Drinking Water Right Before Bed? We've Got Rough News For Your Health

Hydration is essential but we have to stay mindful.

I know that we are all hydration-savvy these days and no outing is complete without our trusty reusable water bottles, but I have a confession: I’m still getting the hang of remembering to drink enough water every day.

One thing I have managed to get in the habit of doing, though, is having a pint of water before bed and taking my water bottle with me to bed each night to leave on my bedside table, should I get thirsty through the night.

However, according to one sleep expert, my newly-formed habit may be keeping me hydrated but it could be impacting my sleep. Typical.

Why you shouldn’t drink water right before bed

According to Ashley Hainsworth, sleep expert at Bed Kingdom, while staying hydrated throughout the day is essential, there is a time when we should actually cut off drinking water.

This is because overhydration, especially close to bedtime, can impact sleep quality and lead to frequent trips to the bathroom.

Hainsworth said: “Hydrating earlier in the day is crucial to ensure that your body has adequate time to process fluids and reduce the likelihood of disruptions during the night.”

He added that drinking large amounts of water before bed prompts the kidneys to produce more urine, leading to more bathroom trips. This disrupts your natural sleep cycle which can harm long-term health.

According to The Sleep Foundation, Sleep disruptions have also been associated with neurodegenerative disease including dementia and Parkinson’s disease.

Hainsworth said: “Consistent disruption to our sleep cycle, especially from frequent trips to the bathroom during the night, isn’t just a nuisance - it’s a serious threat to our overall health.”

When is the best time to drink water?

On the best time of day to load up on water, Hainsworth advised: “Start your hydration early in the morning and maintain a steady intake throughout the day.”

He added that this will mean you’re less likely to feel the need to compensate with excessive water consumption later in the evening.

He also suggests cutting back on fluids in the hours before it’s time to sleep, saying: “In the two hours leading up to bedtime, gradually decrease your fluid intake. This allows your body enough time to process the fluids, minimising the risk of disruptive bathroom trips.”

It’s also advisable to avoid any kind of alcohol or caffeine from the likes of tea, coffee and some carbonated beverages before bed.

“Both caffeine and alcohol can interfere with sleep,” Hainsworth warned. “These beverages act as diuretics, increasing urine production. It’s advisable to limit their consumption, especially in the hours before bedtime.”

Mr Hainsworth stressed the importance of establishing a consistent water-drinking routine to optimise sleep.

He stressed the importance of aligning your water consumption with your daily routine by responding promptly to thirst, especially earlier in the day.

He added: “It’s not just about how much you drink, but when and how it fits into your day. By adopting a mindful routine, you can improve sleep quality and overall health.”

I guess I need to re-think my habits.