Why You Shouldn't Drink Water During The Night

Running to the bathroom during the middle of the night to alleviate yourself after too many sips of water? We've all been there, and it is certainly frustrating, but that isn't the only reason you should avoid drinking water before bedtime.

Frequent trips to the bathroom during the night interfere with quality deep sleep, points out MindBodyGreen. "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," shares Robert Rountree, a board-certified family medicine doctor, with MindBodyGreen.

In fact, any lack of sleep can negatively affect your overall health. It can interfere with your immune system, and it impairs the functioning of your brain and gut, notes MindBodyGreen. A 2012 study published in the European Journal of Physiology explains that sleep influences immunological memory and function. When you're sleep-deprived, it alters immune function which increases inflammation and increases the risk of certain diseases (per Communications Biology).

In some cases, drinking too much water can cause nocturia (urinating several times throughout the night) which disrupts the sleep cycle, according to the Sleep Foundation. It makes you more prone to falls, increases your chances of depression, and lowers focus and productivity.

What time should you stop drinking before bed?

In short, there's no best time to stop drinking water before bed since your water intake is dependent on a number of factors. If you're dehydrated, drinking water may improve your mood, which influences your sleep-wake cycle, according to a 2014 study. In fact, drinking water before bed may help with hydration, and potentially reduce pain and cramping (via Healthline). However, if you're waking up in the middle of the night with the urge to use the bathroom, this is a subtle cue you're drinking too much.

Instead, focus on hydrating throughout the day to prevent drinking too much water during the evening. It's recommended that women drink around 11.5 cups of water a day, whereas men need 15.5 cups a day, according to the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (via Mayo Clinic). Keep in mind, water intake can change with activity level and age.

As a general rule of thumb, try to stop drinking water 3 to 4 hours before bed, suggests urologist Vannita Simma-Chiang to MindBodyGreen. However, "any time you feel thirsty or your throat is dry, it's a good idea to drink water," Simma-Chiang concedes. If this happens, take one last bathroom pit stop before hitting the hay.