This Is The Best Time To Stop Drinking Water If You Want To Sleep Through The Night
Jamie Schneider is the Beauty & Wellness Editor at mindbodygreen, covering beauty and wellness. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and Wyld Skincare.
It's common to place a glass of water at your bedside, just in case you feel thirsty during your wind-down routine—better to have water within arm's reach rather than leaving your cozy, warm bed to fill a cup. It turns out, though, drinking too much water before bed isn't such a good idea; it can actually affect your sleep quality. But how much is too much? And what's the exact cutoff time?
When should you stop drinking water before bed?
The relationship between hydration and sleep sits on a bell curve: Not enough hydration can mess with your quality of rest, as Harris notes that lack of sleep can lead to inadequate hydration. A 2019 study even found that adults who had a short sleep duration (six hours or less) also had suboptimal hydration levels1, whereas drinking too many liquids can result in multiple trips to the bathroom—which means more sleep interruptions throughout the night.
So where is the hydration sweet spot? Ultimately, the exact hour differs for everyone (mbg's founder and co-CEO Jason Wachob front-loads his water intake and sets a limit at 7 p.m. to avoid late-night trips to the bathroom), but Harris suggests monitoring your fluids during the day and assessing from there. "Some people are not drinking enough during the day, so come nighttime, they're super thirsty," she says. They chug a glass or two of water, and then they may face frequent urination at night. "I encourage people to really try and hydrate throughout the day so that you're not backlogging it at night," she adds. If you're looking for a specific number: Urologist Vannita Simma-Chiang, M.D., recommends taking your last sip of the day three to four hours before bed.
Of course, you shouldn't banish your water bottle from the bedroom entirely—if you're especially thirsty, go ahead and take a sip! Plus, some people take evening medications or wish to dabble in sleep supplements, which typically require some gulps of water to make swallowing easier. Harris agrees: "That's fine, but try to limit [the water] to 8 ounces max," she says.
In our humble opinion, taking advantage of powerful sleep-promoting ingredients (like our blend of magnesium bisglycinate, jujube, and PharmaGABA® in sleep support+) outweighs the potential effects from the extra fluid.* And anyway, you only need a couple of sips to swallow a couple of capsules—way less than 8 ounces.
Again, just remember to prioritize adequate hydration throughout the day: "I encourage everyone in the morning, if you've had a rough night of sleep, start your day with a big glass of water," says Harris. "I always have water with a lemon slice in it."
It's important to limit your water intake right before bed. While the exact timestamp differs for everyone, try to keep it within a few hours of your bedtime. It may even be helpful to, like Wachob, front-load your water in the morning right when you wake up—not only can it help counteract the dehydrating effects of poor sleep, but you might not feel as thirsty when you start winding down.
Jamie Schneider is the Beauty & Wellness Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and Wyld Skincare. In her role at mbg, she reports on everything from the top beauty industry trends, to the gut-skin connection and the microbiome, to the latest expert makeup hacks. She currently lives in New York City.