Should I Drink Water Before Bed - The Link Between Sleep And Hydration

Last updated on : November 20 2020

Girl sleeping pwacwfullt

Article Summary

While there's some debate among sleep experts about drinking a glass of water before sleeping, it can provide benefits like body detox, staying hydrated, and better sleep quality - provided it doesn't force you to get up to urinate.

Our advice is to practice staying hydrated during the day, so you don't need to drink too much water right before bedtime - click on the links below to learn more. 

1. How Much Water Should I Drink Before Bedtime

2. The Science Behind Sleep Quality And Hydration

3.Waters Overall Benefit To Human Health

4. Conclusion

5. Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Water Should I Drink Before Bedtime

We all know that being adequately hydrated is critical to our overall health. And one way to keep our hydration levels healthy is to drink some water at night, before bedtime.

Yes, drinking water before bedtime can improve your hydration levels and quality of sleep, especially if the weather is hot. However, you need to consume just enough not to have you waking up to urinate. 

You see, drinking water before you sleep, although hydrating, can disrupt your sleep patterns if you need to get up to urinate. And research shows that disrupted sleep patterns (or not getting enough sleep) dehydrates you with all the negative consequences. 

The answer is not to wait until bedtime to drink your water needs but to stay hydrated during the day. And if you do need to drink water before bedtime, to consume just enough to hydrate you but not wake you up to pee.

Many individual factors affect your hydration levels, from your age to how much activity your day contained. So how much to drink at bedtime to hydrate but not disrupt sleep will depend on you - test it out over time.

The Science Behind Sleep Quality And Hydration

Sleepy hand touching water

It's not breaking news that not drinking enough water can make you dehydrated. However, the connection between sleep quality and hydration is probably not so clear. 

It's essential to know that dehydration can affect your sleep quality and that sleep deprivation can cause dehydration. And so, you need to balance hydration and sleep. 

Dehydration Impacts Your Quality Of Sleep

Going to bed even mildly dehydrated can disrupt your sleep. 

Dehydration causes your mouth and nasal passages to become dry, setting you up for sleep-disruptive snoring and a parched throat. A lack of pre-bed fluids can also lead to nocturnal leg cramps that may keep you awake. 

Also, you'll be aware of your need for water, even while sleeping, and might get up to drink, further disrupting your sleep.

Lastly, a 2014 study shows that dehydration can harm your mood. That, in turn, can affect your sleep-wake cycle. 

Additionally, You Lose Water During Sleep 

The body loses about 0.25 gallons (1 liter) of water just from breathing while asleep. 

However, that's only one way people lose water during sleep. 

Besides breathing, you can also lose water through sweating. If you're a "hot sleeper," then you'll lose even more moisture.

But Drinking Too Much Water Before Bedtime Can Disrupt Your Sleep

While many health experts argue we should be drinking 6 to 8 glasses of water during the day, many people schedule one glass before bedtime.

However, if you drink water at bedtime, this can boost how many times you'll have to urinate during the night. The body produces less urine at night, but that situation changes if you drink even one glass of H2O before bedtime - which could change your sleep cycle. 

While there are several sleep stages, experts agree that it is better to get 6 to 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep - because continuous sleep can help your brain and body feel more refreshed in the morning. That's always a good thing.

When you alter your sleep cycle, this can harm other health issues. They include blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and heart health.

Other factors like age can also affect your sleep & urinary cycle. 

For example, older adults are more likely to have overactive bladders. Thus, drinking water at bedtime would be more likely to trigger symptoms and increase the need to get up for "number one." 

And, A Lack Of Sleep Makes You Dehydrated

It turns out that sleepiness increases the chances of dehydration

So drinking more water before sleeping and after waking up might improve your hydration levels - but only if consuming this way doesn't disrupt your sleep. 

A further study by Penn State found that adults who sleep just six hours per night — as opposed to eight — may have a higher chance of being dehydrated. 

They linked the cause to the way the body's hormonal system regulates hydration.

The bottom line is that if you're not getting enough sleep, you risk dehydration. Or, without a full night's sleep, it is more challenging to stay hydrated throughout the day.  

So How Do I Stay Hydrated And Get A Good Nights Sleep

The answer is to ensure you stay hydrated during the day and avoid behavior that might make you thirsty before going to bed.

This behavior will ensure you do not need to consume too much water before bedtime and won't disrupt your sleep with the need to urinate. 

Here are some tips to help: 

A. Drink water when you wake up 

Drink water when you wake up. Drink between 12 ounces to 16 ounces of plain water at room temperature. 

Since you've lost about 1 liter of water without trying (breathing), this is a critical step to take. You can instantly replace all the H2O lost during your sleep with this simple step.

B. Wait for your first cup of caffeine

Whether it's black coffee or green tea, make sure to wait at least 1.5 hours before you have your first cup. 

Waiting might seem like a mission impossible if you're a fan of caffeinated drinks, but it's essential. Some sleep experts even recommend waiting 2 to 3 hours after waking up before having caffeinated drinks.

The main reason is caffeine is a diuretic (makes you urinate). While this is a necessary process, it's something to avoid when you're trying to rehydrate your body after getting a good night's sleep. 

What should you drink before your cup of java? Consider decaffeinated coffee or tea. While you'll still be consuming the stimulant, there's a lot less of the stuff than freshly brewed caffeinated coffee, for example.

C. Avoid caffeine up to 6 hours before bedtime

This guideline might be surprising since it might mean drinking your last coffee or tea during mid-afternoon. However, studies show the 6+ hours of a caffeine-free diet can help you fall asleep and stay asleep.

If you're looking for an afternoon pick-me-up, try decaffeinated coffee or tea. Or do some physical exercise like a brisk walk or light calisthenics.

These options can provide an energy boost that's less likely to keep you tossing and turning than a quadruple espresso shot and could offer the same benefit as selecting the most comfortable mattress.

Water's Overall Benefit To Human Health 

Girl waking up after good night sleep

In general, the 6 to 8 glasses of water per day rule applies. However, regular exercise, humid weather, and health conditions are factors that might require you to drink more water. 

Here are some key health benefits of drinking water;

Reduces Bodyweight

Here's a fun fact: Water is the only natural 0-calorie food or drink. To lose weight, you need to create a "caloric deficit," so you're burning more calories than you're consuming.

Drinking zero-calorie water can help in many ways. It can make your tummy feel full, which can help you eat less at mealtimes, and it can rid your body of stuff like extra salt, fat, and artificial food additives. 

Removes Wastes/Toxins

Water removes waste and toxins through different processes like sweating, urinating, and defecating. When you drink enough water, it can help to keep bodily fluids moving. 

This waste removal can help detoxify the body of salt, sugar, fat, etc. That, in turn, can improve your general digestion. 

Meanwhile, if you don't drink enough water, you can experience health conditions like constipation.  

Regulates Body Temperature

A critical factor in our body's temperature regulation is sweating. For example, we lose sweat in situations like physical activity to cool us down. 

Sweat helps to keep the body cool, so it's vital to replenish body fluids by drinking water. Drinking enough is very important when sweating more than usual.

Boosts Skin Health

Drinking enough water can help in different ways. For example, it can help hydrate skin, which is essential for keeping it soft and smooth.

Some studies show drinking water might also help to create collagen proteins. According to Cleveland Clinic, this process is critical since collagen makes up about 75% of skin cells


Girl waking up after good night sleep

Everyone has bedtime rituals that they follow before catching Zs. They can range from brushing teeth to counting sheep and from meditation or Zumba. 

While there's some debate among sleep experts about drinking a glass of water before sleeping, it can provide benefits like body detox, staying hydrated, and better sleep quality - provided it doesn't force you to get up to urinate.

Our advice is to practice staying hydrated during the day, so you don't need to drink too much water before bedtime.

As many factors affect your hydration levels and your propensity to urinate at night, you'll need to test out what works best for you. 

Bedtime Water and Sleep Quality: FAQs

These are the questions most frequently asked by our readers. 

Will drinking water at bedtime make me urinate before morning?

Yes, but it depends on various factors. They include how much water you drink and whether you urinate at bedtime. If you drink one glass/cup of water before crawling into bed, then you might need to make one trip to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

Can sleep affect hydration levels?

It might be surprising, but lack of sleep can cause dehydration. Sleep deprivation affects hormone levels, resulting in the body losing more moisture instead of less during sleep.

Should I hydrate more if I already sleep well?

If you're getting enough sleep, then you're among one-third of U.S. adults, according to CDC. However, it doesn't necessarily mean you're drinking enough water. For example, drinking water can help with body detox, lubricate joints, and even weight loss.

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