It is normal for the body to have a net loss of water during the night, but there are steps we can take to prevent this from causing dehydration in the long term.
1. Focus on sleeping well
Getting enough, high-quality sleep is an important part of preventing dehydration. The body goes through multiple complex processes during sleep that allow for the recovery of overall health. Getting the recommended amount of sleep allows these processes to occur and allows your circadian rhythm to better manage the body's fluid levels.
Getting a good night's sleep often starts with making sleep a priority. A common principle of sleep hygiene is to have a consistent sleep schedule that gives you enough time to get the sleep you need.
Limiting nighttime use of electronic devices, developing a relaxing bedtime routine, and using a comfortable mattress are other examples of positive sleep hygiene that can help you get a good night's rest.
2. Maintain hydration during the day
If you frequently feel thirsty at night, it could mean that you are not staying sufficiently hydrated during the day. By staying hydrated throughout the day, you have less to worry about when it's time to go to bed.
How can you stay better hydrated?
- Drink fluids regularly, even if it is in small amounts. You can set a schedule reminder if you have difficulty remembering to drink water.
- You can implement using a water bottle to have an easily accessible drink and keep track of how much water you have consumed.
- Drink water as your main drink and be careful with the intake of sugary drinks such as soft drinks or juices, as well as caffeinated and alcoholic drinks.
- Eat a balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables, which have a higher moisture content and can increase water intake from food.
3. Find a comfortable temperature in the bedroom for better rest
Sweating can cause water loss during the night, and if your room is too hot or you tend to sleep hot, heavy sweating can make you more likely to wake up dehydrated.
To avoid this, try to ensure that it can easily maintain a comfortable temperature during the night. Most experts recommend keeping your bedroom thermostat on the colder side.
4. Stay hydrated without needing to urinate frequently at night
Several tips can help to avoid both dehydration and excessive trips to the bathroom:
- Reduce fluid consumption one or two hours before bedtime. While it's okay to sip water, try not to drink large amounts of any beverage before bed.
- Limit alcohol and caffeine in the evening. Both can have a diuretic effect, making you need to urinate during the night. Additionally, alcohol and caffeine can interfere with your normal sleep cycle and sleep quality.
- Elevate your legs at night. Part of nighttime urination occurs because your body reabsorbs water from your legs once you are lying down. By raising your legs a few hours before bed, you can allow this process to take place without causing sleep disruptions.
- Urinate before going to bed. Try emptying your bladder as part of your bedtime routine so you are less likely to feel a strong urge to urinate during the night.
In some cases, it may be inevitable that you will have to wake up at least once a night to urinate. This is normal for many people and becomes more common with age and some medical conditions or medications.
In this situation, it is important to get it thoroughly checked to determine if there is any underlying medical condition that could explain the symptoms.
A doctor can also make specific recommendations for your diet and daily water consumption.