water alarm clock

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.

tbilisi old towne hostelHowever, 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.
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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.

water bottleDrink About 2 Liters Of Water Quickly Before Sleeping

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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.