Here’s What You Need To Know About Drinking Water Before Bed (Without Midnight Bathroom Runs!)

SO Drinking Water

As a kid, you might have gotten banned from even thinking about a glass of water before bed. Now that you’re well in control of your bladder, do you still avoid a drink before you hit the sheets? 

Drinking water before bed can feel like a tug of war between running to the bathroom in the middle of the night and going to bed thirsty with a scratchy tongue and dry, cracked lips. 

The fact of the matter is, your body needs water — it helps you regulate your temperature, cushion your joints, protect sensitive tissues, and get rid of waste products through sweat and anything that goes in the toilet. (1

While that’s easy enough to understand, there’s still the issue of late-night glasses of water leading to middle-of-the-night wakeups. Drinking water before bed involves a bit of a balancing act, and we want to help you figure out just what you need.

Long Story Short

  • Drinking water before bed can help you sleep better and stay hydrated throughout the night.
  • When you drink too many fluids too close to bedtime, you may find you have to get up a lot at night to pee.
  • For your best hydration balance, consider slowing down your fluids one to three hours before you want to go to sleep, and stick to sips right before bed.

How Drinking Water Before Bed Affects Sleep

The effects of drinking water before bed depend a lot on timing and quantity you’re drinking. Are you chugging a half-gallon right before your head hits the pillow? Or, on the other end of the extreme spectrum, do you cut off all liquids many hours before bedtime? 

Drinking water before bed can keep you from getting dehydrated, which happens when your body gets rid of fluid faster than you take it in. (2) Dehydration can cause headaches, irritability, and dry mouth — none of which lend themselves to a great night of sleep. (2)

On the other hand, extra water too close to lights out can have you up all night needing to pee. Even though your body slows down your urine factory during sleeping hours, you can overload that system. In those cases, your body will wake you up for a trip to the bathroom, which disrupts your sleep cycles. (3

Experts can’t say for sure how much dehydration affects sleep, though one small study of 12 young men found no connection between hydration status and a good night’s rest. (4) Overall, it’s best not to panic if you’re feeling a little quenched — mild dehydration shouldn’t wreak havoc on your sleep.

Let’s dig into the details here and look at the benefits and drawbacks to your pre-bed water game.

The Benefits of Drinking Water Before Bed

Sipping water before you climb into bed can help your body and your snoozing in a couple different ways. First off, it can help you sleep longer. One older study of adults found that hydrated people are much more likely to sleep eight hours than dehydrated sleepers. (5)

“Sleeping [itself] is a dehydrating activity, because for seven or eight hours, you’re breathing without taking in any fluid,” says Dr. Audrey Wells, MD, sleep expert and founder of Super Sleep MD. So when you drink water before bed, Wells adds, you can lessen the chances of starting the night off dehydrated.

Your hydration status also has a big effect on a hormonal system that helps your body know when to hold on to water and when to get rid of it. This system closely links to another hormone that is connected to your circadian rhythm. When you get enough to drink before bed, these hormonal dancing partners can stay in sync, leading to better sleep for you. (5) (6)

There isn’t yet a general consensus among experts on how much water you should drink daily, mainly because many of the foods we eat contain fluid, too. (1) But in general, the recommendation is 6 to 12 cups per day. (7)

Potential Drawbacks to Drinking Water Before Bed

The benefits of drinking enough water before bed seem to close the book on this case, but you can overdo your pre-sleep water intake.


When your system gets too water-logged, you have to get up throughout the night to urinate. When this happens regularly, it’s called nocturia. (3)

Once you’re up, you may find it tricky to get back to sleep, says Wells, who recommends staying hydrated throughout the day to avoid the need for a lot of water at bedtime.

If your frequent nighttime trips to the bathroom are caused by too much water before bed, you can try lowering your intake. But keep in mind, peeing through the night can have other causes, too, like a bladder infection, enlarged prostate gland, or other chronic health conditions. (3

Be sure to let your healthcare provider know if you’re running to the bathroom a couple times every night — they should be able to help you get to the bottom of it.


Most kids can’t control their bladders until about age five, and even then, too much water in their nighttime routine can mean wet diapers and sodden sheets. (8) When they wet the bed more than twice a month after age six, it’s officially called bedwetting, or nocturnal enuresis. (9)

In adults, bedwetting usually has a medical reason. (8) Your healthcare provider can help you figure out what’s going on and get the right treatment. 

How to Start Drinking Water Before Bed (and Hopefully Avoid Trips to the Bathroom!)

You don’t want to end up dehydrated, but you also don’t want to make lots of trips to the toilet in the wee hours. So, what’s your perfect hydration balance? Everyone will have a slightly different tolerance for fluids while they sleep, says Wells, so you may need to try a few things to find what works for you.

“I recommend stopping fluid intake one to three hours before bed, depending on your hydration status and your tolerance for nighttime awakenings,” says Wells. She says sticking to sips of water in the hours before bed will help keep your bladder empty all night.

These recommendations might feel overwhelming, but remember — the best health changes are adopted gradually, so don’t feel like you have to jump right to your hydration goal. Ease into this new routine bit by bit, and soon it will feel like second nature.

What to do About Dry Mouth

If you have a chronically dry mouth from a medical condition or medication, you may feel like drinking water right up until you drift to sleep. For a dry mouth, Wells recommends trying mouth moisturizers like Biotin and Xylimelt under the direction of your healthcare provider. (10)

Alternatives to Water

If you’re not used to water, the idea of drinking more may sound like a real bummer. Water’s great because it has no calories, added chemicals, or sugar. But if you can’t stomach the thought of so much H2O, you have some other options. 

As alternatives to water, Wells suggests herbal teas with minimal to no caffeine, like green tea. “Some people can tolerate decaf coffee,” Wells says, but cautions that it will still contain some caffeine. “Sports drinks can be ok, but you’re going to get a little extra sugar with that and also get electrolytes.”

Electrolytes can help your body hold on to water, Wells says, but this can also lead to puffy eyes in the morning because of how electrolytes affect fluid balance. (11) You can also plan on incorporating some more liquid-dense foods into your diet.

How you hydrate is a personal choice, so feel free to try a few options to find what works best for you.


When should I stop drinking water before bed?

“I recommend stopping fluid intake one to three hours before bed, depending on your hydration status and your tolerance for nighttime awakenings,” says Wells.

The Last Word From Sleepopolis 

Your body thrives when you stay hydrated, and drinking a little water before bed can keep away pesky symptoms of dehydration and help you sleep better all night. Just be careful not to overdo it, or you’ll be running to the bathroom all night. Experiment with different water amounts and healthy water alternatives and enjoy some hydrated sleep!


  1. Water and Healthier Drinks | Healthy Weight, Nutrition, and Physical Activity | CDC. Accessed February 8, 2024.
  2. Adult Dehydration – StatPearls – NCBI Bookshelf. Accessed February 21, 2024.
  3. Nocturia – StatPearls – NCBI Bookshelf. Accessed February 8, 2024.
  4. Aristotelous P, Aphamis G, Sakkas GK, et al. Effects of controlled dehydration on sleep quality and quantity: A polysomnographic study in healthy young adults. Journal of Sleep Research. 2019;28(3):e12662. doi:10.1111/jsr.12662
  5. Rosinger AY, Chang AM, Buxton OM, Li J, Wu S, Gao X. Short sleep duration is associated with inadequate hydration: cross-cultural evidence from US and Chinese adults. Sleep. 2019;42(2):zsy210. doi:10.1093/sleep/zsy210
  6. Török B, Varga J, Zelena D. Vasopressin as a Possible Link between Sleep-Disturbances and Memory Problems. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2022;23(24):15467. doi:10.3390/ijms232415467
  7. Dietary Reference Intakes for Water, Potassium, Sodium, Chloride, and Sulfate. National Academies Press; 2005:10925. doi:10.17226/10925
  8. Akhavizadegan H, Locke JA, Stothers L, Kavanagh A. A comprehensive review of adult enuresis. Can Urol Assoc J. 2019;13(8):282-287. doi:10.5489/cuaj.5485
  9. Nocturnal Enuresis – StatPearls – NCBI Bookshelf. Accessed February 21, 2024.
  10. Assy Z, van Santen JS, Brand HS, Bikker FJ. Use and efficacy of dry-mouth interventions in Sjögren’s disease patients and possible association with perceived oral dryness and patients’ discomfort. Clin Oral Invest. 2023;27(9):5529-5537. doi:10.1007/s00784-023-05172-2
  11. Physiology, Osmoregulation and Excretion – StatPearls – NCBI Bookshelf. Accessed February 21, 2024.

    Audrey Wells, MD. Personal Interview. February 14, 2024.

Abby McCoy

Abby McCoy

Abby McCoy is an RN of 16 years who has worked with adults and pediatric patients encompassing trauma, orthopedics, home care, transplant, and case management. She has practiced nursing all over the world from San Fransisco, CA to Tharaka, Kenya. Abby loves spending time with her husband, four kids, and their cat named Cat.

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