sometimes thirst is mistaken for hunger
It’s important to drink enough water during the day, however, it can be disruptive if you drink directly before bed. Avoid drinking water or any other fluids at least two hours before sleeping to prevent waking up at night.
If drinking water before bed has caused you to experience irregular symptoms, talk with your doctor or dietitian. They can help you determine what amount of water is best for your diet and your overall health.