Dehydration can happen at any time of year and make us feel tired and unable to sleep.
We all know it's important to stay hydrated. Drinking water not only helps our hearts stay healthy and keeps our bodies running smoothly, but a cool glass of water can also make us feel more awake.
But if a glass of water is often the answer to the inevitable afternoon slump and a better way to stay awake than coffee, how can it also help us get a good night's sleep?
Does water help energy levels?
A 2019 study found that being dehydrated from not getting enough water hurts energy, short-term memory, and attention. When the subjects drank more water, they felt less tired and their short-term memory, attention, and reaction times all got better.
In 2005, another study found that after 24 hours without water, people were more tired and less active. Women took longer to reply than men.
Dietitian Sophie Medlin says that being just 1% thirsty can make it hard to stay awake, pay attention, and concentrate. "This is because water is important for every part of our bodies to work, especially our brains."
Dr. Greg Potter, the chief science officer at Resilient Nutrition, says that this has to do with "how dehydration changes the way that important chemicals in the brain called neurotransmitters send signals." Since about 75% of our brains are made up of water, it makes sense that if you don't drink enough water, it will affect how your brain works and fires. A glass of water can really help the brain wake up.
Does water help you sleep?
Strong Women's editor Miranda Larbi says that drinking a glass of water before bed helps her fall asleep faster and sleep more deeply. And it's not just anecdotal proof; a 2019 study found that people who sleep less than the recommended eight hours a night are more likely to not drink enough water. We seem to sleep much worse when we don't drink enough.
"If our bodies are missing something important, it can make us sleep worse," says Medlin. "This is thought to be a way for our bodies to keep us alive, so we can go get water. When we go to bed hungry or when we have a shortage like anemia or low salt levels, our sleep is often disturbed.
A study from 2007 adds to what the Sleep Foundation says. In the study, researchers found that drinking something warm in the evening helps your body regulate its temperature. This means that drinking hot water or a tea without caffeine might be the best way to tell your body it's time to sleep.
But Dr. Potter says that having water right before bed can make it hard to sleep. "It can make you want to go to the bathroom more at night. This is called "nocturia." Some people are more likely to do this than others, like those with smaller bladders.
"Another thing that can cause nocturia is when your body clock doesn't work right. This clock generally changes hormones like arginine vasopressin, which slows urine production at night. However, if the clock isn't working right, it can cause urine production to stay high at night.
He says that if you have to get up to go to the bathroom more than once at night, you might want to limit the amount of fluids you drink, especially diuretics like alcohol and coffee, in the hours before you go to bed. But what's more important is that you have good sleep and morning habits so that a glass of water before bed doesn't keep you awake at night.
Does water help people age in a good way?
A new study published in eBioMedicine found that people who drink enough water seem to be healthier, get fewer chronic diseases, and live longer than those who don't drink as much.
Researchers looked at the information from 11,255 people over 30 years old and found that how much water we drink has a big effect on how we age.
The study's author, Natalia Dmitrieva, said, "The results suggest that staying hydrated may slow down aging and make you live longer without getting sick."
And what's the best way to drink more water? Having a glass of wine before bed.
Should you have a glass of water before bed?
It seems that drinking water right away can make your brain more alert, but if you don't drink enough water every day, you won't be able to fall asleep. "In general, it's best to try to stay hydrated while awake, and if you have trouble with nighttime urination, you should change how much fluid you drink before bed."
Medlin says, "Because water is so important, even a little bit of dehydration can mess up your sleep, make you feel tired, and affect how your body works."
"When we're a little thirsty, we don't always realize it, but our bodies will start to feel bad. That's why it's so important to keep track of how much you drink every day and know the signs of dehydration, like teeth marks on your tongue, darker pee, and a dry mouth.