Nighttime Thirst Can Indicate Health Concerns •

Have you ever woken up at night feeling like your mouth is a desert and you haven’t had water for days?  Or right before you go to sleep you feel the urge to guzzle a bunch of water?  You are not alone.  This nighttime thirst is very common and there are lots of reasons why you are so thirsty at night.  Thankfully there usually is no need to go to the doctor unless you can’t quench your thirst.


Causes Of Nighttime Thirst

One of the main causes of nighttime thirst is dehydration.  Dehydration can happen a few different ways at night.  You can be dehydrated before you even go to sleep.  This happens if you don’t hydrate appropriately during the day.  The rule of thumb is to drink eight 8oz glasses of water in your day.  Dehydration can also be caused from sweating too much at night, sickness, or even medications you take.  Antidepressant medications have side effects of dehydration, so if you are taking these you will need to increase your fluid intake during the day.  Having a cold or sinus infection can cause dehydration as well.  

If the air in the room you are sleeping in is too dry or humid you may experience waking up thirsty.  Too dry air in your room can dry up the moisture in your nasal passages and mouth.  If the humidity is too high it can cause the temperature to be too warm causing you to sweat which can lead to dehydration.  

When you sleep you also lose fluids and electrolytes.  This is just something your body goes through during your sleep cycle.  Your body when you start to get tired can trigger you to feel thirsty, so you drink a lot before you go to sleep.  This is because your body knows there will be some fluid loss in the night so it is preparing itself for this.  Along with this if you snore or breathe through your mouth the moisture in your nasal passageways dries up.  There have been studies that people with sleeping disorders have a higher connection with sleeping poorly and waking up thirsty.  So if you suffer from a sleeping disorder getting that looked at may help. 

Underlying medical conditions can have a symptom of excess thirst.  Medical conditions such as diabetes, kidney disease, cancer or a urinary tract infection can all have a side effect of thirst.  An autoimmune syndrome that also can have this symptom is Sjogren’s syndrome.  Anemia also can have thirst as a symptom.  If you don’t believe you have one of these but you still are waking up at night thirsty you may want to see your healthcare provider to have some tests run. 

Another cause of waking up thirsty at night can be exercising too late in the day.  This can be from not rehydrating after a sweaty session, or your body releasing hormones to energize your body so your body isn’t ready to go to bed if you exercise too closely.  Hormonal changes can also cause night thirst, such as perimenopause, or menopause.  Both of which can cause hot flashes, night sweats, and increased thirst.  Drinking too much alcohol before bed can also dehydrate the body.  

Besides waking up thirsty you may also experience dry mouth, headaches, bad breath, or sweating.  If you wake up though and cannot quench your thirst, have an increase in urine output, exhaustion or fatigue, blurred vision, wounds that aren’t healing properly, or excessive hunger you will want to speak with a doctor.  


Helpful Habits & Lifestyle Changes

There are some lifestyle and environment changes that you can do to help ease this thirst.  It is not something you have to live with.  The first thing to check is how much you are drinking during the day.  Make sure you are hydrating with water.  All liquids don’t hydrate the body the same.  Too much alcohol or caffeine before bed can actually dehydrate the body.  So reduce how much alcohol and caffeine you are having right before bed.  Give yourself time to rehydrate your body after drinking these beverages before you fall asleep.  Generally they say having about eight 8oz cups of water a day is enough to keep you hydrated.  Everyone’s hydration level though is different so if eight cups isn’t enough drink as many as you need to stay hydrated.  You can also add in fresh fruits and vegetables to your diet throughout the day to help keep you hydrated as well. 

Changes in your sleeping environment can also help.  Have a calm relaxing nighttime routine.  Sip some water throughout your nighttime routine, instead of guzzling a whole cup right before bed.  Make sure the temperature in your bedroom isn’t too hot.  Studies have shown keeping your bedroom cooler promotes better sleep.  This will also stop you from waking up sweaty, or losing moisture out of your sinuses if you breathe through your mouth.  Get comfortable, have comfy cooling sheets, cool breathable pajamas, and a good mattress and pillow.  

If you have an underlying condition such as diabetes, or kidney disease, getting treatment for that condition can help you alleviate you waking up thirsty at night.  This can be as easy as changes in medication.  



Waking up thirsty does not have to happen.  There are some things you can do in your life and environment to help quench your thirst.  Keeping yourself from dehydrating at night is achievable.  If you cannot quench your thirst then you may want to reach out to your doctor to make sure you don’t have something else happening causing the increase in thirst.  


The rule of thumb is to drink eight 8oz glasses of water in your day for a total of 48oz of water per day!


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HealthStatus Team

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