Drinking Water In The Morning: Benefits Of Morning Hydration

Benefits of Drinking Water in the Morning

Drinking water in the morning has been practiced in many cultures and is often advised by doctors for better health. The scientific research establishing the benefits and mechanisms of this is still in its early stages, and further research is needed. Studies often have differences in objectives, research methods, and the absence of a uniform way to measure hydration.

The benefits of drinking water in the morning are believed to include positive effects on weight, mood, skin, and kidneys. For weight, in 2003 and 2007, Dr. Michael Boschmann of Humboldt University of Berlin identified that drinking water on an empty stomach could improve metabolic activity by an average of 30% and 24% over an hour for normal weight and obese persons, respectively.

In both studies, the subjects did not eat for 12.5 hours and did not drink anything 1.5 hours before the experiment. The 2007 study was conducted at 8:30 am. While the 2003 study has not specifically mentioned what time of the day it was conducted, the conditions and dehydration levels of the participants would be similar to those generally experienced in the morning.

A 2009 study by Rebecca Muckelbauer of the Research Institute of Child Nutrition in Dortmund and another in 2008 by Professor Brenda M Davy at Virginia Tech, showed lower risks of being overweight and reduced calorie consumption facilitating weight loss after consistently drinking water in the morning. Some studies have found contradictory results but this may have been partly due to the small sample size and other methodological issues.

Regarding the effect of drinking water in the morning on mood, Professor David Benton of the Department of Psychology at the University of Wales found that reduced fluid intake can hamper cognition, memory, attention, and mood. Most available research focuses on young adults, but these effects are likely even greater among young children or older adults.

In a 2011 paper authored by Professor Matthew S. Ganio and colleagues of the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, young men were found to experience poor cognitive performance, fatigue, and anxiety due to mild dehydration. In 2012, Lawrence E. Armstrong and others from the Human Performance Laboratory at the University of Connecticut observed poor mood and concentration in women who experienced 1.36% dehydration. This table shows some of the general effects of dehydration, all undesirable things to begin the day with.

Symptoms of Dehydration

Regarding the effects of drinking water in the morning on the skin, studies have shown that dehydration could lead to dry skin and other skin ailments. This may be reduced by improving water intake, particularly in select populations such as elderly or obese women. Professor Barry M. Popkin of the Department of Nutrition at the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill and his co-authors from Tufts University found that though skin density may improve for those who are previously not well hydrated, other skin issues such as wrinkles, acne or blemishes do not. Whichever skin benefits are relevant, the decrease in hydration that occurs while sleeping overnight means drinking water in the morning comes at a useful time.

Water helps kidneys remove wastes from your body as urine. According to the National Kidney Foundation, when the body is dehydrated, it is more difficult for the kidneys to function well. Charles Patrick Davis, MD, Ph.D., a Clinical Professor (retired) of Emergency Medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio advised drinking warm lemon water in the morning, as the citric acid and calcium citrate also protect against kidney stones. Professor Popkin and his team also note that adequate hydration reduces the chances of the occurrence of stones.

Water makes up 80-85% of the brain and is critical for cognitive function. Professor Ana Adan of the University of Barcelona authored a paper, “Cognitive performance and dehydration “studying the impact of dehydration on young adults. Even slight dehydration impaired cognition, attention, and other skills such as visual identification, physical movements, and memory. Research efforts need to be standardized to understand these effects more thoroughly.

Should You Drink Water After You Wake Up?

Yes, you should drink water after you wake up.  Dr. Maria Peña, a specialist in obesity medicine at Mount Sinai hospital in New York notes that the body is relatively dehydrated in the morning. So, according to Rania Batayneh, MPH, a nutritionist, consuming water when you wake up rehydrates the body and aids in brain function and balancing mood.

Benefits of Drinking Water in the Morning

According to Ashish Sachdeva, MD, an internal medicine physician and founder of Pinnacle Care Internal Medicine in Arizona, you should drink 0.65L of water (approximately 3 cups) immediately after you wake up. He suggests increasing intake daily to reach this mark.

In addition, Jacqueline Chan, DrPH, Assistant Clinical Professor and colleagues of the School of Public Health at Loma Linda University, speculated “that relatively elevated blood viscosity in the morning…increased risk of coronary heart disease events at this time of the day”. Drinking water first thing in the morning reduced the risk of coronary disease in men and women by 46% and 59%, respectively, and reduced the formation of blood clots. Charles Patrick Davis, MD, Ph.D., a Clinical Professor (retired) of Emergency Medicine at the University of Texas recommends drinking warm lemon water to help prevent the formation of kidney stones.

Should You Drink Water Before Breakfast?

Yes, you should drink water before breakfast. Medical experts from Manipal Hospitals, a leading multi-specialty healthcare provider in India, note that drinking water with an empty stomach prevents kidney stones and bladder infections. Ashish Sachdeva, MD, an internal medicine physician and founder of Pinnacle Care Internal Medicine, recommends having 0.65L of water (approximately 3 cups) to drink in the morning and maintaining a gap of half an hour to forty-five minutes before eating.

Drinking water before breakfast helps with weight control. A 2003 study by Dr. Michael Boschmann and colleagues of Humboldt University of Berlin, noted that by drinking two cups of water at 71°F, there was an average increase of 30% in a normal-weight person’s metabolic rate. The study required participants to not eat anything for a period of 12.5 hours nor drink anything for 1.5 hours before testing. While not a perfect match, the conditions were similar to the morning, especially for those who keep some water by their bedside.

A similar study conducted in the morning before eating or drinking by Dr. Boschmann in 2007, showed an average increase of 24% in metabolic activity for obese volunteers. Professor Brenda M. Davy and colleagues at the Department of Human Nutrition, Food and Exercise at Virginia Tech found that drinking 0.5L of water 30 minutes before breakfast made participants feel more full and reduced calories consumed during breakfast by 13%.

Does Drinking Water In The Morning Benefit Skin?

Drinking water in the morning may benefit the density and thickness of the skin in some cases, but there is a general lack of evidence at this time. In an editorial entitled “Just Add Water”, Negoianu, MD and Goldfarb, MD of the Renal, Electrolyte, and Hypertension Division at the University of Pennsylvania note that though dehydration leads to reduced skin turgor (elasticity), there is no evidence that the benefits of drinking water in greater volume include improved complexion or radiance, or reduced acne. However, they do mention that there is no evidence refuting this either.

According to the Canadian BCcampus Human Anatomy and Physiology textbook, the skin is 70-75% water, which contributes to resilience and elasticity. Excess water and salts are also removed through sweat pores in the skin. In a 2015 study entitled, “Dietary water affects human skin hydration and biomechanics “, Professor Lídia Palma of the Universidade Lusófona in Lisbon with colleagues in Spain, discovered that increasing water intake could improve skin physiology in specific cases, particularly among the elderly or obese who already have dry skin.

Professor Barry M Popkin of the Department of Nutrition, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill et al. noted that for people having below-average water intake, more water consumption could improve skin thickness and density. However, being fully hydrated will not prevent wrinkles or blemishes, which are often related to genes, the environment, and exposure to the sun.

This video from Korean skincare company Saranghae discusses how you can tell the difference between aging skin versus dehydrated skin, and what to do if you are experiencing dehydrated skin.

Does Drinking Water In The Morning Start Your Metabolism?

Yes, drinking water in the morning helps start your metabolism. Metabolism is the process by which your body converts food and nutrients into energy. According to the US Geological Survey, water helps the oxidation of carbohydrates and proteins and transports these into our bloodstream. It also removes waste materials from cells that may hamper metabolism.

Three studies support the hypothesis that drinking water in the morning helps stimulate metabolism.

  • A 2003 study by Dr. Michael Boschmann and colleagues at Humboldt University of Berlin, found that drinking 0.5L of water led to an average increase of 30% in the body’s metabolic rate. The study required participants to not have eaten for 12.5 hours and drink any liquids for 1.5 hours prior to testing. The results should be applicable to the morning period since people are generally dehydrated in the morning due to many hours without fluid intake, although this is not specifically mentioned. Increasing water consumption by 1.5L daily could theoretically burn an additional 17,400 calories each year. The plot below shows the results for all participants.
  • In a follow-up study in 2007, Dr. Boschmann found that obese volunteers who drank water in the morning after 12.5 hours of not eating and at least 1.5 hours of not drinking any liquids, experienced an average rise of 24% in metabolic activity over an hour. Research summarized by Johns Hopkins University notes that in 2013 Dr. Vinu A Vij, Assistant Professor in the Department of Physiology et al. observed that overweight girls who drank about two cups of water half an hour before breakfast lost weight over eight weeks due to improved metabolism.
  • E. Wayne Askew, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Nutrition and Integrative Physiology at the University of Utah College of Health found that in general, those who drank eight 8oz. glasses of water a day enjoyed more efficient metabolism than those who drank four-eight 8oz. glasses of water a day.

This chart of results from the 2003 Boschmann study shows how drinking water increases metabolism.

Effect of Drinking Water on Metabolism

Does Drinking Water In The Morning Help You To Poop?

Drinking water in the morning does help you to poop if you do not drink enough liquid. Drinking water in the morning improves metabolism. Metabolism and bowel movements are connected as good metabolism makes the process of digestion more efficient and should make bowel movements more regular. Healthy metabolism breaks down carbohydrates, proteins, and fats more completely, leaving only unabsorbed material to be removed through excretion.

Research by Professor Popkin at the University of North Carolina et al. noted that low fluid intake is associated with twice the frequency of constipation. In such cases, drinking water in the morning is likely to help excretion by softening stool and easing the movement of feces after a night of sleep without water intake. In this video, Spanish doctor and dietitian Daniel González, M.D. explains how drinking water in the morning can help with constipation.

In cases where constipation is caused by other factors such as medication, illness, or dietary problems, drinking more water may be of little use. 

Ashish Sachdeva, MD, founder of Pinnacle Care Internal Medicine in Arizona and medical experts from Manipal Hospitals in India, also recommends drinking water in the morning on an empty stomach to help bowel movements and evacuation. Peyton Berookim, MD, a board-certified gastroenterologist at the Gastroenterology Institute of Southern California confirms that water helps soften stool and digest fiber, and recommends drinking water throughout the day.

Does Drinking Water In The Morning Help You To Lose Weight?

There are several scientific studies that suggest drinking water in the morning helps you to lose weight, but there are other studies that give contrasting results. These five studies indicate that drinking water - including in the morning when the body is relatively dehydrated after sleep - can help you lose weight.

  • E. Wayne Askew, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Nutrition and Integrative Physiology at the University of Utah College of Health found that drinking water helps the efficient burning of calories during exercise. If the body is dehydrated such as it often is in the morning, the metabolic rate drops, and workouts are not as effective.

  • A 2007 study by Dr. Michael Boschmann and colleagues at Humboldt University of Berlin, found that drinking two cups of water in the morning before breakfast led to an average increase of 24% in the body’s metabolic rate for obese individuals, which could potentially aid in weight loss.
  • In a 2009 study authored by Rebecca Muckelbauer and colleagues at the Research Institute of Child Nutrition in Dortmund, Germany, research on nearly three thousand children showed that the risk of being overweight was reduced by 31% after encouraging water consumption for one year.

  • Research by Jodi D Stookey and colleagues at the Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute showed that an increase in water consumption led to a significant loss of body fat over 12 months.

  • A 2008 study authored by Professor Brenda M Davy, and colleagues of the Department of Human Nutrition, Food and Exercise at Virginia Tech found that drinking 0.5L of water 30 minutes before breakfast reduced calories consumed during breakfast by 13%, as participants felt fuller while eating. The results for all participants in this study are shown in the plot below.

Effect of Pre-Meal Water on Meal Size

Charles Patrick Davis, MD, Ph.D., a Clinical Professor (retired) of Emergence Medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center also suggested that water could promote weight loss by being a substitute for sugary drinks.

In contrast, there is some research casting doubt on whether drinking water in the morning can help people lose weight.

  • A 2007 study led by Laura Johnson of MRC Human Nutrition Research, Cambridge with colleagues from the Department of Social Medicine at the University of Bristol did not conclusively find an inverse relationship between water consumption and weight. This may have been due to the sample size and other methodological issues.

  • In a research review by Johns Hopkins University, Dr. Melina Jampolis, an internist and former president of the National Board of Physician Nutrition Specialists, stated that drinking more water would not have a significant effect on weight loss without an overall reduction in calorie intake and an increase in exercise.

How Many Glasses Of Water Should You Drink In The Morning?

You should drink two to three 250ml glasses of water in the morning according to the limited research available. While the research on this topic remains thin and has mostly addressed specific contexts and narrow population groups, an average of 0.6L is suggested by recommendations from two experts.

Ashish Sachdeva, MD, an internal medicine physician, and founder of Pinnacle Care Internal Medicine says that a person should drink 0.65L of water 45 minutes before breakfast. According to Dr. Sachdeva, this helps reduce heartburn and improves immunity.

Research by Dr. Michael Boschmann in 2007 found that 0.5L of water in the morning before breakfast reduced appetites during meals and increased metabolism by an average of 24% over an hour for obese individuals. In 2003, he found that after not eating anything for a period of 12.5 hours nor drinking any liquids for at least 1.5 hours, normal-weight subjects saw a rise of 30% in metabolism over the course of an hour. The study does not specifically mention the morning, but the conditions seem to imply that the findings would apply to the morning time too.

What Is The Best Temperature For Drinking Water In The Morning?

The best temperature for drinking water in the morning from 16°C/61°F to 22°C/71°F as it kickstarts metabolism and provides optimal hydration. That said, medical evidence remains limited and personal preference and goals play a large role, so the most important thing is to drink water no matter the temperature. Indeed, according to the US Institute of Medicine Committee on Military Nutrition Research, the temperature at which we like to drink water in the morning is informed by our experiences and personal preferences.

In this video below, professional soccer player and trainer Matt Sheldon gives a good overview of scientific studies on the pros and cons for physical performance of drinking water at different temperatures.

A 2007 study by Dr. Michael Boschmann and colleagues of Humboldt University of Berlin found that drinking water in the morning before breakfast at 22°C/72°F raised metabolic activity in obese volunteers by approximately 24% over the course of an hour. In a similar study in 2003 with normal-weight volunteers, Dr. Boschmann found that drinking room temperature water at 22°C/72°F in fasting conditions similar to the morning led to an energy expenditure 30 kJ higher than when drinking hot water at 37°C/98.6°F

A 2013 study by Hosseinlou et al. of Urmia University of Medical Sciences in Iran found that drinking slightly chilled water in the morning at 16°C/61°F, maximized intake while reducing sweating, providing optimum hydration. This is particularly important in the morning as people generally wake up dehydrated after many hours without liquids. 

However, specific health goals could mean drinking water at other temperatures is better. Yutang Ren and colleagues at the Peking Union Medical College Hospital and Southern Medical University in China found that drinking hot water in the morning (50°C/122°F) was beneficial for patients with difficulty swallowing and chest pains. Most participants in such circumstances complained of discomfort from drinking cold water in the morning.

What Are The Other Water Types That Can Be Drunk During The Morning?

Other water types that can be drunk during the morning include Lemon water, apple vinegar water, and Okra water. Water content changes according to the source of the water. For example, Lemon Water contains Vitamin C and flavonoids that may benefit people with Type 2 Diabetes. Apple vinegar water may help with weight loss, and Okra water is said to be good for digestion due to its high fiber content.

Apple Cider Vinegar Water Recipe

  • Lemon water. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, lemon water contains nutrients such as Vitamin C, sodium (Na), potassium (K), calcium (Ca), and magnesium (Mg). The American Diabetes Association notes that lemon water may protect against diabetes. Natasya Angelyna Batubara and Yumi Lindawati from the Department of Oral Biology at Indonesia’s University of North Sumatra found that lemon water can reduce the bacteria in the mouth which reduces bad breath. The American Heart Association noted that citrus reduced cardiovascular disease outcomes by between 9% and 12%, suggesting that lemon water could play an important role in the incidence of such cases. Charles Patrick Davis, MD, Ph.D., a Clinical Professor (retired) at the University of Texas Health Science Center recommends drinking warm lemon water in the morning to prevent the formation of kidney stones.
  • Apple vinegar water. The benefits of drinking apple vinegar with water in the morning include reduction of body fat and the potential of lowering blood sugar. Tomoo Kondo and colleagues of the Central Research Institute of the Mizkan Group Corporation found that drinking 0.25L of a water and apple vinegar mixture after both breakfast and supper lowered body fat and waist circumference during a twelve-week period. Beth Czerwony, RD of the Department of Gastroenterology, Hepatology & Nutrition at the Cleveland Clinic, noted that the research on apple vinegar in water is limited but it may contribute to lowering blood sugar and could be helpful for Type 2 Diabetes patients.
  • Okra water. The benefits of drinking Okra water in the morning include improved digestion, the potential of reduced blood sugar, and its anti-oxidation properties. Mariem Haj Romdhane et al. of Tunisia’s University of Monastir confirmed that drinking Okra water is beneficial for digestion due to its high dietary fiber and its antioxidant properties. Zhao-Hua Tian of the People's Hospital of Zhengzhou et al., published a paper in the National Library of Medicine in 2015, showing that okra water reduced blood sugar levels of rats with gestational diabetes mellitus.

What Do Doctors Say About Drinking Water In The Morning?

Doctors say that drinking water in the morning can be good for fighting kidney stones, assisting weight loss by improving metabolism and reducing intake of other calories, and fighting dehydration effects after not drinking during the night. This chart shows a rough plan of how water consumption should be distributed throughout the day to optimize suggested health benefits.

Suggested Water Drinking Schedule

Is drinking water in the morning good? According to Professor Charles Patrick Davis, MD, Ph.D. at the University of Texas Health Science Center, following a review he performed of medical research on water intake, he advised drinking warm lemon water in the morning, to reduce the chances of developing kidney stones. 

According to Dr. Maria Peña, a specialist in obesity medicine at Mount Sinai hospital, the body is relatively dehydrated in the morning after not having any intake of water for 6 to 8 hours. This is why re-hydration in the morning is important.

Ashish Sachdeva, MD, an internal medicine physician recommends having 0.65L of water (approximately 3 cups) in the morning. He advises this to help with weight loss and to improve metabolism and kidney function. Dr. Sachdeva notes that drinking water in the morning could help with other dehydration-induced conditions such as migraines, hypertension, and even diseases such as diabetes.

According to Dr. Michael Boschmann of the Humboldt University of Berlin, drinking water in the morning was shown to increase the metabolic rate, which is important for weight loss, and also satiated participants reducing calorie intake during breakfast. The magnitude of this effect is being debated by some medical researchers.


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