How Good Is Drinking Water Before Bed For You?

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Water is often considered the building block of life. 71% of the Earth’s surface is water[1], and an astonishing 60% of the adult human body is H2O[2]. Water not only hydrates but also powers the brain, provides oxygen to the body, regulates body temperature, and keeps joints lubricated.

Sleep deprivation, weight loss, headaches, and mood all have surprising correlations with hydration. Given the importance of this vital fluid, you might be wondering how much water to drink before bed.

We discuss how much you need, how often you should be drinking water, and if doing so is a good idea to drink it before bed.

Why You Should Drink Water Before Bed

Breathing, sweating, and even getting up to urinate in the middle of the night all contribute to fluid loss. The problem arises when you drink too much water, especially right before bed. It could easily lead to frequent mid-night trips to the restroom, and the sleep interruption can wreak havoc on one’s health.

As people get older, they could also suffer from conditions that make having to get up to go to the bathroom more likely. For example, an overactive bladder, diabetes, and even certain medications can affect making one need to use the restroom at night. If you experience these disruptions, it may be best to consume your last glass of H2O a few hours before bedtime.

However, drinking plenty of fluid is still essential for your health.

Illustration of a Person Sleeping with a Glass of Water on a Nightstand

How Much Water Do You Need?

Everyone’s different, but experts often recommend that adults need about 64 ounces of water per day; this equates to eight glasses of H2O with a cup capacity of eight ounces. Eight glasses of water are equivalent to just under two liters, and there are plenty of liter-sized bottles you can purchase to help you stay on track.

However, the 64-ounce suggestion is only a base guideline. Other individuals may need to drink more water, especially athletes, pregnant women, and people who live in particularly dry climates. Conversely, some people may need to drink less water depending on their size.

If you find that you have chapped lips, feel extra parched, or your urine is dark or odorous, those are all common signs that you may not be drinking enough fluids, and you could be dehydrated. Consider upping your water intake or consulting with a doctor to find the amount of H2O consumption that’s right for you.

Correlation Between Water & Sleep Deprivation

The primary correlation between water and sleep deprivation is that drinking too much water before bed can make you get up to use the bathroom. Any kind of disrupted sleep is not only annoying but can impair your sleep cycle, making you feel less rested in the morning. There is a scientific classification for these occurrences called “nocturia[3].

Getting up multiple times in the same night is likely to yield less than seven to nine hours of shuteye, which experts commonly recommend. If sleep disruptions[4] become habitual, people can be at a higher risk of the following:

  • Weight gain and obesity
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • High cholesterol
illustration of a Lady Drinking Water Right Before Going to Bed

Pros & Cons

The benefits of water significantly outweigh the negatives, and it’s helpful to be aware of how it affects our bodies.

Pros

Mood Improvement

H2O can have a surprising effect on your mood. It turns out that as little as a 1.5 percent loss of fluid[5] can result in fatigue, anxiety, mood changes, headaches, lack of motivation, and difficulty concentrating. By the time your body feels thirsty, you may have already lost up to two percent of bodily fluids, suggesting that staying hydrated regularly could be considerably pertinent to our mental hygiene.

Detoxifier

The body uses water to transport waste, and the liver and kidneys especially need liquid to flush away toxins. When you become dehydrated, the body extracts liquid from the colon and intestines, making digestion and bowel movements (another detoxifying activity) problematic.

Prevents Headaches

Staying hydrated[6] can help to prevent headaches and can even lessen the frequency of migraines. In addition, keeping a water bottle nearby could help you keep headaches and pain at bay, thus positively increasing your mood and health.

A Woman Having Migraine Trying to Sleep Animation

Aids Weight Loss

Drinking adequate amount of water can be one of the easiest ways to keep yourself at a healthy weight. Water often helps for a few reasons:

  1. Filling up on fluids suppresses appetite.
  2. Research suggests plenty of liquids boosts metabolism[7].
  3. Not drinking enough water may cause the body to hold onto water for survival, resulting in bloating and a puffy appearance. By staying hydrated, your body can maintain a healthy balance of fluids.

Cons

Nocturia

Waking up in the middle of the night with the urge to pee can be classified as a condition known as nocturia. Interrupted and fragmented sleep has been tied to morning fatigue and can result in sleep deprivation, which can affect our mental health and overall immunity.

Who is at Risk for Nocturia?

Obese Individuals

In one study, nearly half of the overweight participants reported having to get up to relieve themselves at least once during the night. The study concluded that obesity increases the likelihood of experiencing nocturia[8].

Patients with Heart Disease

Patients with heart disease need their sleep, and waking up at night to urinate can be disruptive and damaging to their health. To make matters worse, these patients[9] are also more likely to experience nocturia, potentially due to the side effects of medication.

Illustration of a Woman Sitting on a Toalete and Having Stomach Ache

Patients With Diabetes

High glucose or blood sugar levels can stimulate the body to increase urine production, resulting in frequent nighttime urination[10]. Keeping your blood sugar within a safe range could help mitigate this issue.

Individuals With Mental Health Conditions

Scientists have discovered a link between depression and nocturia while at the same time studying links between anxiety and nocturia. Conclusive results are less clear regarding anxiety but suggest a bidirectional association between depression and nocturia specifically[11].

Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy

Also known as BPH, benign prostatic hypertrophy is when an enlarged prostate puts excess pressure on the bladder and can trigger frequent urination[12], particularly at night. This condition is typically observed in men over 50.

Illustration of an Elderly Man Sleeping in a Nursing Home

Overactive Bladder

Having this type of urinary urgency can often signify another underlying condition like BPH, diabetes, or a urinary tract infection (UTI). Regardless of the cause, the result is still the same— the patient has to get out of bed to use the bathroom. Treating the underlying condition is typically the best way to cure nocturia[13].

Bladder Infections

A bladder infections are a type of urinary tract infection. These may cause a patient to feel the uncontrollable urge to urinate even if there’s little to no urine in the bladder, making these infections major sleep disruptors[14].

How to Treat and Manage Nocturia

A Man Runs to the Bathroom Illustration

There are ways to treat and manage nocturia. Some require the intervention of a doctor or specialist, while other times, simple lifestyle changes can vastly improve the condition.

Home remedies include:

  • Avoid drinking water three hours before going to bed.
  • When taking diuretics, try consuming them six hours before going to sleep.
  • Wearing compression stockings or elevating the legs could prevent fluid from building up in the body.

Some medications can also help relieve symptoms of nocturia. Your doctor could recommend a helpful treatment plan, or they might refer you to a urologist for further specialized expertise.

Another option is to find out what is causing the nocturia and treat the underlying condition. For example, if the issue is due to a bladder infection, clearing it should be a top priority, mainly because it can travel to the kidneys[15] if not treated.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is drinking hot water and lemon good before sleep?

Drinking warm water with lemon can be excellent for sleep. In addition to hydrating the body and providing an extra dose of vitamin C, lemon juice is acidic, which aids in digestion[16]. Digestion is essential when you’re trying to get some rest, especially if you’ve indulged in a heavy meal or spicy foods.

As a precaution, make sure you brush your teeth after consuming this concoction. The acid from the lemon can erode tooth enamel, so rinsing it off can help prevent erosion of your enamel while you sleep.

Is too much water bad for my kidneys?

Lots of water is good for your body, within reason. The kidneys require H2O to function because they remove waste from the body. However, they also remove extra water, so if you’re drinking too much, you could be working your kidneys over time, which could translate into additional bathroom breaks.

In rare instances, drinking too much water can dilute the sodium levels in your blood, which can cause a life-threatening condition known as hyponatremia[17]. However, the condition is typically only seen in endurance athletes like marathoners.

Illustration of a Man Waking up With a Back Pain

Sources and References:

  • [1] “How Much Water Is There on Earth?”, USGS – Science for a Changing World
  • [2] “The Water in You: Water and the Human Body”, USGS – Science for a Changing World
  • [3] “Why Do I Pee So Much at Night?”, WebMD, October 22, 2019
  • [4] Goran Medic, et al., “Short- and Long-Term Health Consequences of Sleep Disruption”, Nature and Science of Sleep, Dove Medical Press, May 19, 2017
  • [5] Nathalie Pross, et al., “Effects of Changes in Water Intake on Mood of High and Low Drinkers”, PloS One, Public Library of Science, April 11, 2014
  • [6] Amy Price, Amanda Burls, “Increased Water Intake to Reduce Headache: Learning from a Critical Appraisal”, Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice, U.S. National Library of Medicine
  • [7] “Yes, Drinking More Water May Help You Lose Weight”, The Hub, January 15, 2020
  • [8] Shinje Moon, et al., “The Association Between Obesity and the Nocturia in the U.S. Population”, International Neurourology Journal, Korean Continence Society, June 2019
  • [9] “Heart Disease”, Mayo Clinic, February 9
  • [10] “Diabetes and Nighttime Urination, or Nocturia, Can Be a Sign of Uncontrolled Blood Sugar Levels. This Guide to Nocturia Explains the Basics of Recognising Nocturia, and How to Avoid It”, Diabetes, March 9, 2020
  • [11] B.N. Breyer, A.W. Shindel, B.A. Erickson, S.D. Blaschko, W.D. Steers, R.C. Rosen, “The Association of Depression, Anxiety, and Nocturia: a Systematic Review”, The Journal of Urology, U.S. National Library of Medicine
  • [12] “NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms”, National Cancer Institute
  • [13] “Overactive Bladder (OAB): Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment”, Urology Care Foundation
  • [14] “Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)”, Mayo Clinic, April 23, 2021
  • [15] “Kidney Infection”, NHS Choices
  • [16] “7 Reasons to Start Your Day with Lemon Water”, Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic, July 7, 2021
  • [17] “6 Tips To Be ‘Water Wise’ for Healthy Kidneys”, National Kidney Foundation, February 25, 2021
Content Writer | + posts

Rachael is a content writer for Sleep Advisor who loves combining her enthusiasm for writing and wellness. She’s had a passion for writing since she was a kid when she wrote awful poetry. She’s honed her craft quite a bit since then and considers herself a lucky duck to get paid to do what she loves.

Embracing the remote work life, she occasionally takes her work on the road and lives out her travel writer pipe dream.

In her free time, she attempts to meditate regularly, rides her bike to Trader Joe’s, and enjoys trying every type of food that she can get her hands on.

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