If you constantly have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, then you suffer from a condition called nocturia and it might mean that you are also suffering from a more serious health concern. However, even if you have your health under control, urinating in the middle of the night can be bothersome because it requires you to wake up, get out of bed, and run the risk of being unable to fall back asleep before the next urge to visit the bathroom hits you. Luckily, there are a couple of easy ways to minimize how often you have to wake up in the middle of the night.
Reschedule when you take your blood pressure medication.
Many types of drugs can cause you to go visit the bathroom more often than you might like to. Many high blood pressure medications, for example, are diuretics, meaning they make you produce more urine than you should. Diuretics increase kidney function, which causes them to filter sodium out of your blood more often than you might be used to. By filtering various nutrients out of your blood, you end up with a reduced volume of blood in your body. Your heart and blood vessels do not have to work as hard if you have less blood in your body, which can be very good for your blood pressure. However, it does mean that your kidneys will start to work much more effectively than they normally would. Therefore, blood pressure medication can cause some nocturia if you take it before bed.
If you can, you should definitely try to take the medication as early in your day as possible. You will still have to go to the bathroom a lot, but you will not have to wake up in the middle of the night to do it. Blood pressure medication is not the only diuretic. Antidepressants, antibiotics, and painkillers can all cause nocturia for various reasons.
Pay more attention to your fluid intake.
There are a couple of reasons why you might have nocturia and one possibility is that your body is making more urine than it should. One way to limit how much urine your body makes is to limit how much you drink. You obviously need fluids to prevent dehydration, but you do not want your body to excrete these fluids in the middle of your sleep. You want to process all the fluids before going to bed or else you will have to wake up at night to go visit the bathroom. Therefore, you can keep drinking fluids all day, but you should stop a couple of hours before you go to bed.
The fluids that you are drinking during the day should be mostly water, but juices and milk is also fine. However, you want to avoid drinks like coffee. When caffeine ends up in your urine, your bladder feels irritated and wants to expel it quickly, so you urinate more often if you are drinking coffee. Alcohol can also cause you to go to the bathroom more often. Alcohol is a diuretic because it inhibits a hormone that is usually responsible for slowing down urine production. When alcohol stops this hormone from working, you will urinate often and it might affect your sleep schedule.
Monitor your diet.
While you should definitely monitor your fluid intake in a way that minimizes nighttime bathroom visits, you should also monitor your diet. After all, medications and fluids are not the only things that behave as a diuretic. Certain foods can cause your body to produce more urine as well. Your blood pressure medication might be acting to filter extra sodium out of your blood; however, if you never had that extra sodium in the first place, you might be able to limit how often you go to the bathroom.
To limit the amount of sodium in your blood, you will have to stay away from foods that contain salt. If you have high blood pressure, then you are probably already limiting your salt intake. However, if you do not have high blood pressure, it might be a good idea to start avoiding salty foods. The more salt that you have in your bloodstream, the more your kidneys will have to work. When you kidneys pull enough salt out of your blood, you produce urine. Without high amounts of salt, the process of producing urine can be much slower. As a result, you are less likely to need to visit the bathroom at night.
Wear compression socks to bed.
The effects of gravity on your body change when you are not standing up. Depending on how gravity is affecting your body, certain fluids will build up in various parts of your body. When you lie down, for example, fluid sometimes tends to build up around your lower extremities. The fluid can put pressure on your legs and decrease pressure on your blood vessels, which can actually cause you to feel the urge to go to the bathroom, even when your bladder is not quite full. Compression socks can prevent too much fluid from getting into your legs.
If you ever notice that your legs are swollen, compression socks might not be enough. Swollen legs are a sign that you have a lot of fluid in your legs regardless of what gravity is doing to your body. You should definitely talk to your doctor about finding ways to reduce the swelling. You can also try to get rid of some of this fluid out of your legs by elevating your legs and feet. It might not do much to ease the swelling, but it can force some of the fluid to get redistributed to the rest of your body. A small amount of fluid redistribution can be enough to stop unnecessary bladder stimulation.
Nocturia can be a sign of a couple of serious health concerns, including bladder problems, enlarged prostate, and even sleep apnea. Therefore, you should definitely talk to a healthcare provider if you visit that bathroom in the middle of the night. Once you make sure that you are healthy, you can treat your nocturia with a few very simple tricks.