Timing Is Hydration: Here Are the 7 Best Times to Drink Water

When’s the best time to drink water?

There’s no doubt that water is vital to your health. If one of your goals is to drink more H2O, you’re going in the right direction, as every cell in our body requires this essential liquid. According to experts, water accounts for up to 75% of your body weight, playing a key role in the function of your heart, lungs, brain, and digestion.

There are many guidelines about how much to drink. The rule of thumb is to take your body weight in pounds (lb), divide this number in half, and the result is the amount of fluids (in ounces), including water, you should drink each day.

For example, if you’re 140 lb, you should drink 70 oz of fluid, which would be about 9 cups of fluid. Of course, this amount depends on several factors, such as if you’re in the heat, if you workout, or if you’re ill, pregnant, or nursing—these are all factors requiring you to increase hydration.

Similarly, according to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, men should drink at least 13 cups of fluids per day, while women should aim for 9 cups of fluids or more.

But as there are some water intake recommendations, there are also some guidelines on when it’s the best time to drink water. According to some experts, timing really matters when it comes to sipping fluids.

This being said, let’s take a look at the evidence to see the best time to drink water!

best time to drink water
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1. When you wake up

If you want to start your day on the right foot, hydrating yourself in the morning can help you do that. According to some experts, this is the best time to drink water because you don’t consume any fluids while you’re sleeping, so naturally you wake up dehydrated. Having water as you start your day can help you get your body back to its baseline.

Some may also find that sipping water right when they wake up makes it easier to increase fluid intake throughout the day and maintain healthy hydration habits. If you’re dehydrated, boosting your daily water intake can help increase your hydration levels, which may be especially beneficial for brain function, energy levels, and mood. So the morning is the best time to drink water!

In fact, multiple studies show that even mild dehydration can negatively affect fatigue, concentration, memory, and anxiety levels.

This being said, rather than a bleary-eyed reach for the coffee, aim to have one to two cups of water first thing in the morning. Then, yes, go get your cup of coffee.

2. Before meals

Several studies suggest that water may play a role in weight management, so the best time to drink water is before eating a meal. Doing so can not only help you feel more full but also help prevent overeating.

According to a study, drinking H2O before lunch was found to decrease hunger and calorie intake in older adults. It may also be better if it’s iced. A small study conducted on men found that participants who consumed two cups of iced water at 35 degrees Fahrenheit ate less food compared to groups that drank hot or warm water, as the chilly temperature slows down digestion and may help reduce appetite.

So, if you’re trying to lose weight, the best time to drink water is before your meals. Not only will it hydrate you, but it will also help with weight loss.

3. After meals

Having a glass of water after a meal can help improve digestion. In fact, water is especially essential to drink alongside high-fiber foods. As fiber moves through your digestive system, it needs fluids to help form stools and promote regularity.

So, the best time to drink water is when you’re eating plant-based foods, as these are packed with lots of fiber.

drink water
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4. When you have a headache

There are lots of causes that can trigger headaches, and according to experts, one of them is dehydration. What’s more, not giving your body enough H2O can also trigger migraine attacks. That’s why the best time to drink water is when you’re dealing with them. According to a study published in 2020, increasing water intake may help migraine frequency, severity, and duration.

5. When you have a midafternoon slump

If you’re experiencing the midafternoon dip, which is something normal, by the way, this is the best time to drink water! This midday slump is a downward slide of energy that happens around 3 p.m., compelling many people to have (a second cup) of coffee to power through the end of the day.

However, experts point out that this beverage choice can cut into your sleep. Even drinking coffee six hours before bed was shown to disrupt the Zzz’s compared to a placebo, according to a study.

Reaching for a sugary snack can have similarly unwelcome outcomes, namely, an energy crash after a spike. So, instead of turning to these imperfect solutions, tackle the root cause, which may be dehydration.

A review of several studies noted that, in addition to fatigue, dehydration can cause confusion, hostility, anger, and depression. Therefore, the best time to drink water is when you’re struggling with the midafternoon dip—it can help ensure your energy and mood stay steady.

6. Before, during, and after exercise

Hydrating starts a day or two before the workout. You won’t want to slam water before exercising in hopes of hydrating up—that will likely result in uncomfortable boating and sloshing as you move. Make sure you’re sipping H2O regularly in the days leading up to a workout, particularly for those who are sweaty or tough.

In fact, according to the Cleveland Clinic, you should have a hydration strategy starting the week before an endurance race. Moreover, a study published in 2019 indicated that going into an endurance race dehydrated, even by a small amount, can significantly decrease performance.

But before exercise isn’t the only best time to drink water, experts point out. For moderate workouts (such as hopping on a recumbent bike, jogging outside, or a speed walk in the morning), it’s important to sip water during exercise to replace the fluids you lose when you sweat. Also, be sure to hydrate well after your workout session to avoid muscle cramps and reduced stamina.

By the way, if you’re looking for a sports water bottle, here are plenty of options to choose from!

drink water
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7. Before bedtime

While hydrating before bedtime is important, you shouldn’t drink a cup or two of water—you’ll wake up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, which will disrupt your sleep.

However, if you feel thirsty, the best time to drink water is before sleep to give your body the fluids it needs. Moreover, for many people on medication, one common side effect is dry mouth, so having a glass of water by their bedside can be helpful.

Consistency is key

Your body constantly regulates water balance during the day, and excess water is excreted out of your system via your skin, kidneys, lungs, and digestive system. While the best time to drink water is when your body tells you to, aim to space out your intake during the day to stay hydrated.

The human body is only able to eliminate a certain amount of fluids at a time, so drinking too much H2O can disrupt your body’s fluid balance and sodium levels, causing serious side effects like confusion, seizures, headaches, fatigue, and coma.

If you have trouble remembering to drink water, try setting a timer to remind yourself to do so at regular intervals. Also, keep a glass or bottle of water on hand throughout the day to help you reach your goals.

If you liked our article on the best time to drink water, you may also want to read 10 Healthy Beverages You Should Drink Everyday.


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