Many people need to use the toilet more frequently as they age. At night, this can disrupt sleep and leave you feeling irritable, stressed and tired throughout the day. This common condition is called nocturia.
There are things that you can do to reduce frequent night-time trips and hopefully stop them altogether.
Here are five things to try to improve your bladder control and help you sleep more soundly.
1. Reduce your salt intake
Nagasaki University researchers recently presented evidence to the European Society of Urology that reducing salt in your diet could help curb those annoying trips to the bathroom in the middle of the night. The researchers studied 321 adults suffering nocturia who had either a high or moderately high-salt diet. For 12 weeks, 223 participants cut their high daily salt intake from 10.7g to 8g. They experienced a near 50 per cent reduction in the frequency of night-time urination – from 2.3 times a night to 1.4. The other 98 adults increased their moderately high salt intake from 9.6g to 11g. This group’s need for night-time urination rose from 2.3 times a night to 2.7.
2. Do pelvic floor exercises
Weak pelvic floor muscles can reduce your bladder control. Even if you are not experiencing a weak bladder yet, getting a head start now could stop this issue cropping up in future. If you are experiencing the problem, you can still improve your control with regular pelvic floor exercises. If you are unsure where your pelvic floor muscles are or how to exercise them, check out our guide to pelvic floor health.
3. Reduce your caffeine intake
Your morning cuppa isn’t doing your bladder much harm, but drinking coffee or any caffeinated beverage later in the afternoon will affect how many trips to the toilet you make overnight. As evening approaches, you should stop your caffeine intake, this includes any soft drinks that may be caffeinated. Try drinking water or milk instead. This will not only reduce your urge to go to the toilet, but it will help you get a better night’s sleep. It may even help your bone density, particularly if you start drinking milk as a replacement.
4. Cut out late night liquids
The number of times you visit the bathroom is related to the amount of liquid you drink and how recently you drank it. If you cut off your liquid intake early enough before you go to bed you will be able to reduce the problem. You should not reduce the amount that you drink throughout the day, just try and get more water into your body earlier in the day and drink less at night or late evening.
5. Lift your fibre intake
If you suffer from constipation, your full bowel can reduce the space available within your abdomen for the bladder. This means that the bladder holds less fluid and tells you that it is full earlier than otherwise. A high-fibre diet is one of the best ways to ensure you stay regular but there are other things you can do to address the problem.
Do you suffer from nocturia? Do you have any tips you would like to share?