When is the best time to drink water?
The human body needs water to perform normal bodily functions. It is therefore vital for a person to drink water every day. However, there is some debate about whether people should drink water before going to bed.
In this article, we look at the benefits of drinking water, how much to drink each day, and the pros and cons of drinking water near bedtime.
- Drinking enough water is vital for keeping hydrated and for general health.
- There is little evidence to suggest any specific benefits of drinking water at bedtime.
- If a person loses more water than they consume, they risk becoming dehydrated.
Water before bed: Pros and cons
If someone feels dehydrated at night or is at risk of dehydration, then they should drink some water. Beyond this, there are few specific benefits of drinking water before bed.
However, drinking water before going to bed can increase a person's risk of nocturia.
What is nocturia?
Drinking water before bed may increase the need to urinate at night.
Nocturia is the increased need to urinate at night. While asleep, the human body produces more hormones that slow down kidney function and decrease urine production.
This combination reduces the need for people to urinate during the night and helps them sleep uninterrupted. Repeatedly getting up can reduce both the duration and quality of sleep.
Risks of nocturia
When people's sleep is disturbed by nocturia, it can have a significantly impact on their quality of life.
A person's memory, concentration, and mood can be negatively affected by sleep deprivation. The risk of a range of disorders can also be increased, including obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and depression.
Nocturia can happen to anyone at any age but is more common in older people. The following can also increase the risk of nocturia:
- benign prostatic hypertrophy
- overactive bladder
- bladder infections
- heart disease
- certain medications
Getting rid of nocturia
People with nocturia should avoid drinking water in the late evening. A person could try having their last glass a few hours earlier than normal.
Drinking an adequate amount of water during the day is still important. Unless the person is drinking too much, reducing total intake does not usually help.
However, close to bedtime, people should reduce or avoid:
- cocoa or hot chocolate
- cola or sodas
The need to urinate is increased by caffeine and alcohol. Caffeine can also make it more difficult for someone to fall asleep.
People should see a doctor to rule out other possible underlying conditions if they are experiencing persistent nocturia.
How much water do people need to drink?
Sweating due to exercise or physical activity will increase the need to drink water.
A person should drink fluids whenever they feel dehydrated or if there is a high possibility of dehydration. Signs of dehydration include:
- dry mouth, lips, nasal passages, and eyes
- passing only small amounts of urine
- urinating less than four times a day
- strong-smelling and dark-colored urine
The following things increase the risk of dehydration:
- hot environments or being in the sun too long
- intense physical activity or anything that causes excessive sweating
- diarrhea or vomiting
- drinking too much alcohol
According to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), it can be fatal if a person loses more than 10 percent of their body water.
There is 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 thirst alone is enough to guide most people on how much to drink.
However, the FNB suggest women should take in around 2.7 liters of water daily and men around 3.7 liters.
These amounts include the water obtained from eating, which is estimated to make up 19 to 20 percent of daily intake.
Health benefits of drinking water
Water is a cheap and effective way of quenching thirst and replacing lost fluids. As well as being essential for general health, drinking water has several other potential benefits:
Drinking alcohol in moderation is the most effective way to prevent a hangover, although drinking a glass of water before sleep may also help.
Alcohol increases the need to urinate. This can lead to dehydration, which causes some of the symptoms of a hangover.
The best way to avoid a hangover is to drink alcohol in moderation. However, the following tips can also help prevent or reduce the effects of a hangover:
- avoiding alcohol on an empty stomach
- having a glass of water or a non-carbonated soft drink between alcoholic beverages
- drinking a glass of water or two before sleep
Getting enough water is essential for health. In most healthy people, thirst is sufficient in guiding them to know how much to drink.
Water is a cheap, no-calories alternative to sugary drinks and may help improve mood and mental performance. It can also help to prevent headaches and hangovers.
However, if a person drinks water before bed, it can increase the need to urinate during the night and significantly impact on their sleep.