I Tried Using This Sleek Bedside Urinal at Night for a Week To See if I Could Fall Back Asleep Faster

Photo: Stocksy/Amor Burakova
I recently realized that my superpower of being able to hold my pee for long stretches of time—like, say, overnight—is decidedly not what it used to be. In the past, if I woke up having to go, I’d usually just roll over and fall back asleep. But now? I don't know if it's because I'm getting older or because having a baby changed things down there, but if the urge to go number one strikes—as it does several times a week—it now keeps me up until I brave the darkness and the 20-odd steps to the toilet and back. The problem? Once I’m awake enough to go through that whole routine, I often have trouble falling back asleep—sometimes for hours.

Experts In This Article

It turns out I’m not alone. Nocturia, the clinical term for waking up to urinate at night on a regular basis, affects an estimated 50 million people in the U.S. (though only about 10 million are diagnosed). Oh, and it’s not just seniors who grapple with this nightly disruption; one in three people over the age of 30 make at least two trips to the bathroom every night, and 70 percent report being bothered by it. So, it’s safe to say this is not just a "me" problem. And to address it, I decided to try using a bedside urinal for nocturia.

Why you may want to reframe your idea of a portable urinal

Physician Valerie Ulene, MD, and Byrdie Pompan, cofounders of Boom Home Medical understand the issue of nocturia firsthand, which is why they created the Loona bedside urinal, which launched in 2023. The Loona certainly isn’t the first bedside urinal on the market, but Dr. Ulene and Pompan say it uniquely allows people to care for their basic human needs with dignity (aka, to not look like it belongs in a hospital) by being quiet, leak-proof, and nice to look at.

Dr. Ulene's inspiration was the same as my personal issue: She noticed she was having trouble getting to sleep after having to get up to pee at night. “As I’ve gotten older, I’ve started to wake up more frequently in the middle of the night, as many people do," she says. "While some people jump right out of bed and head straight to the bathroom, I, on the other hand, lie in bed for another 20 minutes thinking I’ll fall back asleep. Twenty minutes later, I find myself still awake.”

With the Loona, she can pee and go back to bed without setting foot in the bathroom. A bedside urinal like Loona is also useful for people who are pregnant, people who have undergone surgery or have chronic illnesses or disabilities that make it difficult to get to the bathroom. It can also be used for camping, festivals, and other outside-the-home uses.

While there are a number of ways to treat nocturia, after learning about the Loona I figured, it was worth a shot. If I could manage to pee into it in the middle of the night without waking my husband or soaking myself in the process, wasn’t it worth seeing if I could fit in a few more zzzs? Well, here’s how it went. Spoiler alert: I honestly did fall back asleep way faster after I got the hang of it.

Loona bedside urinal
Photo: Boom Home Medical
Loona — $40.00

The Loona bedside urinal is designed for anyone with a vulva to care for their basic human needs with dignity.

A rundown of my week using a urinal for nocturia—and how quickly I fell back asleep

The test run

The prospect of doing my business outside a traditional toilet gave me a little pause in the days leading up to my experiment. I can count on one hand the number of times I’d have to improvise a bathroom plan: once in college when I was out for a run in the woods, another time in Italy when I literally used a hole in the ground at the beach, and a couple of times I went to Girl Scouts camp and pretended to be outdoorsy. So, to familiarize myself with the logistics of using the urinal, I locked myself in the bathroom and gave it a try.

To my utter shock, I felt no wetness after using the urinal and heard just a faint sound of the dripping liquid in the jug.

As I queued it up, aligning the mouth of the urinal with my best approximation of where I was meant to aim, I suddenly got stage fright. I was positive my pee was going start shooting in all directions like an out-of-control fire hose. And then, I just let it go. To my utter shock, I felt no wetness and heard just a faint sound of the dripping liquid in the jug.

When I was done, I put the cap back on to see just how leak-proof and odor-proof this thing was. Again, I was surprised that I couldn’t smell anything and the lid seemed pretty tight—I wouldn’t throw it across the room, but it could certainly withstand a night of sitting on the floor. (To clean it in the morning, remove the rubber mouth off the top, dump the urine out in the toilet, and swish some soap and water in the inner cavity of the urinal. That’s it.)

The experiment

Feeling confident from my successful test, I set the Loona by my bedside and waited for nighttime. The first night, I never woke up with the urge to pee, which was anticlimactic. So, the second night, I made sure to down a big glass of water before hitting the hay. I woke up at about 3 a.m. having an urgent need to go. This was it—I scooted to the edge of the bed, grabbed the Loona, and just let it happen. It was easy and quiet, and my husband was none-the-wiser. Unfortunately, I hadn’t considered that I’d still want to wipe, so I ended up having to head to the bathroom anyway. When I got back to bed, it took me about 45 minutes to fall back asleep.

The next night, now confident I was prepared with necessary wiping supplies and a plastic bag for disposal within arm's reach. I woke up around the same time as I did the night before, went through the routine again, and was snuggled back in bed in less than five minutes. I fell back asleep within 15 or 20 minutes this time. I woke up one more time in the night during my experiment week and was able to fall back asleep pretty quickly.

Final thoughts on using a urinal for nocturia

For me, I still don’t wake up multiple times at night or even multiple days a week having to go pee, so for the occasional night waking, I’d probably still just go to the regular bathroom. That said, I think the design and feel of this urinal are top-notch.

At this stage in my life, I’d likely bring it on a camping trip or keep it in my car for a roadside emergency. I’d much rather have this on hand than have to figure out what to do if I was stranded in the middle of nowhere. For people who struggle with mobility, have an increased risk for falls, or have to go to the bathroom multiple times a night, I think using a urinal for nocturia is a worthy tool to consider. This particular option is a bit on the pricey side compared to other models I've seen, but I do think you’re paying for something with a nice design that does what it’s supposed to do. And now that I know I can trust it to, ahem, contain my flow, I feel confident using it in a pinch.

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