Hydration is a crucial aspect of our overall health—however, trying to catch up on your hydration right before bedtime can negatively affect your sleep quality. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t keep a glass of water on your bedside table anymore, but it does mean that you should aim to stop chugging water at a certain time in the evening for the best quality sleep.
When should you stop drinking water for better sleep?
Striking the right balance between hydration and sleep can be quite a tricky thing. If you go to bed not hydrated enough, it will negatively affect your quality of rest, and, as licensed psychologist and behavioral sleep doctor Shelby Harris, PsyD, DBSM, notes, lack of sleep can be “very dehydrating,” which only exacerbates the issue. That said, consuming too much liquid might mean that you’re making multiple trips to the bathroom each night, which also disturbs your sleep.
Unfortunately, there’s no exact hour that is determined the best time to stop drinking water—this will vary depending on the person. However, Harris says that a good way to figure out what stopping time works for you is to start monitoring your fluids throughout the day and assess from there. “Some people are not drinking enough during the day, so come nighttime, they’re super thirsty,” she explains. Often, these are the people who are throwing back a glass or two right before bed and are faced with 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 says. If you want a specific time, Urologist Vannita Simma-Chiang, M.D., advises people to stop drinking three to four hours before bed.
This is, of course, a guideline and not a hard rule. If you’re feeling thirsty, go ahead and quench that thirst, and if you have to take medication before bed that requires you to gulp some water to get them down, that’s fine too. In these cases, Harris’ suggestion is to “try to limit [the water] to eight ounces max.”
The key thing to remember here is to prioritize adequate hydration throughout the day to avoid being overly thirsty come evening time.