In my endless scrolling, it became apparent that pretty much every health influencer cites lemon water in their daily habits. These glowy creatures credit the magical elixir with everything from improving skin and digestion to boosting their immune systems and helping their bodies "detox"—whatever that means.
But when we hear of people drinking lemon water to try to reap all the purported benefits, we mostly hear about including the bevvie as part of a morning routine. Between getting out the door for my workout and getting kids, pets, and myself ready for the day, I can’t seem to get it together to add one more thing to my morning routine. But what about nighttime? I set out to learn if there is anything to be gained from flipping the script and drinking lemon water before bed when winding down.
Are there health benefits of drinking lemon water before bed (or any time)?
As Well+Good has previously reported, the benefits of drinking lemon water might be a tad bit overblown. “Contrary to popular belief, many specific claims about the benefits of drinking lemon water aren’t backed by science,” says Megen Erwine, RD for LetsGetChecked.
That being said, she certainly doesn’t mean that there are zero benefits to the tart stuff. Lemons are a good source of vitamin C, with one tablespoon providing about 10 mg—and most adults need 75-90 mg of vitamin C per day. “Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and supports the immune system. It plays a role in cardiovascular disease prevention, cancer prevention and treatment, age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataract progression, and prevention and treatment of the common cold,” Erwine explains.
Many of the benefits of lemon water come from the basic hydration factor, which you can achieve with or without the citrus component. Staying hydrated is, after all, a highly integral part of maintaining one's overall health and longevity.
And that attractive idea of “detox”? Plain ol’ water will do that for you, too. “Increased water consumption can assist the liver and kidneys in removing toxins by increasing urine,” says Erwine. Our bodies don’t need fancy detox mechanisms—they just need to be supported with healthy daily habits that encourage optimal function. Hydration, while perhaps not the flashiest wellness tool, is one of the best things we can do for health.
So is lemon water before bed a good idea?
Given the role of lemon water in a healthy lifestyle, could there be any additional benefits to drinking lemon water before bed? According to Erwine, the answer is… it depends. “Adding lemon water at any time during the day is an easy way to boost water and vitamin C intake,” she says. Beyond that, the advantages to lemon water before bed will depend on the individual. Erwine says that warm lemon water before bed could have a relaxing effect, which could help reduce stress and improve sleep. Additionally, for those who find lemon water to be a satisfying sipper for the evenings, it could serve as a healthier alternative to alcoholic beverages or late night snacks.
On the flip side, drinking fluids right before bed could disrupt sleep by needing to use the bathroom in the middle of the night— so watch how much you imbibe if you want to avoid middle-of-the-night bathroom trips. “For those that suffer from heartburn and GERD, consuming lemon water before going to bed could cause symptoms,” adds Erwine.
Like with anything, listening to your body will serve you well when considering adding lemon water to your nighttime ritual. Try adding a glass or warm or cold lemon water before bed and see how your sleep, digestion, and overall health responds. Perhaps you’ll even discover a new favorite way to wind down for the night.
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