Other than when you’re thirsty or have signs of dehydration, does it really matter when you drink water? Or is the scheduling of water intake a bit too obsessive?
The issue may not even be when is the best time to drink water, but rather, what are the best times NOT to consume it.
“Drink water throughout the day to maintain good hydration,” says Susan L. Besser, MD, with Mercy Medical Center, Baltimore, and Diplomate American Board of Obesity Medicine and board certified by the American Board of Family Medicine.
“There is no one time to drink it,” adds Dr. Besser. Nevertheless, if you have trouble getting in your daily quota of water (some health experts recommend eight, eight-ounce glasses a day, while others say that six glasses are just fine), you may want to schedule your water intake.
But the scheduling would be strictly to adhere to drinking enough water. Your body won’t know the difference between drinking one glass every hour, eight times, or drinking only four ounces every 30 minutes.
“However, I would advise not drinking water within a few hours of bedtime, unless you enjoy getting up during the night to go to the bathroom,” says Dr. Besser.
Play this by ear, because if your mouth is parched as bedtime nears, your thirst may make it difficult to fall asleep.
Another helpful way to remind yourself to drink water is to have it with meals. “If you remember to drink water with meals you will be less likely to overeat (good for weight management),” says Dr. Besser.
During a grueling workout, drink water whenever you feel a need to. Fitness experts often advise sipping water every 15 minutes whether you feel thirsty or not.
But filling up on too much water during a workout, in the name of rules, can result in frequent trips to the toilet.
The general rule, though, is to drink water before and after a workout. In between sets, drink up to quench thirst, but you shouldn’t consume so much that you feel bloated or must visit the bathroom often during your workout time.
If you’re consuming alcohol, you should have a glass of water in between drinks to minimize the extent of suffering a hangover the next morning.
Also make a point of maintaining hydration while flying, as this (along with getting up at least every hour) will help lower the risk of developing a blood clot.
You may have a medical condition for which your doctor stresses the importance of drinking plenty of water.
But even then, the issue isn’t when, but how much, between morning and evening.
Everyone should get plenty of water every day, but “at the end of the day,” as the saying goes, your body will utilize this precious commodity the same – regardless of when you drink it.
Dr. Besser provides comprehensive family care, treating common and acute primary conditions like diabetes and hypertension. Her ongoing approach allows her the opportunity to provide accurate and critical diagnoses of more complex conditions and disorders.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.