5 Tips to Reduce Nighttime Bathroom Visits
5 Proven Tactics To Reduce Nighttime Bathroom Visits
So, you want to eliminate—or at least reduce—the need to visit the bathroom in the night? Many people, as they age, find they need to use the bathroom more frequently, and this can often disrupt their sleep. It can be harder to get back to sleep once you have awakened than it was to drop off when you first got into bed, so it can be helpful to reduce the need to use the bathroom in the first place. Here are some basic tactics that may help you reach your goal.
Do Not Follow This Advice If...
Before you try anything on this article, please note that it is not aimed at anyone with kidney disease, kidney stones, or any other kidney problem, nor anyone who uses a diuretic (a tablet to prevent water retention). It is also NOT suitable for pregnant women. If you have a kidney problem or use diuretic tablets, please follow your medical adviser's advice. This hub is aimed at those who may be getting older and are finding that they have to visit the bathroom more often than when they were younger, but otherwise have no other general health problems. This hub does NOT provide medical advice.
First, ask yourself whether you might have a urinary tract infection (UTI). Also called a bladder infection, this is one of the commonest reasons for having to visit the bathroom frequently, both day and night. The symptoms of a urinary infection include:
- Pain when passing water, or there may be a burning sensation;
- You may need to urinate urgently or you may dribble because you are unable to control the flow, even though there are only small amounts of urine to be passed;
- Blood in the urine, or it may look pinkish or red or cloudy;
- Your lower abdomen and your back may feel painful, tender or heavy.
If you have these symptoms, or suspect you may have a bladder infection, please make an appointment with your medical adviser as soon as possible.
Men - prostate trouble
For men, an increase in size in the prostate gland can lead to problems with urination, including dribbling, reduced flow, etc. If you have these problems, please see your medical adviser.
To reduce bathroom visits
Provided you do not fall into the categories above (kidney problems, bladder infection, taking diuretics, prostate trouble, etc) you may wish to try the following to reduce your number of visits to the bathroom at night:
Tactic # 1 - Cut Late Caffeine
Reduce the amount of caffeine you drink late in the day. To maximize the key benefits of this you'll need to cut out or cut down on the amount of caffeine you are drinking in the evening. This includes not only tea and coffee but also many so-called "soft" drinks, such as cola and even some sports drinks. If you enjoy bottled drinks, check the ingredients' list to see if it includes caffeine. If you are thirsty in the evening, drink plain water or milk, instead of a caffeinated drink. You may need to experiment to see if you have a natural "cut-off" time, after which you should not drink caffeine if you want an undisturbed night's sleep. This might be 6pm, or even 4pm.
Tactic # 2 - Reduce Late Liquid
Reduce the amount of liquid you drink late in the day. This typically is successful because the number of times you visit the bathroom is related to the amount of liquid you drink and how recently you drank it. Liquid takes a little while to pass through your system but not too long.
Note: this is NOT a suggestion that you reduce the amount of liquid you consume overall. The amount you drink is up to you and will depend on your own needs, the climate you live in and the amount of physical work or exercise you do to lose water through sweating. Just shift the major part of your consumption away from the evening. Drink it a bit earlier in the day, when you will be able to get rid of it without having to get up from bed. Drinking it while at work, if you work in an office, can be a good option, as it gets you up from your desk. Please ensure that you do NOT allow yourself to get dehydrated.This most especially applies to pregnant women - you need to stay hydrated. If you are exercising in the evening, you will need to continue to drink water (not coffee, tea or cola) to ensure you do not get dehydrated.
Tactic # 3 - pelvic floor exercises
Try pelvic floor exercises. These exercises are useful for both men and women. Women aren't the only ones who may have a weak pelvic floor and pelvic floor exercises may be very beneficial in helping you reduce the number of visits in the night. These can lead to a reduced need to visit the bathroom at night. The easiest pelvic floor exercise is one you can do while standing in a queue. No one will know you are exercising! It's just to squeeze the muscles that control the flow of urine and hold for a count of 10. Repeat 4 or 5 times. Increase the length of time you hold the muscles and the number of times you do this as your muscle control improves. You can also practise this while on the toilet. Try stopping the flow of urine mid-stream and then continuing.
You can see a video by a doctor explaining why you need to improve muscle strength and how to do this on Youtube in the capsule below.
Another exercise is a "hip raise". This is where you lie flat on the floor on your back (please be careful if you have back problems) and then draw your feet up, so they are flat on the floor and your knees are sticking up into the air in a "v" shape. Now, carefully lift your hips off the floor and squeeze your glutes (your buttocks) tightly together for the count of 10 and then release. Repeat 4 or 5 times. You can see a youtube video on this in the capsule below.
Pelvic Floor exercises
Tactic # 4 - do squats and abdominal crunches
Try doing some squat exercises. With this you have to be careful about your back if you have not been used to doing much exercise or have generally done very little movement., and also you need to be careful of your balance. Squats are an essential addition to the pelvic floor exercises, providing a different kind of stretch to the pelvic floor muscles. You need both these types of exercise to help strengthen the pelvis and improve your bladder control. Check out this Youtube video in the capsule below for how to do squats using something for support.
Abdominal crunches can also help improve muscle control.
Tactic # 5 - deal with constipation
Constipation may not be thought of as a reason for visiting the toilet more often both day and night but it can reduce the space available within your abdomen for the bladder. This means the bladder holds less, before it tells you that it's full. If you suffer from constipation, dealing with this can help you reduce the number of visits you pay to the bathroom. Constipation can be improved by eating more fruit and vegetables, including salad vegetables, to increase the roughage in your diet. You can also increase roughage by adding oatbran to cereals or eating whole cereals, including porridge. For those on diets, you can take psyllium husks, a natural fibre with no calories, no fat, no protein and no dietary carbohydrate.
Few things are guaranteed, of course, however, in most cases, if you try out the above 5 tips, your chances of getting good results with improved bladder control, as well as reducing the need to visit the bathroom during the night are likely to be greater.