Middle-age people and seniors are often told not to drink water at bedtime. That way they can avoid disrupting their sleep with nighttime trips to the bathroom.
Men with an enlarged prostate often have problems with frequent nighttime urination. Avoiding drinking anything in the evening is a way to combat it.
But researchers have found that this advice can backfire. Going to bed thirsty can cause something far worse than annoying bathroom visits.
While you sleep, your body loses water. It evaporates through your skin and your exhaling breaths. You lose up to 32 ounces of water every night.1
This can lead to dehydration. When that happens, the volume of your blood and your blood pressure both drop.2
To maintain blood pressure, your body constricts blood vessels and increases your heart rate. Your heart has to work extra hard to force blood through narrowed blood vessels. This increases the chance of a heart attack or stroke. And it’s one reason why the morning is the time of day when most heart attacks occur.3
That’s why it’s important that you’re hydrated when you go to bed.
Dehydration Increases Heart Attack Risk by 50%
A large study followed over 20,000 healthy adults, ages 38 to 100, for six years. It showed just how dangerous dehydration is to your cardiovascular system.
The research found that men who drank five or more glasses of water daily (40 ounces) had a 54% lower chance of having a heart attack or stroke compared to men who drank two or fewer glasses of water a day.4
And women who drank at least five glasses had a 41% lower heart attack risk.
The study was published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.
The authors concluded that dehydration is one of the biggest risk factors for a deadly heart attack. “The clearest and most consistent association with fatal coronary heart disease was found with water intake,” they wrote.5
The researchers went on to say, “By drinking more plain water, healthy people . . . reduced their risk of dying from a heart attack by half or more.”6
5 Reasons Water Is the Healthiest Thing You Can Drink
The study found that liquids other than water—juices, milk, soft drinks, etc.—do not have the same heart benefit. They suggested that sugars and other ingredients in those beverages could negate the benefits of plain water.
Besides lowering heart attack risk, drinking plenty of water:7 8
- Helps concentration and mood. When you are dehydrated, there is less blood flow to the brain.
- Decreases headaches. When the body is dehydrated, the brain can temporarily shrink from fluid loss. This causes the brain to pull away from the skull and cause pain.
- Leads to weight loss. A study published in Obesity, A Research Journal found that 48 middle-age dieters who drank one pint (16 ounces) of water before meals lost 2.2 more pounds over a 12-week period compared to those who didn’t.
- Increases metabolism. One study found that drinking one pint of water temporarily boosts metabolism by 24-34%.
- Ends nighttime cramps. Your muscles are always seeking hydration. When they can’t find it, they cramp and send you a painful wake up call.
And drinking a glass of water before bedtime has a beauty benefit as well. It helps your body get rid of age-accelerating toxins and salts while you sleep. This leads to younger-looking skin.
Editor’s Note: If you’re a man and you’re getting up frequently at night to go to the bathroom, an enlarged prostate may be your problem. Half of men suffer symptoms by age 50. But how big is your prostate?
There’s a simple way to find out. Take this 2-minute quiz.