Should You Dehydrate Before Bed?

hydration sleep sport nutrition Feb 19, 2024

Are you too hydrated later in the day? Weird question, I know but I am hearing more and more athletes complain that they are waking up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom. Doing so can lead to significant disruptions in physical and cognitive recovery and could lead to reduced capacity to perform, both in sport and life.

If you find yourself waking up to use the bathroom, here are a few strategies you can use to minimize these interruptions:

#1: Manage Your Hydration

While staying hydrated is essential, be mindful of your fluid intake in the hours leading up to bedtime. Limiting the consumption of beverages, especially those with caffeine or alcohol, close to bedtime can help reduce the need for nighttime bathroom visits. I recommend not consuming caffeine after 12:00 pm and trying to “front-load” your fluid intake so you are drinking more in the first 2/3 of the day versus the last 1/3 of the day.

#2: Empty Your Bladder Before Bed

This is pretty obvious but be sure to make it a habit to visit the bathroom right before bedtime. Not 30 minutes before. Not 15 minutes before. Like one minute before.

#3: Create a Relaxing Bedtime Routine

Establishing a calming bedtime routine signals to your body that it's time to wind down. Engage in activities such as reading, gentle stretching, or meditation to help relax your mind and body, potentially reducing the urge to urinate during the night.

#4: Avoid Stimulants Before Bed

Stimulants like caffeine can have diuretic effects, increasing urine production and the likelihood of nighttime bathroom trips. It’s easy to remember to avoid caffeine because we think of beverages but be sure to also stay clear of foods that contain caffeine such as chocolate.

#5: Adjust Your Evening Mealtime

Eat an earlier dinner whenever possible. A heavy meal close to bedtime can put pressure on the bladder and contribute to the need for nighttime bathroom breaks, not to mention interrupting the going to sleep process due to an increase in digestion.

#6: Manage Stress and Anxiety

High-stress levels can affect sleep patterns and exacerbate the need to use the bathroom during the night. Add stress-reducing activities into your daily routine, such as deep breathing exercises or meditation, to promote overall relaxation.


Reach out to our team of Sport Dietitians at eNRG Performance for more guidance on how to improve your daily hydration and nutrition plans for better sleep.






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