Frequent trips to the bathroom each night can cause problems with your sleep cycle. You might wake up feeling tired, or that you weren’t able to get as many hours of sleep as you’d like. You might think it’s normal to wake up frequently to go to the toilet at night. It could be something more serious, but there are things you can do to lessen or even stop frequent urination.
The urge to go to the bathroom several times a night is called nocturia. It is also sometimes called nocturnal polyuria. It is usually defined as having to wake up more than two times a night to have to relieve yourself.
There are several causes of nocturia that we’ll explore. However, you could also be facing some other underlying health condition, like a bladder infection or inflammation. The sooner you figure out what’s causing you to urinate so much, the sooner you can get it treated.
While nocturia is more common in older adults, it can happen to almost anyone. If you seem healthy otherwise, it’s vital to determine why you have to get up so frequently to go to the bathroom. If you’re not getting somewhere between 6-8 hours of sleep each night, keep reading to find out why and what you can do to get help.
How Do I Stop Urinating at Night?
In most cases, it’s unlikely that your bladder is too full and that’s why you’re going to the bathroom so much at night. Instead, it’s likely that there is an underlying condition. Even stress can cause you to pee too much at night.
The good news is that there are several natural solutions to stopping this problem. If it’s a severe medical issue, you may need the help of a doctor. But, more often than not, a full treatment plan can help you to stop going so much through the night.
This guide will help you to identify a few possible causes of nocturia. We’ll also offer different solutions on how to treat the problem and finally get a full night’s sleep.
What Are the Causes of Nocturia?
As stated above, one of the most common causes of nocturia is a bladder infection. There are a variety of other medical conditions that can also contribute to it. Some of the most common conditions that can cause you to pee throughout the night include:
- Urinary tract infection
- A tumor on the bladder or prostate
- Kidney infection
- Organ failure
Another medical condition associated with nighttime urination is sleep apnea. Most people know this condition as one that causes you to snore and have trouble breathing when you sleep.
But, the pressure on your airway from sleep apnea causes your body to produce more of a specific hormone. This hormone is called atrial natriuretic peptide. It increases your urge to urinate, especially at night. Many people who are diagnosed with sleep apnea have to be put on medications for frequent urination.
Some of these conditions might sound scary. But, they usually come with a variety of other symptoms, too. So, don’t assume that you have one of these health problems just because you’re frequently going to the bathroom at night. Just because you’re going to the bathroom 3 or 4 times a night doesn’t mean you have an infection of the bladder.
Other common causes include:
- Pregnancy: This is a stereotypical ‘side effect’ of pregnancy. Most women make more frequent trips to the bathroom throughout their pregnancy. But, it tends to get worse in later months as the baby gets bigger and presses against the bladder.
- Certain medications: Some medications can cause excess urination at night. Blood pressure medication is one of the most common culprits.
- Alcohol: Lifestyle choices can make a big difference in how often you go to the bathroom. Alcohol is a diuretic. When you drink, your body naturally produces more urine.
- Caffeine: Like alcohol, caffeine is a diuretic. Alcohol may have more damaging effects on the rest of the body. But, if you ingest a lot of caffeine on a regular basis, it could be why you’re going to the bathroom too much at night.
- Drinking too much fluid: Most people probably think the cause of their nighttime urination is drinking too much before bed. Sometimes, it is as simple as that. If none of these other conditions or situations apply to you, you could just be drinking too much. Others develop a habit of waking up in the night to pee.
How Do I Know I Have Nocturia?
Excessive nighttime urination is a good indicator that you have nocturia. But, it’s something that should get an official diagnosis from a doctor. When you do, you can better determine what’s causing it. This is especially important if the underlying cause is a health condition. But, before you even go to a doctor you can give yourself a head start by keeping track of your nighttime urination habits. Keep a log of the following information for a few days:
- When did the frequent urination start?
- How many times a night do you go to the bathroom?
- What are your other symptoms?
- Are you taking any medications?
You may also want to find out if you have any family history of bladder problems or a history of diabetes. This kind of information will help your doctor make a more precise diagnosis and know which tests to run.
How Do I Stop Urinating So Much at Night?
The treatment for nocturia depends on what’s causing it in the first place. Once you treat the condition, the side effect of peeing so much at night should go away, too. If the urge to go to the bathroom is caused by something like medication, you can talk to your doctor about making a switch. Or, you can try taking the medication earlier in the day.
Certain medications can be given to reduce the symptoms of an overactive bladder. There are also prescriptions that will cause your kidneys to produce less urine throughout the night. Either of these options can be useful if you’re going too frequently through the night.
If you have a condition like a urinary tract infection (UTI), it’s important to treat it as soon as possible. If you’re experiencing frequent urination suddenly for several nights, don’t ignore it. Conditions like these won’t go away on their own. In fact, they will usually get worse and spread. You may also be facing diabetes, which needs immediate treatment and care.
It may not always be easy to pinpoint what’s causing your urge to go to the bathroom overnight. But, if you don’t know what’s causing it, you can’t treat it the right way. Because there are so many possibilities, there are different types of treatment options. The right one is necessary to make sure this is a problem that doesn’t continue.
How Can I Prevent It?
There are a few ways you can reduce the effects of nocturia. Again, treating the condition that is causing it is the best way to prevent it from bothering you in the future. But, add these simple tips to your daily routine, and they can help to prevent you from going so much at night:
- Reduce liquid consumption before bed. Try to stop drinking anywhere from 2-4 hours before you plan on going to sleep. If you notice that you’re still going to the bathroom frequently, extend that time farther, or drink less throughout the day.
- Less alcohol and caffeine. As stated above, these substances can cause your body to produce more urine. Limit yourself to one drink if you have an alcoholic beverage. As far as caffeine, try to have it earlier in the day, rather than any time in the evening.
- Go to the bathroom before bedtime. You probably have a nighttime routine in place, so make sure urinating is part of it. Try to make it the last thing you do before you get into bed each night. It may help to reduce the urge to go long enough for you to fall asleep and get some rest.
- Avoid foods that irritate your bladder. This includes things like chocolate, spicy foods, and artificial sweeteners. Sometimes, a simple change in your diet can make it easier to stop urinating so much through the night.
Kegel Exercises to Stop Going to the Bathroom at Night
Another way to stop urinating so frequently during the night is to strengthen your pelvic floor. This can be done through Kegel exercises. When your pelvic muscles are stronger, it can reduce your urge to pee, and you can have more control over your bladder. Men and women can both do Kegel exercises and experience the benefits. What’s the best part? They don’t take long, and you can do them almost anywhere.
If you’ve never tried Kegel exercises below, keep reading for examples that both men and women can use.
For women: Start by finding your pelvic floor muscles. An excellent way to do this is to stop urinating halfway through. If you’re able to do this, you’ve already got some control over those muscles, and now you know which muscle group to focus on. To strengthen the pelvic floor, try this exercise:
- Lie down on your back if you’re new to the exercise. It can be done sitting or standing but may be easier when you’re lying down.
- Contract and tighten your pelvic floor muscles.
- Hold the contraction for 5-10 seconds, then relax for the same amount of time.
- Repeat this process five times in a row, working up to longer contractions as you get stronger.
- Avoid holding your breath throughout the process and only use your pelvic muscles, not your abdomen.
- Work up to 10 reps at a time, three times a day.
For men: Many people think that only women can enjoy the benefits of Kegels, but they can work wonders for men, too. They are beneficial for men who experience frequent urination or have poor bladder control. They can strengthen your pelvic muscles quickly once you start doing them correctly.
But, it’s important to find those muscles to begin with. Just like women, try stopping a stream of urination as you go. Or, focus on the muscles that keep you from passing gas when you’re trying to hold it in. Those are your pelvic floor muscles. Once you can focus on them, you can do Kegel exercises properly. You can follow the same steps listed above to start strengthening your pelvic floor. Make sure not to use your buttocks or abdomen when completing these exercises.
What Are the Risks of Not Getting Enough Sleep?
One of the biggest annoyances with waking up to pee so much is that it can be hard to get back to sleep. If you’re only waking up to urinate once a night, it may not be a big deal. But, three times or more can become a big problem and can affect your sleep.
Aside from being irritating, sleep deprivation is nothing to take lightly. It can lead to many different problems in your life and start to affect your health.
Some of the most common problems associated with not getting enough sleep include:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Low sex drive
- Aging of the skin
- Slow response times
There are many more ways in which a lack of sleep can negatively impact your health and your life. So, you can see how important it is to treat your nocturia as quickly and effectively as possible.
How Can I Get Back to Sleep?
If you’re still getting up to use the bathroom several times a night, it’s important to be able to go back to sleep as soon as possible. The more times you wake up, the harder this can be. But, there are a few things you can do to let your brain know it’s still time to rest. The better you can ‘trick’ your brain into thinking it’s time to sleep, the easier it will be to rest once you get back to bed. Keep these tips in mind to fall back asleep quickly:
- Keep the lights either off or dim on a low setting. It’s important to keep yourself safe, so make sure you can see. But, turning the lights on will cause your eyes to adjust, and your brain will think it’s daytime.
- Don’t talk to anyone while you’re up. Wear a good pair of earplugs to block out any background noise.
- Don’t engage in any other activities. Get up, go to the bathroom, and go back to bed without doing anything else, if possible.
- Keep your focus on going back to bed. It’s easy for our minds to start working in overdrive when we wake up throughout the night. It’s usually these thoughts that can make it so difficult to get back to sleep. Try not to overthink anything while you’re up.
- Don’t use electronics. It can be tempting to check your phone once you get up, or when you get back in bed. Unfortunately, the blue light emitted from most cell phones can make it difficult to get back to sleep. Once your brain is stimulated, it can take several minutes for it to calm down again. Plus, you could become distracted on your phone. Even if you only mean to check it quickly, it could end up wasting a lot of time.
Falling back to sleep right away can be difficult. But, if you’re getting up to go to the bathroom frequently, it’s imperative to be able to fall asleep quickly for your health. Try the techniques listed here to make the process of falling asleep again a little easier.
Most people who have the urge to use the bathroom in the middle of the night can find a treatment that works. More often than not, it’s either a medical condition or lifestyle issue causing the problem. Finding the cause will make it easier to treat.
Remember that you should get anywhere between 7-9 hours of sleep each night. If nocturia is disrupting your sleep, it’s not something to take lightly. Poor sleep can damage your health and your mental and emotional states.
We hope this guide has given you some insight into why you might be getting up so much to pee at night. It may not be an uncommon problem, but it’s not one you should have to live with forever.
If you’re worried about any of the medical conditions listed, get diagnosed by your doctor right away. Or, take the time to make a few lifestyle changes that may be able to help you sleep through the night.