What should you drink before bed?
Author: Jonathan Warren
Staying hydrated is a key tenet for any healthy lifestyle but when it comes to getting a really good night’s rest, there’s plenty of people who live in fear of having to go to the bathroom and interrupting their sweet dreams. This dilemma throws up some serious questions about how to navigate drinking before bed. From questioning what beverage is best before bedtime, to understanding the benefits of certain drinks and when to hydrate, we have put together some hints and tips on ensuring you get the best sleep possible through your drinking choices.
The importance of hydrating for sleep
Not drinking enough fluids can cause headaches, muscle cramps and dryness of the nose and mouth. Whilst the effects of dehydration can be painful enough during the day and impact your health generally, poor hydration can have a knock on impact on your quality of sleep. Headaches and muscle cramps are hardly ideal conditions for sleep, and a dry nasal passage and mouth can cause snoring which could cause you, or your partner, to have an interrupted slumber.
Hydrating can remove these pesky roadblocks on the journey towards quality kip and ensure your body has enough water to help your body regulate temperature, which is important to your circadian rhythm and overall sleep quality. We also lose a lot of water through respiration so our bodies will naturally dehydrate when we sleep. Ensuring you have topped up your fluids appropriately before you tuck yourself into bed will help to ward off waking up feeling too dehydrated.
Increased energy levels, better weight loss management and decreased joint pain are also just some of the other various benefits to your physical health if you make hydration a priority. And if you experience these physical boosts, the chances are you will already be enjoying some outstanding sleep.
When to hydrate?
Having a bottle of water on the go is a great way to make sure your body gets the hydration it needs throughout the day. The NHS recommends that we should all drink between 6 and 8 glasses of water today, but drinking your daily target of water just before you put on your pyjamas is perhaps not the best idea. Too much water in your system as you head to bed could lead to some unwanted side effects such as nocturia.
Nocturia is where you have to get up during the night to urinate more than once. This can have a huge impact on your sleep cycle, meaning you don’t wake up feeling as refreshed and replenished as you should. To avoid nocturia, or other issues which arise from a full bladder such as bedwetting, it is recommended that you stop consuming fluids about two hours before heading to bed. As long as you have hydrated throughout the day, you should be on track for some good quality sleep.
Top 5 sleep-friendly drinks
If you know you need to stock up on fluids before heading to bed but aren’t sure where to start, we’ve put together the top 5 sleep-friendly beverages to help you off to the land of nod:
The best go for all your hydration needs, water is sleep-friendly in that it gives you what you need to hydrate yourself and includes no sugar or caffeine like lots of other soft drinks.
Popular with anxiety sufferers and insomniacs alike, some camomile tea could be just what the doctor ordered considering its calming impact. Naturally caffeine free, camomile tea contains helpful antioxidants and can help you start feeling sleepy at the right time of the evening.
Easy to brew and widely available, a cup of peppermint tea is another helping hand when it comes to sleep. Like a lot of late night hot drinks, a peppermint tea can slot into any evening ritual designed to soothe and prepare you to sleep. It also has been known to help indigestion so could be your new go to remedy if you struggle to sleep after an evening meal.
Soothing for the soul, a cup of warm milk at the end of a long day can be the ideal preparation for a restorative night’s sleep. Not only can warm milk have a calming effect on our brains and bodies but it contains tryptophan which boosts serotonin, in turn helping our bodies release melatonin which helps our circadian rhythms tick along when it comes to bedtime.
Not just a nice alternative with your daily coffee, a glass of almond milk could be the answer to your prayers for better sleep. As almonds are high in things like melatonin and magnesium, almond milk can actually help promote quality kit as well as boost your nutrition since it is packed with healthy minerals and vitamins too.
The downsides of non sleep-friendly drinks
For all the sleep-positive drinks on the market, there are plenty of beverages to swerve if you want to get a good night’s rest.
Alcohol and sleep are not the best bedfellows. Having an alcoholic beverage before heading to bed can impact your ability to get enough REM sleep, increase the risk of sleep apnoea and snoring and dehydrate the body. Whilst some drinkers might be able to get to sleep quickly, its impact on sleep quality can make us feel unrested and overly tired the following day.
Secondly, caffeine is on the no go list as you get later into the evening. Whilst a cup of coffee can be a godsend in the morning, caffeine is a stimulant which can naturally make it more difficult to fall asleep. It’s best to stick to decaffeinated drinks and avoid energy drinks when you get within about six hours of your normal bedtime.
And finally, it’s time to say goodbye to late night fizzy drinks which can also cause significant disruption to your sleep. Both the caffeine and sugar content of most fizzy drinks can lead to restlessness and poor sleep quality.
Searching for more hints and tips on how to sleep better?
Check out our blog for all the advice you need when it comes to getting some better quality shuteye. From the best foods to help you sleep to what plants can aid rest in the bedroom and the best tips for sleeping in the heat, we’ve put together lots of guidance to help you on your way to the land of nod.