Don’t believe this myth about how much water you should drink

I’m sure you’ve heard everything under the sun on the subject of how much water you should be drinking every day.

Human beings are made up of over 70% water so it’s vital we consume enough at the right time to keep our metabolic functions afloat. You may not need that doctor recommended 8 glasses a day that’s been hammered into our brains since we started going to a pediatrician.

Research shows realistically humans need 4 to 6 glasses at the most to keep things running smoothly health-wise, according to experts at Harvard. Find the full brief here.

In fact, what you may not know, is that there is an optimal time of day to quench your thirst and enjoy other health benefits! Let’s take a look at what doctors and dieticians have to say on the matter.

Why drinking too much water can be problematic and ultimately harmful for your health

We asked experts their reasons behind why excess water intake can be hazardous to your health. If you’re one of those people that keeps a bottle of water on your nightstand and guzzles it before bed you may want to reconsider according to Heather Moday, M.D.

Heather Moday is an integrative immunologist and here’s her earnest call to stop drinking so much water before bedtime. “Lack of quality sleep can lead to a weakened immune system. While our body is resting, the immune system cells can also focus all efforts and energy on a strong attack against viruses and bacteria, and in the midst of a pandemic, keeping the immune system in tiptop shape is more critical than ever.”

Experts suggest stopping drinking fluids 3 to 4 hours before you usually turn in. Urologist Vannita Simma-Chiang, M.D., recommends this routine as it works quite well for her personally.

Getting up to pee in the middle of the night also severely disrupts your REM cycle, an important cycle to finish if your body is going to properly repair its cells and feel fully rested.

Robert Rountree, M.D. echoes the importance of getting a proper uninterrupted deep sleep every night. “In my opinion, it’s not the total hours you’re in bed. It’s how much deep sleep and how much REM sleep you’re getting.”

Without experiencing this vital rest and relaxation period you are essentially breaking down your healthy microbiota which facilitates cognitive functions, immune health, and healthy digestion.
Check out more on how you can maintain a healthy gut here.

If you find yourself urinating more frequently than usual it’s important to notify your primary care physician as this is a warning sign for underlying health issues. Experts interviewed recently in the following brief you can find here outlined some warning signs and possible conditions you should look into dealing with.

“Going to the bathroom more than the average person, especially at night (nocturia), may be associated with high blood pressure, diabetes, or cardiovascular medicines, like diuretics.”

When should you drink water to promote optimal health?

If you’re going to rehydrate it’s best to do so first thing in the morning. This expert, Jess Cording, M.S., R.D., CND, has the following recommendation. “Drink a glass of water first thing in the a.m. to promote positive hydration all day long, for optimal gut and overall health.”

There are several reasons the amount of water you drink daily is subjective. If you are dehydrated due to medication you take, living an active lifestyle, or drink a lot of caffeinated beverages that tend to leave folks dehydrated your daily intake may be more than the average healthy person. Always check with your doctor to find out the best plan to report a clean bill of health at your yearly check-up.

Some other factors that may impact your recommended amount of H2O intake might be your age, BMI, gender, underlying health conditions, the temperature of where you live, and even the amount and type of foods you typically enjoy. This data is backed up by veteran dietician Shena Jaramillo, MS.

It’s important to keep these factors in mind when tailoring a hydration plan to your lifestyle as dehydration can seep in and negatively affect your life in the following ways according to Barry Gorlitsky, MD who founded KidneyAide LLC.

“Dehydration may lead to lower blood pressures, predisposing to falls, faster heart rates which are linked to higher mortality, and changes in concentration due to brain cell shrinkage as water shifts.”

The takeaway

If you’re concerned you aren’t getting enough water every day a good baseline to check is the color of your urine. If it’s pretty clear you’re usually well hydrated. Also, keep in mind we ingest a lot of water in the foods we eat! In order to keep our internal organs functioning at their best, and in turn informing our minds to do the same, we’ll be ready to take on any challenge that comes our way.