What's Causing Your Frequent Nighttime Bathroom Trips?

When You Keep Getting Up to Pee

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Waking up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom is not a good experience. Once you get to sleep, the last thing you need is a full bladder waking you up. For some people, these awakenings may even make it difficult to fall back asleep, and this may be a symptom of insomnia.

How can you decrease the need to urinate at night? Fortunately, there are a few changes that you can make that will help you to stay asleep and, if you do awaken, fall back asleep more easily.

First, however, it's a good idea to track down the cause.

Causes of Frequent Bathroom Trips

There are a number of reasons why you might wake up frequently at night to urinate. The causes may be dependent on your age, medical conditions, or the personal habits you have at night. With any of these, it is best to talk to your doctor about any concerns you have.

Children

It is uncommon for younger people to get up in the night to pee. Children may have enuresis or bedwetting, but they typically outgrow this. There are also a number of effective behavioral treatments and medications that can help.

If your child is making frequent trips to the bathroom, it could be a sign of another medical condition or even a sleep disorder such as sleep apnea

Nocturia as You Age

As we age, our ability to concentrate urine overnight declines. This means that the bladder fills more quickly, which prompts a trip to the bathroom.

When urination occurs during the night, it is called nocturia.

In particular, men who are middle-aged or older may develop urinary frequency as part of benign prostate enlargement. Nocturia may also be part of medical conditions such as diabetes, chronic kidney disease, or heart failure.

Nocturia is also a common side effect of taking diuretic blood pressure medications.

These are sometimes called "water pills" and include Lasix (furosemide).

Sleep Apnea

It is also important to treat sleep apnea because this can also lead to nocturia. There are two major reasons for this. 

Sleep apnea leads to fragmented sleep. Deeper stages of sleep are disrupted by disrupted breathing and this means you spend more time in light sleep. In these lighter stages, you will naturally become more aware of how full your bladder is. In addition, research suggests that sleep apnea itself triggers the release of hormones that increase the need to urinate at night, particularly as we age.

Nighttime Habits

There are some causes of nighttime urination that can be controlled. Drinking an excessive amount of water before going to bed will increase the likelihood of having to urinate during the night. Caffeine, which works as a stimulant, is also a mild diuretic that can increase urination.

The best thing you can do is to reduce how much you drink at night. This is especially true in the four to six hours before bedtime.

How to Get Back to Sleep

If you do wake during the night to pee, try to minimize the amount of light that you expose yourself to. By using a small nightlight in the bathroom rather than turning on the main light, it can be easier to fall back asleep.

It's also best to limit your activities. Make a quick trip to the bathroom and return promptly to bed. Try to avoid wandering around the house, getting a snack or drink, or becoming distracted by other tasks.

A Word From Verywell

By decreasing the frequency of trips to the bathroom to pee, you can get a better night's sleep. Do your best to change any nighttime habits that may be causing it and keep any stimuli low that may prevent you from falling back asleep. If you have or suspect a medical condition may be provoking it, speak with your doctor because changes in your treatment may help as well.

Source:

Kujubu DA, Aboseif SR. An Overview of Nocturia and the Syndrome of Nocturnal Polyuria in the Elderly. Nature Clinical Practice Nephrology. 2008;4(8):426–35. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ncpneph0856

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