Waking up often to pee at night?
It’s called nocturia – when you frequently need to wake up, get up, and head to the bathroom.
While not a problem in itself, it disrupts your sleep and could indicate other issues with your general health.
You might be wondering if it’s better to get up and get it over with, or try to sleep through while you’re still drowsy.
We spoke to a doctor to find out what your peeing habits at night might indicate.
What might be causing the urge to pee?
Dr Hannah Barham-Brown says it’s best to go once you register you need it, but consider if you’re feeling the urge more than normal.
She says: ‘If you’re struggling with needing to pee a lot, or incontinence, do speak to your GP about it.
‘It might be worth considering some of the key triggers – caffeine, alcohol, stress, and how you can address these.
‘If you have an urge to go but you’ve recently been and you’re also very stressed, you could try some simple breathing exercises to see if you actually need to go, or whether your body is responding to that stress by making you feel you need a pee.’
How many times should you go at night?
Once or twice a night is normal for most people, especially if you drink before bed.
Dr Barham-Brown says: ‘Getting up to go throughout the night obviously disturbs your sleep, meaning you get less of it, and the sleep you get may not be such good quality.
‘Once or twice a night is ok, but if you’re struggling or it’s impacting on your life, do speak to your GP.
‘Similarly if you’re incontinent at night, doctors can help support you.’
Depending on how steady you are on your feet, getting up in the dark often could increase the risk of falls.
According to the Sleep Foundation, studies show that fall and fracture risks increase by at least 50% for people with two or more nighttime bathroom trips.
Are ‘just in case’ pees a good idea?
You might think this a smart move, but it could have negative long-term consequences.
‘The occasional “just in case” pee before a long car journey probably won’t do any harm, and can be quite sensible, but you don’t want to make a frequent habit of it.’ Dr Barham-Brown says.
‘Doing so too often may train your bladder to think it needs to empty when it isn’t as full as it should be, meaning you find yourself having to go more at other times.’
What might it say about your health?
Firstly, know what’s normal for you.
Dr Barham-Brown says noticing any changes is key, explaining: ‘If you’re going a lot at night, particularly if that’s a change for you, do see your doctor.
‘It could be a sign of prostate problems, a urinary tract infection, or diabetes, amongst other things.
‘It could also be linked to drinking too much caffeine or alcohol, or smoking.’
Waking up often too or struggling with insomnia could suggest issues with stress and even anxiety, and being awake might me making you pee more by default.
Ultimately, when in doubt, go to the doctor.
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