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Why You Should Probably Refrain From Drinking Too Much Water Before Bed, According To A Urologist

Abby Moore
Editorial Operations Manager By Abby Moore
Editorial Operations Manager
Abby Moore is an editorial operations manager at mindbodygreen. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from The University of Texas at Austin and has previously written for Tribeza magazine.
Water by bedside on a nighstand

Ever notice that urine color tends to be darker in the morning than it is later in the day? While that amber hue is generally a sign of dehydration, overcorrecting by guzzling water close to bedtime or keeping a cup on your nightstand for pre-snooze sipping may not be the best option. 

What's so bad about drinking water before bed?

While drinking water later in the evening is not unhealthy in and of itself, waking up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom can interfere with overall health. 

Lack of quality sleep can lead to a weakened immune system, according to integrative immunologist Heather Moday, M.D. "While our body is resting, the immune system cells can also focus all efforts and energy on a strong attack against viruses and bacteria," she previously told mbg. And in the midst of a pandemic, keeping the immune system in tiptop shape is more critical than ever. 

Disrupted sleep can also interfere with gut health, which plays a role in brain functioning, immune functioning, and of course, digestion. 

"In my opinion, it's not the total hours you're in bed. It's how much deep sleep and how much REM sleep you're getting," board-certified family medicine doctor Robert Rountree, M.D., said during a mindbodygreen podcast episode. In other words, even if you're getting a full eight hours, waking up in the middle of the night to urinate can disrupt your sleep cycle, leading to grogginess and limited energy the next day. 


So, when should you stop drinking water?

Depending on a person's age, health status, and physical or sexual activities, the best time to stop drinking water will vary. In general, though, urologist Vannita Simma-Chiang, M.D., recommends taking your last sip of the day three to four hours before bed. (At least, that's what she does as part of her own pee health routine.) 

Of course, "Any time you feel thirsty or your throat is dry, it's a good idea to drink water," Simma-Chiang adds. Just try to go to the bathroom right after to avoid waking again later. 

Another thing to keep in mind: Going to the bathroom more than the average person, especially at night (aka nocturia), may be associated with high blood pressure, diabetes, or cardiovascular medicines, like diuretics. If you've capped your water intake well before bed and are still waking up frequently to go, reach out to a primary care doctor or urologist to rule out serious health conditions.

As for that cup of water on your nightstand? Save it for the morning. Jess Cording, M.S., R.D., CND, recommends drinking a glass of water first thing in the a.m. to promote positive hydration all day long, for optimal gut and overall health.

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