Are frequent trips to the bathroom throughout the night disrupting your needed hours of shut-eye?
Are you making more than a few trips to the restroom per night?
If you find yourself needing to pee more than a couple times per night, you’re not alone!
Millions of people suffer from frequent night time urination, a condition also referred to as nocturia.
So then, what causes nocturia? And, what can you do to decrease the frequency of this sleep disrupting, inconvenient, night time problem?
Frequent trips to the bathroom to void your bladder throughout the night time hours, when you should be (and want to be) sleeping is known as nocturia.
These frequent disruptions in sleep to get out of bed to urinate, can result in
- daytime sleepiness
- a hindrance to both physical and cognitive functioning
- a higher rate of mortality overall (potentially due to the threat it poses to needed, healthy sleep)
Nocturia, however, isn’t the problem…it’s just the term that describes the symptom of other conditions.
Sleep disruptions, a decrease in bladder capacity, and excess nighttime urine production are all thought to be root causes of nocturia.
However, there are other controllable factors that contribute to frequent night time urination, such as:
- caffeine and alcohol intake
- sleep patterns or behavior
- sedentary lifestyle
- drinking too much prior to bedtime
While increased trips to the bathroom throughout the night could potentially be the result of underlying conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, or a sleep disorder, less serious causes may be the culprit.
So, here are 12 simple solutions to consider, each of which is known to reduce nocturia.
12 Simple Solutions To Reduce Nocturia
1- Reduce Night Time Fluid Intake
As obvious as this suggestion is, we can easily overlook how much we’re drinking in the evenings, and then we can be prone to take this to extremes as well, consuming too little fluids for fear of drinking too much.
So, what’s a good rule of thumb when it comes to evening fluid intake?
- Definitely skip that large glass of water (or wine) right before slipping into bed.
- Be careful not to consume foods high in water content too close to bed (most fruits and vegetables, but especially celery, peaches, watermelon, berries, cantaloupe, cucumber).
- Begin monitoring fluid intake 4-6 hours prior to bedtime.
2- Reduce Alcohol And Caffeine Intake
Alcohol and caffeine are both bladder stimulants. Drinking either throughout the day can lead to frequent night time urination.
Consider limiting caffeine to the morning hours.
And, consider cutting back your alcohol consumption to only one drink (or skip it entirely) per day to see if this helps to control your night time trips to the bathroom.
3- Skip Foods That Cause Irritation
We just mentioned the detriment that alcohol and caffeine can have on your bladder, but there are multiple foods that can cause irritation as well.
- Processed foods
- Tomatoes (tomato sauces and salsa included)
- Spicy foods (hot sauce, chili peppers, etc)
- Acidic fruits and fruit juices (citrus)
The above foods can all cause or exacerbate irritations in/to your bladder which can keep you rushing to the bathroom to void more often than you normally would.
4- Improve Sleep Hygiene
Sometimes sleep health has more to do with your frequent night time bathroom trips than excess fluid in your body.
Not being able to sleep, or insomnia, can actually contribute to or exacerbate nocturia. Perhaps you’ve experienced nights where you can’t sleep, and get up several times thinking you need to urinate, but you can hardly go?
If insomnia, not nocturia, is keeping you up at night, try the following to improve your sleep hygiene, thus helping you to stay asleep longer, lessening your night time bathroom frequency.
- Turn off electronics a few hours prior to bedtime.
- Keep your bedroom clean and free of clutter.
- Change your sheets regularly.
- Keep afternoon naps to 30 minutes or less.
- Establish a consistent night time routine to train your body for sleep.
- Keep your bedroom temperature cool (60-67 degrees Fahrenheit).
- Keep your bedroom dark.
- Try to go to sleep and awake at the same time each evening and morning.
5- Elevate Your Legs Prior To Bedtime
One way to redistribute fluid that can build up in your lower extremities is by elevating your legs.
Spending some time each day with your legs level to, or elevated above, your heart can help you to urinate more frequently during the day, potentially keeping you from urinating throughout the night.
6- Take An Afternoon Nap
Similar to the notion of elevating your legs, lying down for a short afternoon nap can work to redistribute fluid into your bloodstream, keeping it from accumulating in your legs, feet, and ankles.
Upon waking from your brief snooze, be sure to void your bladder, thereby eliminating this excess fluid.
Another way to effectively redistribute any built up fluid within your body is through movement.
Regular exercise keeps excess fluid from building up by redistributing it to your bloodstream to be processed or filtered out throughout the day, resulting in fewer night time bathroom trips.
8- Pelvic Floor Exercises
Aside from general exercise, strengthening your pelvic floor can go a long way in helping to control and support your bladder.
You won’t need weights or a yoga mat, either.
Pelvic floor exercises, also known as kegel exercises, are performed by contracting and relaxing your pelvic floor muscles.
If you’re unfamiliar with this muscle group, you can identify these muscles during your next trip to the bathroom to void your bladder.
When you’re urinating, interrupt the flow of urine, hold for roughly 5 seconds, then resume urinating. Your pelvic floor muscles are what you “tightened” to interrupt your urine flow.
And, now that you are familiar with this muscle group, you can perform these exercises outside of your trips to the bathroom.
Some insist you should lie flat and concentrate on this muscle group, contracting or tightening for 5 seconds then relaxing for 5 seconds, repeating this process 4-5 times in a row a few times a week. But, you can honestly do these exercises anywhere (incorporating the same frequency): at your desk, sitting on the couch, in line at the grocery store, or in the kitchen while making dinner.
9- Wear Compression Socks
If you experience swelling in your legs, ankles, or feet, the fluid you are retaining will then reenter your bloodstream upon lying down.
This, in turn, increases your blood pressure, thus causing your kidneys to create more urine in an effort to flush this excess fluid out of your body.
Wearing compression socks places pressure on your legs, takes the pressure off of your veins, and allows the excess fluid to continually be redistributed and appropriately processed throughout the day.
10- Modify Diuretic Med Schedule
If you’re already taking a prescribed diuretic, talk to your doctor about taking your medication in the afternoon.
Taking these meds in the afternoon will result in more urine output in the afternoon and evening, potentially resulting in less output in the night time hours.
11- Keep A Bladder Diary
Monitoring your urine output through both day and night time hours can help you effectively pinpoint trends in your bathroom activity.
Track when (or how often) you pee throughout the day and night, how much urine you’re producing, document what medications you’re taking and what time of day you take them, and what liquids you’re consuming and when you consume them (tracking foods can be helpful as well).
A bladder diary can help you identify trends which may help you narrow down what’s causing your nocturia completely, but if not, you can share your findings with your doctor to help him/her better understand the situation.
12- Talk To Your Doctor
If you find that behavioral changes do not effectively address your increased urine output during the night time hours, it may be time to see a doctor.
A doctor should be able to effectively help you get to the source of what is causing your body to increase urine production at night.
Stop ‘pee leaks’ with this UPPER body stretch
If you want to stop bladder leakage and tighten your pelvic floor, you’re supposed to do kegels, right? Well…
That’s wrong, but there is an UPPER body stretch that strengthens your pelvic floor and stops ‘pee leaks’…