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5 Proven Tactics to Reduce Nighttime Bathroom Visits
So, you are fed up with having to get up out of your bed at night to pee and 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 woken up 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 in 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 article 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.
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 the size of the prostate gland can lead to problems with urination, including dribbling, reduced flow, etc. If you have these symptoms, please see your medical adviser - it is important to catch any problems as early as possible.
How 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.
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.
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. This can also include eating juicy fruit, such as apples or oranges, as these are mostly water.
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 and reduces the length of time you spend sitting. 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.
3. 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.
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.
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 oat bran 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.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2012 DreamerMeg
Have you any tips to pass on to help reduce the number of night-time bathroom visits?
DreamerMeg (author) from Northern Ireland on May 17, 2020:
Hi Beth, thanks for visiting. Yes, problems arise as we get older. I would miss my last cup of coffee, though I did without any tea or coffee for 7 months last year and it did help.
Beth Perry from Tennesee on May 17, 2020:
Very informative article, Meg. I know years ago I had to give up drinking coffee till the wee hours or inevitably would have to make frequent bathroom trips during the night.
Today I have a similar issue with my blood pressure meds; I have to take the second dosages before turning in and unfortunately they tend to interrupt sleep this way.
DreamerMeg (author) from Northern Ireland on March 09, 2020:
Thank you very much Denise
Denise McGill from Fresno CA on March 08, 2020:
This is very helpful, especially the exercises. Thanks.
DreamerMeg (author) from Northern Ireland on November 29, 2019:
I am glad your wife found it helpful. This article is not for infections, that needs help from a doctor. After the uti has cleared, then I hope the exercises will help.
Luis G Asuncion from City of San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan, Philippines on November 29, 2019:
As I am looking for some exercises article in which my wife gonna need. She had a UTI based on the causes and symptoms she experiencing. I found this one. Thanks for sharing it.
DreamerMeg (author) from Northern Ireland on November 02, 2019:
I am glad to know that the article fits with the advice you got from the clinic. I used to be able to go straight back to sleep but these days, it's more of a problem if I get up in the night, so i try to make sure I do not need to.
Diana Grant from United Kingdom on October 31, 2019:
I went to a clinic and was given lots of the advice you give here - it helped me a lot, but after a period of fewer problems, one tends to forget to do the exercises so this was a good reminder of all the things which help. I was not aware that caffeine can cause night time urinary problems so will bear that in mind. Fortunately although I wake up at night for the usual reason, I am a good sleeper, and go back to sleep almost as soon as my head hits the pillow.
DreamerMeg (author) from Northern Ireland on October 16, 2018:
It's definitely no fun. Good luck.
david ladson on October 16, 2018:
i experience frequent urination and it is no fun, so i will try some of the exercises and see what happens
DreamerMeg (author) from Northern Ireland on March 24, 2018:
Could you expand on this please? I have never heard of eating popcorn to reduce the number of night time bathroom visits.
R f schmidt on March 23, 2018:
Try eating some popcorn close to your bedtime.
DreamerMeg (author) from Northern Ireland on December 04, 2017:
Thanks for visiting Nell. No, I agree tea in bed doesn't help with staying asleep. It's the biscuit crumbs that really annoy me, though!
Nell Rose from England on February 28, 2017:
I tend to get up loads in the night, but drinking tea in bed really doesn't help! lol! great advice.
DreamerMeg (author) from Northern Ireland on January 03, 2017:
Hi Mel, thanks for visiting and I agree, alcohol is not a good sleep aid.
Mel Carriere from Snowbound and down in Northern Colorado on January 03, 2017:
Great tips. I really only go one time at night, but it takes me forever to crawl out of bed for that one time, and my dreams change to water related themes, if you get my point. One thing I might add is that I don't think alcohol is good before bedtime. Unless one drinks to the point of complete inebriation and passes out, alcohol is not a sleep aid.
DreamerMeg (author) from Northern Ireland on October 27, 2016:
Long may it continue @Billybuc. Thank you for visiting and commenting
Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on October 27, 2016:
As I get older...and older...and older...I imagine this is something I'll have to deal with, but so far, so good. :) I still sleep through the night like a baby. An old baby but still, a baby. :)
DreamerMeg (author) from Northern Ireland on September 22, 2015:
@Paul Kuehn and @ pstraublie48 Thank you both for your comments.
Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on September 22, 2015:
No doubt those who suffer with getting up to use the bathroom at night will find this quite helpful.
Thankfully I do not have this problem but do know some who do. I will share this with them as I think they may be unfamiliar with exercises you cited.
Angels are on the way to you ps
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Paul Richard Kuehn from Udorn City, Thailand on September 22, 2015:
I have to get up sometimes four times during a nine hour period at night when I am sleeping. The problem is that I have an enlarged prostate and recently had one kidney removed. My urologist has given me medication which I am sure makes me urinate one every three hours or so. Thanks for sharing some very good tips. I am sharing this hub with my HP followers.
DreamerMeg (author) from Northern Ireland on June 20, 2015:
Thank you very much and thank you for visiting.
Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on June 19, 2015:
This hub contains some very useful information. Thanks for sharing all the tips for helping people to sleep through the night without needing to visit the bathroom.
Nicu from Oradea, Romania on February 17, 2015:
This was really helpful. I didn't know that there are some exercises good for this. Thanks for sharing these good informations.
DreamerMeg (author) from Northern Ireland on July 01, 2014:
The exercises are useful anyway. Thanks for visiting and commenting.
Dianna Mendez on July 01, 2014:
Great suggestions and I'll try the exercise just to keep all well.
DreamerMeg (author) from Northern Ireland on November 18, 2013:
Thanks for visiting and I hope your visits to the bathroom will reduce at night.
JPSO138 from Cebu, Philippines, International on November 18, 2013:
It was only up to now that I know that such exercise is also good for such problem. I will surely try it out since I do visit the toilet on several occasion late at night. They are my obstacles to a good night sleep. Thanks for the information and up for this hub...
DreamerMeg (author) from Northern Ireland on October 22, 2013:
You're welcome. Hope one of these tips helps you. Thanks for visiting and commenting.
Suzette Walker from Taos, NM on October 22, 2013:
Every night at 3 pm - toilet run! LOL Thanks for these suggestions - I never thought about exercising helping the problem. Thanks so much.
DreamerMeg (author) from Northern Ireland on July 22, 2013:
Very true! Thanks
Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on July 21, 2013:
Very useful info and I've practically seen that caffeine, cola and tea apart from drinking water late in the day causes increased visits to the bathroom at night.
Voted up and useful.
DreamerMeg (author) from Northern Ireland on June 15, 2013:
Thanks very much for your comment.
Mary Hyatt from Florida on June 15, 2013:
You have written a very informative Hub here. I am lucky that I do sleep all night without having to get up. I limit my water intake after 8 pm. I lost a kidney (wrote a Hub about that), so I drink lots of water during the day to keep from getting stones in my good kidney.
I have a friend who complains about getting up at night, but she drinks coffee all day! Gee, I wonder why....
Voted this UP, and will share.
DreamerMeg (author) from Northern Ireland on September 11, 2012:
Thank you very much for your comment (and vote).
visionandfocus from North York, Canada on September 11, 2012:
You tackled this important subject very thoroughly and included some excellent videos. As the urologist says, most people don't realise the pelvic floor is part of our core muscles. As they're not "glamour" muscles, these important muscles tend to get neglected. You did a great job with this very informative and well laid out hub. Voted up!
DreamerMeg (author) from Northern Ireland on September 02, 2012:
FigureCompetition from Northern Ireland on September 02, 2012:
Very useful information - squats are a great exercise and should be coupled with pelvic floor exercises as you suggest to ensure you get the full benefits from exercising complimentary muscles
DreamerMeg (author) from Northern Ireland on September 02, 2012:
Thanks very much. Glad you liked it.
Theresa Ast from Atlanta, Georgia on September 02, 2012:
Excellent advice. Very helpful. Great hub.