- Immediately After Waking Up: Starting your day with a glass of water can kickstart your metabolism and help rehydrate your body after a night of sleep. It aids in flushing out toxins, promotes digestion, and prepares your body for the day ahead. Consider adding a squeeze of fresh lemon for an added dose of vitamin C and digestive benefits.
- Before Meals: Drinking water before meals can help control portion sizes and prevent overeating. It creates a feeling of fullness, which can reduce the tendency to consume excessive calories. Additionally, water aids in the digestion process by breaking down food and promoting nutrient absorption.
- During Exercise: When you engage in physical activity, your body loses water through sweat. It is crucial to replenish these lost fluids by drinking water during and after exercise. Staying hydrated during workouts helps maintain optimal performance, regulates body temperature, and prevents dehydration-related complications.
- Mid-Morning and Mid-Afternoon: During these times, you may experience a drop in energy levels or feel fatigued. Instead of reaching for a caffeinated beverage, try drinking a glass of water. Dehydration can contribute to feelings of tiredness and lack of focus. By staying hydrated, you can boost your energy levels and improve cognitive function.
- Before Bathing: Drinking a glass of water before taking a bath or shower can have multiple benefits. It helps maintain blood pressure levels and prevents dizziness or lightheadedness caused by the sudden change in body temperature. Additionally, it hydrates your skin from the inside out, promoting a healthy and radiant complexion.
- Before Bedtime: Drinking water before going to bed not only helps prevent dehydration during the night but also aids in various bodily functions. It assists in the elimination of toxins, supports kidney function, and can reduce the likelihood of nighttime leg cramps. However, avoid drinking excessive amounts to prevent disturbances during sleep.
- When Feeling Hungry: Sometimes, we may confuse thirst with hunger, leading to unnecessary snacking. When you feel hungry between meals, try drinking a glass of water first. This can help determine whether you are genuinely hungry or just thirsty. If the hunger persists after hydrating, you can then consider having a nutritious snack.
Water is an indispensable component of a healthy lifestyle. By understanding the best times to drink water and incorporating them into your routine, you can enhance your overall well-being. Remember to listen to your body’s cues and stay hydrated throughout the day. Cheers to good health!
The 7 Best Times to Drink Water
Boost your mood, support your weight, and sharpen your focus by knowing when and how much to hydrate.
If one of your goals is to drink more water, you’re on your way to a healthier body. “Every cell in our body requires water. Water is critical for the function of your digestion, heart, lungs, and brain,” says Sarah Krieger, a registered dietitian nutritionist in St. Petersburg, Florida.
There are many guidelines about how much to drink. Krieger instructs clients to take their body weight in pounds (lb), divide this number in half, and drink that many ounces (oz) in fluids, including water, each day. (If you are 140 lb, that’s 70 oz of fluids, which is the equivalent of almost 9 cups of fluids.) That also depends on your activity level, if you’re in the heat, or if you’re pregnant, nursing, or ill — all factors that require you to increase hydration. Similarly, water intake recommendations from the National Academies of Sciences, E
Regardless of your hydration goal, it’s important to drink consistently throughout the day. Here are seven times when sipping is a smart move to make:
1. When You Wake Up, Consume One to Two Cups of Water
Rather than a bleary-eyed reach for the coffee, drink one to two cups of water first. Because you don’t drink while you’re sleeping, you wake up already dehydrated, explains Krieger. Having water as you start your day can get you back up to your baseline. This can also help if you take medication in the morning. Then, yes, go get your coffee. The good news is that it counts as fluid, too, and, although it is a caffeinated drink, which tends to be dehydrating, moderate amounts of java are not dehydrating, according to one study. (Still, coffee is not a replacement for water.)
2. To Regulate Hunger, a Glass of Water Before a Meal May Help
Water may play a role in weight management, says Melissa Mitri, RD, a registered dietitian based in Monroe, Connecticut. “Drinking a cup of water before a meal can help you feel more full and help prevent overeating,” she says. Indeed, a small study published in 2018 found that drinking water before a meal helped men and women eat less and feel just as satisfied as a group who didn’t drink water before.
It may also be better if it’s iced. A small study of men that was published in 2019 found that participants who drank two cups of iced water at 35 degrees F ate less food compared to groups that drank warm or hot water, as the chilly temperature slows digestion and may help reduce appetite.
3. Have a Glass of Water to Help Wash Down a Meal
Drinking water with food aids digestion, says Mitri. Water is especially important to drink alongside high-fiber foods. Fiber moves through your digestive system and absorbs water, helping form stools and promote regularity, she says. So if you’re packing your plate with plant-based foods (as you should!), sip on water, too.
4. Rather Than Reaching for Coffee to Cure a Midafternoon Slump, Drink Water
It’s common to experience the midafternoon dip, a downward slide of energy that happens around 3 p.m. This slump compels many people to get coffee to power through the end of the day, but this beverage choice can cut into your sleep, says Mitri. Even drinking caffeine six hours before bed was found to disrupt sleep compared to a placebo, according to research. Reaching for a sugary snack can have similarly unwelcome effects: namely, an energy crash after a spike. Instead of turning to these imperfect solutions, address the root cause, which may be dehydration. A review published in 2019 noted that in addition to fatigue, dehydration can cause anger, hostility, confusion, and depression. Thus, making water a daily habit can help ensure your energy — and mood — stay steady.
5. Drink H2O When You Have a Headache
A headache can be a symptom of dehydration, says the National Headache Foundation. What’s more, it can also trigger migraine attacks. For those with migraines, increasing water intake may help decrease migraine severity, frequency, and duration, noted a study published in 2020.
6. Hydrate Smartly Before, During, and After Exercise
Hydrating begins a day or two before exercise, says Krieger. You also won’t want to slam water before a workout in hopes of hydrating up — that will likely lead to uncomfortable sloshing and bloating as you move. Make sure you’re drinking water regularly in the days leading up to a workout, particularly those that are tough or sweaty. In fact, according to Cleveland Clinic, you should focus on a hydration strategy starting the week before an endurance race. And a study published in 2019 showed that going into an endurance race dehydrated, even by a small amount, can decrease performance.
For moderate workouts (such as a jog outside, a speed walk in the morning, or hopping on a recumbent bike), drink a cup of water about 30 minutes prior, and sip during exercise, adds Mitri. Then be sure to hydrate well after your workout is complete to replace what you’ve lost through sweat.
7. Have a Sip or Two of Water Before Bedtime
Don’t drink a cup or two of water before bed — you’ll have to get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, and that will disturb your sleep. However, go ahead and bring a glass of water to your bedside at night, just in case you get thirsty. For many patients on medication, one common side effect is dry mouth, so keeping water nearby can be helpful, says Krieger.
Expert Tips to Make a Water Habit Happen
Know how many water bottles you need to drink. It can be arduous to count cups, milliliters, or ounces. A simpler tracking method, says Krieger, is to tell yourself you’re going to drink X number of bottles. For instance: You need to fill up your 500 milliliter (ml) Swell bottle four times. Or you’re going to drink four Dasani bottles.
Make drinking water more interesting. “A lot of people don’t have a taste for water,” says Krieger. There’s nothing wrong with that, but you’ll want to do the work to identify how you like it so that you’ll actually drink more. Maybe that’s room temperature or with ice. Filtered or from the tap. Or with slices of orange.
Keep water by your bedside. This isn’t just critical for staying hydrated but also for reinforcing the habit, because it serves as a visual reminder to start sipping, says Mitri. What’s more, “if you start with water, it makes it easier to continue that habit throughout the day rather than playing catch-up,” she says.
Try a challenge. Old habits can be hard to break, and new ones can be tough to form. To hold yourself accountable, commit to a hydration challenge, like the one that Jennifer Ashton, MD, (chief medical correspondent of ABC News) took on for her book, The Self-Care Solution. Fun apps like Plant Nanny can coach you through your “self-watering” process. Or try Madefor, which is focused on building those cognitive connections that make good-for-you moves, like hydrating, automatic.