Is drinking water before bed bad for you?

Drinking water is almost always a positive action. Keeping your body properly hydrated is shown to improve your mood and keep your body functioning at peak efficiency. Therefore, starting your day with a glass of water is a great way to get started on your healthy hydration habit. However, ending your day with a glass of water may not be.

Although you can certainly drink water well into the evening, research suggests that drinking water too close to bedtime may be problematic. You see, your body naturally slows down urine production at night, allowing your sleep cycle to go through its paces uninterrupted. However, if you drink water immediately before bed, you tend to negate that natural response, resulting in nocturia.

Medical News Today explains that nocturia is the medical term for when your body wakes you up multiple times during the night to urinate. Many people develop the condition naturally, as they age or as a result of other complicating factors like a urinary tract infection. However, nocturia isn’t just annoying. Interrupting your sleep cycle results in sleep deprivation, which can have serious compounding consequences.

The Trouble with Nocturia

If you regularly wake up in the middle of the night with an urge to urinate, then that urge is effectively disrupting your natural sleep cycle and preventing you from achieving six to eight hours of restful sleep. At face value, the cost of that disruption seems relatively low. You may feel a little tired the next day, as if your mental acuity is a little duller than usual first thing in the morning. Unfortunately, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

The National Sleep Foundation found that adults who regularly slept uninterrupted for less than six hours were at higher risk for cardiovascular conditions including high blood pressure, stroke, and heart attack. Currently, there is little certainty as to why sleep has such a profound effect on heart health but the prevailing theory is that the body releases chemicals during long periods of sleep that lower heart rate and blood pressure. People whose bodies don’t regularly release these chemicals tend to see a gradual increase in their daily blood pressure, which contributes to an overall decline in cardiac health.

In addition to risking cardiac complications, losing sleep adversely affects your mood. Over time, exhaustion can instigate mental health conditions, such as depression, or worsen existing conditions. As a result, inadequate sleep can feel like a double-edged sword, attacking you physically and mentally.

Being Smart about Hydration

This information doesn’t mean that you should never drink water before bed. If you’re feeling dehydrated, then a small glass of water may be appropriate. Your body can burn through about 1.5 pounds of water through the night, so you don’t want to exacerbate an already noticeable situation. That being said, it is best to avoid evening dehydration by drinking your 64 daily ounces throughout the day and limiting liquid consumption starting two hours before you plan on going to sleep.

If you’re limiting liquid consumption two hours before bed and still experiencing nocturia or another kind of sleep disturbance, then reach out to Dr. Mayank Shukla of Sleep MD. New York City’s premier sleep doctor specializes in helping children and adults get a better night’s sleep. With his expertise in pulmonology and fifteen years of experience in the NYC area, Dr. Shukla can help you to identify the cause of your disrupted sleep and discuss workable treatment plans that will leave you waking up feeling rested and ready to take on the world.

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