Does Your Bladder Keep You Awake at Night?
There are so many reasons you may find yourself awake at 3 a.m.:
- Your upcoming job interview
- Your cat that loves to sleep draped over your head
- Your snoring bedmate
- Your bladder
Over one-third of us suffer from number four: needing to go in the middle of the night.
And that’s a problem. When you wake up during the night, both the quality and the quantity of your sleep diminish and you’re less likely to feel refreshed come morning. How can you help stop the midnight bathroom trips?
Consider the Source
Some common culprits for both men and women include:
- drinking too much of any beverage right before bedtime
- having a small bladder
- simply being accustomed to getting up to use the bathroom
Sometimes an underlying medical condition may be to blame, according to the National Association for Continence, such as diabetes, restless leg syndrome, high blood pressure, heart or vascular disease, or a bladder infection.
Women have their own set of reasons for those middle-of-the-night trips to the loo: being pregnant or having just given birth, menopause or other medical reasons.
For men, an enlarged prostate, which occurs in almost all men as they age, can cause the need to urinate two or more times each night.
Fixes to Consider
Start by tackling the easiest changes. Cut back on alcohol and caffeine consumption, and don’t drink anything for two hours prior to bedtime, suggests The Cleveland Clinic, which also has some other helpful tips to break up with your nighttime bathroom routine:
- Keep a diary. Monitor how much you drink, your urine output and the specific times you are urinating.
- Check for sleep apnea. During deep sleep our bodies produce a hormone that helps us retain more fluid during the night. People with sleep apnea, who don’t get into these deep stages of sleep, may be lacking in this important hormone.
- Look for swelling in legs or feet. Extra fluid can build up throughout the day in your ankles, feet and legs and cause swelling (known as edema). When you lie down flat, the fluid makes its way to your kidneys, and you may wake to pee. An afternoon nap or propping up your legs can help.
- Do kegels. For women, pregnancy, childbirth, weight gain or menopause can all weaken pelvic floor muscles, while for men, having an enlarged prostate can lead to more bathroom trips. Kegel exercises work for both women and men, according to the urology department at UCLA, to tighten the muscles that help support the bladder. Kegels are easy and can be done virtually anywhere: all you have to do is tighten the muscles that control your flow of urine, count to eight, then relax.
- Train your bladder. It is possible, with a little work, to teach your old bladder some new tricks. Gradually increasing the amount of urine you’re comfortable holding is possible, according to the Harvard Medical School. Calculate your typical interval between urination, then try to extend one interval by 15 minutes. For instance, if you visit the bathroom once an hour, wait one hour and 15 minutes the next time you need to go.
If you have any questions about what might be keeping your bladder active at night, your doctor can help. Feeling like you can’t get a good night’s sleep due to bathroom visits can be frustrating. But there are some simple solutions.
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