Not getting a good night’s sleep can really throw you off for the whole day. Nothing feels quite right. That’s why waking up with a full bladder multiple times a night can be more than just a momentary annoyance - those few extra trips to the toilet can have a big effect. Sure, getting up to go in the middle of the night is fairly common, but if it happens two or more times a night, it may be a sign that something isn’t quite right.
Urinating at night, also known as nocturia, can make it hard to get the rest you need. Sometimes nocturia is due to a urinary tract infection or because of drinking too much too close to bedtime. Other times, nocturia is a result of your body producing too much urine. This is usually due to an underlying medical problem that should be ruled out with your doctor, such as:
- Bladder infection
- Kidney infection
- Bladder prolapse
- Edema, or swelling of the lower legs
- Sleep apnea
- Liver failure
- Neurological diseases, such as Alzheimers or Parkinson’s
More plainly, urinating at night can also be a symptom of having an overactive bladder.
Overactive bladder, or OAB, is caused by bladder muscles that spasm and contract involuntarily – even when your bladder isn’t full. This can send you running to the toilet – or, as can be the case with nighttime incontinence, wetting the bed. Overactive bladder is often the result of nerve damage caused by previous pelvic surgery, or of a neurological disease such as multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s. In some cases, a particularly difficult birthing process can cause damage to the surrounding muscles, tissues, and nerves surrounding the bladder, leaving you with a sensitive bladder.
Our bodies produce less urine while we’re sleeping. However, this means that the urine we do produce is more concentrated and acidic, which can aggravate a sensitive bladder, causing it to spasm and wake you up having to pee.
On occasion, nighttime incontinence can leave you with some wet sheets to grapple with in the morning. If you have a sensitive bladder that spasms involuntarily, you may not wake up in time to use the toilet. Nighttime incontinence of this sort is best remedied through lifestyle adjustments.
With a little planning, you can get your sleep back on track. Here are some small tweaks you can make to keep your bladder from getting between you and that long, restful sleep you need.
Avoid drinking anything, including water, after a set time every night. Some people find that not drinking any liquids three to four hours before bedtime is most effective for limiting nighttime urination and nighttime incontinence. But if you do this, don’t limit your daily hydration - it’s critical to get enough water throughout the day! Play around with your liquid cut-off time to see what works best for you. A little tinkering with your routine and you may be well on your way to saying goodbye to incontinence at night.
- Stick to bladder-friendly liquids
Certain liquids are known to stimulate an overactive bladder, causing it to spasm, and jolt you out of your sweet dreams with the sudden urge to go. Caffeine is a known diuretic and stimulant, which means it increases bladder activity. This is not something you want if you already have an overactive bladder, especially if you’re prone to incontinence at night.
While caffeinated and alcoholic beverages are the biggest and most well-known culprits here , did you know that fizzy drinks like sparkling water or carbonated soft drinks are also bladder irritants? The “fizz” in carbonated drinks can irritate your bladder. It’s best to steer clear.
Empty your bladder twice before you go to bed. It may be helpful to go to the toilet once before brushing your teeth, and then once more right after this so that any urine that wasn’t emptied out the first time around comes out on the second try.
Some medications can relax your bladder muscles, thereby reducing their spasming. Talk to your doctor to see if this is an appropriate plan of action for your nighttime incontinence symptoms and lifestyle.
- Wear urinary protection, like ALWAYS DISCREET
Until you have your nighttime urination prevention tactics pinned down, try wearing products designed for bladder leaks such as ALWAYS DISCREET liners, pads, and underwear to protect against incontinence at night. They absorb liquids and odours within seconds, to help you stay comfortable for a good night’s sleep. Plus, they come in different sizes and absorbencies to meet a wide range of protection needs.