You can’t hit the snooze button on your loaded bladder when you’ve really got to pee, making it a quiet and effective alarm clock when timed right. What Lisa Simpson discovered many years ago, helps me get up for sunrise photo shoots, can also ensure you don’t miss an early-morning adventure, bus, or flight.
To Be Clear – Drink Clear…Water
Digestive timing is important and a bit difficult to narrow down. There are a number of factors that determine how long it takes before a liquid reaches your bladder and knocks on the door. Drinking liters of beer before going to bed may not only result in waking up haphazardly to find a toilet, the ensuing hangover will make it harder to get out of bed. We’re talking about water here, not sports drinks (calorie-free or not) or other liquids with chemicals in them.
However, Dear Caffeine Addict
We can’t avoid the most widely consumed psychoactive drug in the world (that I’m on right now as I type this) – caffeine. As a diuretic, caffeine makes you urinate more, although some studies show this effect is only when more than 240ml is floating in your blood stream. Approximately the amount you’d find after drinking 2 medium-sized cups of coffee. Caffeine has a half-life of about 8 hours, the amount of time you should avoid consuming any before your wake-up water-chug.
- iPhone users, you can track the rough amount of caffeine in your blood using the free app Caffeine Zone 2 Lite.
Don’t Eat 4 Hours Before Bedtime
Food digestion times are complex but the two things we’re most concerned about are an empty stomach and small intestine, to make the most of our water alarm clock trick. Not eating about 4 hours before you plan to sleep should do it. Water is not really digested by the body and broken down further, rather your guts absorb what you need and send the rest on through.
These averages will vary widely from individual to individual but generally speaking, on an empty stomach, it takes about 1 hour for a liter of water to get from your mouth to your bladder when awake. The average human bladder holds about 500mL of urine and the “time to pee” message begins at about 250mL.
Drink About 2 Liters Of Water Quickly Before Sleeping
Our rate of digestion however is slowed by about 3 times when we’re asleep (thanks to the hormone arginine vasopressin) which tells the kidneys to slow down. Convenient for us on most nights but means 1 liter of water drank right before going to sleep will have us up in 3 hours. 2 liters, about 6 hours; because despite the slow down of the kidneys, eventually that water makes its way out.
Adjusting Your Personal Bladder Clock
When it’s hot, your body is going to use more of the water you’re drinking for sweating and even slight dehydration can have you retaining realtively large amounts. In those cases you’ll want to drink a bit more than 2 liters and keep in mind all of us have unique bodies and bladders. The only way to be more accurate is run a few experiments of your own under ideal conditions. Preferably before the first time you really need to get up for an early ride.
I love this post. My bladder often acts as an alarm clock for me even when I don’t mean for it to, so the fact that there is now a post on how to work with your bladder to wake up makes me smile. Great advice! Although for people with small bladders, drinking so much water before bed might cause multiple alarms throughout the night.
It’s hard to get around the multiple alarms, a good way is to drink the water about 30 minutes before sleeping, so the first round goes through you in about an 90 minutes after that (before the arginine vasopressin completely kicks in).
Not eating 4 hours before bedtime when there’s so much street food temptation around – alcohol or no alcohol. Of course, my thoughts are based around Turkey, here…Think we need an alarm clock. 😉
There’s something about street food at night that makes it that much more tempting 🙂 Good thing though you’ve got a good alarm clock and personal Barry backup system!
This is an alarm I do not want to sleep through.
Especially if it is somebody else’s “blalarm” calling 🙂
For the seekers for even more extreme experiments: snooze also works with this one.
Ultimately, you will learn how to reset the alarm – by visiting the white location, getting a glass of more time, and sleeping through the whole process until the next call 🙂
Just like with other alarms, but more fun when you wake up in the end…hopefully comfortably dry, and if not – at least alone…
It’s a painful alarm to sleep though, unless you begin dreaming about swimming in warm ocean waters, then you may have actually done that 🙂 I would experiment with your method but I can’t risk losing my last functioning alarm clock!
haha! what an interesting concept, never heard of this one before. I have the worst sleeping problem ever. In fact, I may try this tonight.
You snooze you lose with this method. Or rather, you snooze and get painful abdominal cramps that are hard to sleep through.
It’s kind of hard to do this when you’re drinking at night yeah? haha 😀 I just always have to stumble my way to the bathroom in the middle of the night 😛
But it’s a pretty good idea if I won’t drink at night, and I never knew about these numbers! So 2 liters to wake up approximately in 6 hours…good plan!
…all provided there isn’t alcohol in your system, then all of the calculations are thrown off again! 😀
Haha that’s a great idea. I hate getting up early and usually convince myself to stay in bed.
With this method, doing so can be a messy experience and more incentive not to sleep in 🙂
Ha, interesting approach! Not sure it would work for me though, but worth knowing for those times when I don’t have an alarm clock.
Can’t hurt to try! Well, unless you don’t wake up on time…
Hahaha, love this very detailed piece of advice. Alarm clocks are much too easy to turn off, but bladders? Not so much.
The alarm clock that forces you out of your bed, hard to snooze that 🙂
I never thought about this but this is a good way to ensure you wake up for those early morning excursions. Sometimes your biological functions need to adjust to the new environment, so it may be a good idea to request a wake up call or bring a travel alarm clock just in case the old internal plumming is not reliable!
For deep sleepers, the more alarms the better. (At least for the person who *wants* to wake up!)
Well, this topic surely keeps me glued. Personally, it is so hard to ignore the “bladder alarm” and I don’t think I would want to find out the consequence of doing so. At least, you’ve made me realize that. I’ll keep in mind these tips.
Avoidance can and would be messy!
Haha what a great idea! I agree it definitely works in principal but I would find it quite hard not to eat for four hours before I went to sleep. I clearly snack too much!
haha, but that just makes breakfast taste so much better!
what I love most about this idea is that your body won’t force you to go pee in deepest sleep cycle,its only at ur lighter cycles that u’ll get up…its a good way to ensure u don’t interrupt a rem cycle, which is one of the most important factors of getting good sleep. Whether u sleep 3hrs or 9hrs if u wake up in the middle of rem, ur probably gonna feel groggy, tired
I’d have to experiment with amounts tho coz water goes straight right through me:-/
Well idk i’d have to experiment with water amounts coz, water goes straight through me. What I love most about this is that odds are you wouldn’t have to till
It all depends on how much you drink!