Thursday, February 21, 2013

When to drink water and how?

When to drink water?
No one tells animals when and how to drink water. Each animal category has a definite drinking pattern that never changes. No one told them to do so.

We, humans, don’t have any such definite pattern and it keeps changing. Medical literature tells us just this- drink 2 to 2.5 lt. It doesn’t tell when to drink. No books tell that.

When I ask people how much water they drink daily and when, the answer normally is –‘whenever I feel like'.

The usual answers for when to drink water :

  • Mr.A drinks 2 to 3 glasses just before food (some do this to kill hunger…diet control for obesity)
  •  B takes one sip for every mouthful of food- just to push it down.
  • C drinks 3 glasses between meals.
  • D likes to finish his meal with 2 glasses after food.
  • E doesn’t like water. He keeps cold drinks by his side during lunch and cold beer during dinner.
  • F always finishes his meal with ice cream. ‘Ice cream is nothing but water, you know?’
  • G drinks a glass when he is almost dying of thirst.
There is no definite system, method or pattern. The only pattern is, not having a pattern. Questions like- when to drink water , how to drink or how much to drink, don’t come into the mind. All these people have constipation.

The amount of water your body needs depends upon your age. In addition, a few factors like your profession, weather, your health condition etc. affect the quantity of water to a little extent- give or take ½ liter.

Average adult needs 4½ to 5 liters of water per day.

Let us come to When to drink water part. The aim is to get all the benefits of drinking water.

Divide the total quantity into two parts. Drink the first part early in the morning before breakfast and the second part during daytime. Each part serves a different purpose.

The first part of 2½ liters of water is used for internal cleaning of your body and the second part of 2 to 2½ liters is used for all body functions.

Why morning water is used for cleaning? If you had dinner at 19.00 hrs, it is fully digested by 24.00 or 1.00 hrs. From 1.00 to 6.00 in the morning, your body is resting except for a few essential service areas: heart, lungs and kidneys. Body uses this 5 or 6 hours of free time for repair, cleaning and recharge. Toxins, bacteria and waster matter are removed through sweat, urine and stool. The water you drink in the morning is used to flush out these wastes.

You are going to drink the first part in two installments of 1¼ liters each and the second part in many installments- one glass each time.

To make the process more clear, let me give specific timings. You don't have to follow them strictly. Add or subtract ½ hour as per your convenience. You may even get up much early or a bit late and start the process.

Early morning part of when to drink water -First installment.

Get up at 6. Brush your teeth.

If there is an urgent need to pass stool, finish that part. If not, no worry.

Whether you passed stool or not, you are going to drink 1¼ liters now- that too in a short time of not more than five minutes.


Fill your water bottle. Lift the bottle and drink steadily. Not in a hurry. Sometimes you may face obstruction or pain in the throat or down the line while drinking. In such case, give a few seconds gap and continue.

So, you finished drinking 1¼ liters by 6.15.

Now your stomach is loaded with 1¼ kg of water. The stomach is directly above the transverse colon. As the picture shows, your loaded stomach will apply pressure on the colon and push stool towards the rectum.

Here, you have to do something to make the stool movement easy and effective.

Move around your room with a leisurely walk and put your mind on your stomach and intestines. Imagine that your stomach is pressing your colon and stool is moving. This will relax your colon muscles and make stool movement easy. Let your mind not wander to other issues.

Normally it takes less than 10 minutes for the stool to reach the exit and you will feel urgency to pass. If it takes a bit longer, it is ok. Initially, it is a feeling but wait until it becomes urgent. Now is the time to let go. Sit on the commode. Stool comes out fast and you will finish it under one minute.

Wow! How do you feel? Very light, right? For you information, you most probably emptied only half the waste matter inside your colon. Some more is still there to be driven out. It is a step to get rid of constipation.

In case you passed sufficient stool before drinking water, and passed again after drinking, may be you completely emptied your colon.

The most important aspect to consider when you pass stool is- was it satisfactory? Did you feel light?

Let us consider a situation: You drank water, put your mind as mentioned and walked around. Still, there was no urge. Don’t get worried. It may happen a few times. But, don’t try to drink some more water immediately.

After passing stool, give a gap of 1 to 1½ hours before going for the 2nd installment of 1¼ liters. During this time, do exercise, pranayama or whatever you want to do.

Early morning part of when to drink water - 2nd installment.

Drink the 2nd installment of 1¼ liters at 8.30. Follow the same process as the first one and pass stool for the 2nd time.

Now, your colon is completely empty and you are ready for breakfast. You are on your way to cure constipation.

If you couldn’t pass first time and passed only after the 2nd installment, some waste is still left out in your colon. You try to pass it during the course of the day. If you passed stool once as soon as you got up and second time after the first 1¼ liters, drink the 2nd installment but need not try to pass stool. 

After breakfast, you are into your usual routine activities. Drinking the 2nd part of water (2 to 2½ liters) begins two hours after your breakfast.
That is at 11.30.

Why two hours? It will take that much time for the food to vacate the stomach and enter the small intestine.

The 2½ liters of water you drink in the morning comes out as urine or sweat by 11.00, cleaning your body completely. The 2nd part of 2 to 2½ liters of water you drink during day time- how does it help your body?

  • Protects your body from hot sun and any other external heat.
  •  Protects from internal heat
  • Keeps the body cool by water evaporation.
  • Helps in the secretion of digestive juices, lubricating fluids.
  • Keeps the body and mind cool during stress and tension.
Let us assume your lunch time is 13.30. You will stop drinking at 13.00. The rule is-

  • 30 minutes gap between water and food.
  •  2 hours gap between food and water.
The 2nd part of when to drink water - before lunch.
Starting from 11.30, have a glass of water every 30 minutes. From 11.30 to 13.00, you drank 1 liter, assuming 250 ml is one glass.

Start your lunch at 13.30 and finish it by 14.00. Give a gap of 2 hours.

The 2nd part of when to drink water - after lunch.

Starting from 16.00, drink one glass of water every 30 minutes till 17.30 if your 2nd part of water is 2 liters. If it is 2½ liters, continue till 18.30.

That finishes full a day’s quota of 4½ or 5 liters- end of when to drink water. Stop drinking after18.30.

If drinking up to 18.30 is disturbing your sleep for urination, stop drinking beyond 17.30 or 18.00. In such case, to finish the required quota, drink 1 glass every 20 minutes instead of
½ hour.

 A quick reference chart of when to drink water is given above for your convenience.

Passing stool any time during the course of the day is fine. It is good for your constipation.

Once you started drinking 4 to 4½ liters of water a day, in the beginning you may have to make more trips to toilet for urination. Later, it becomes normal and only the urine quantity