However, getting up to pee frequently often raises a few concerns, says Karyn Eilber, MD, a board-certified urologist and an associate professor of urology and OB/GYN at Cedars-Sinai Hospital. Under normal sleeping circumstances, the body suppresses the urge to urinate until it's time to wake up. Nocturia, or frequent nighttime urination, can be a sign of other conditions. When you frequently get up to pee, it can mean that you're not getting enough deep sleep for some reason (often a sign of sleep apnea), or any number of bodily functions could be disrupted, Dr. Eilber says. On the other hand, getting up to pee can also be disruptive to your sleep quality even if there isn't an underlying condition—this is why you want to minimize nighttime peeing habits.
Nocturia also increases the risk of tripping over a stray rug kink, clutter left out by a child, per, or partner, or simply stumbling in the dark because you're not quite awake. Falls are dangerous for anyone, but as you age, it becomes easier to get more severe injuries, harder to heal, and more dangerous to interface with hospital systems.
The first step to solving nighttime bathroom trips is to set yourself up for success. There are plenty of ways to protect your splendid, strange dreams from untimely interruptions.
6 tips to implement if you frequently get up to pee at night
1. Limit all beverage consumption two hours before bedtime
It might be convenient and even comforting to have a glass of water before bed or to keep a water bottle on your nightstand. It is important to stay hydrated, but Susan Rusnak, MD, LA-based urologist, recommends avoiding all beverage consumption two hours before bedtime if you're trying to limit nocturia. This time limit can prevent adding more fluids to your system that may make you wake up if your bladder decides it's time to go. It can also give you a chance to pee any existing extra fluids out before you head to sleep, says Dr. Rusnack.
2. Avoid bladder-irritating beverages
There are a handful of bladder irritating beverages that can increase how often you pee. Drinks like alcohol, seltzers, and caffeine are diuretics that increase how much and how often your body needs to go. Limiting these in the latter half of your day can support your efforts to pee less throughout the night.
3. Take more naps
One way to reduce the number of times you need to pee throughout the night is to take more naps. Why? When people ingest fluids, it typically filters through the kidney and becomes urine. However, for some people, this process doesn't happen until they are laying down. So if you take more naps during the day, your body has a chance to process excess fluids through your kidneys and fill your bladder. This can help minimize the urge to get up and pee throughout the night.
4. Practice good sleep hygiene
Sleep hygiene is the combination of behaviors and environmental factors that influence your sleep quality. In her practice, Dr. Rusnack has noticed that many people get up to pee because they're already awake or not sleeping deeply. If you're tossing and turning, your body might not suppress the bladder's urges like it does when you're in a deep and restful slumber. Sleep hygiene practices include limiting screen time, having an intentional sleep routine, reducing the temperature of your bedroom at bedtime, and having a comfortable, calming environment.
5. Get more active
Some research points to physical activity as a preventative tactic for nocturia. A 2015 study published in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise considered the symptoms of around 33,000 men and found that those who were physically active were 34 percent less likely to report severe nocturia. More research must be conducted to know exactly why exercise helps reduce nighttime peeing, but research suggests that physical activity can improve sleep quality by activating the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest system) and boosting fluid filtration within the body.
6. Keep track of your habits
If nocturia is significantly disrupting your life, Dr. Rusnack recommends that you keep track of how often you're going and talk with a provider. Waking up to pee at night is not bad, but it's important to monitor it. Peeing more than twice a night is when Dr. Rusnack would be concerned.
Your bladder is important for a lot of different parts of your body. It is connected to your heart, kidneys, cardiovascular system, and even your brain function. If your symptoms persist, nocturia can help your doctor get a fuller picture of what might be going on with your health. If the above tips don't curb your nighttime bathroom visits, don't get discouraged. It's not a personal failure if your bladder is a rogue alarm clock. Getting in touch with a care provider can illuminate some more options for managing your symptoms. Additionally, adding night lights along your route to the bathroom can protect you from dangerous midnight falls.
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