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How to stop your bladder ruining your sleep

How often do you lie awake at night trying to decide if you actually need to go and wasting precious sleep time? There’s nothing more disruptive to a good night’s sleep than frequent trips to the loo.

“Most people don’t get up at night to pee at all, or just get up once,” says Dr Sarah Jarvis. “If you’re regularly peeing more often than this, you may need to look at your lifestyle habits. If none of these apply, there could be other underlying causes.”

We spoke to her about the potential causes and ways to minimise nocturnal toilet trips (aka nocturia – believed to affect 14% of Brits.)

Limit salty foods before bed

“Eating salty foods makes you more thirsty. So, a late-night snack of popcorn or crisps means you may end up drinking more fluid without realising it, and therefore needing to pee overnight. If you’re struggling with late night visits to the loo, limiting your fluid intake within 2-3 hours of bedtime may help.”

Hold the G&Ts

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“If you drink alcohol in the evening, you’re very likely to be up needing the loo. Plus, because the dehydration it causes contributes to hangovers, common advice is to drink plenty of water before you go to bed to reduce this effect. The trouble is, even water close to bedtime makes you more likely to wake needing to pee, so there’s a double whammy effect. The simple solution? Avoid too much alcohol.”

Manage a sensitive bladder

“There are two main types of sensitive bladder. The most common is stress incontinence – this is due to weakness of the pelvic floor and leads to accidents when you cough, sneeze, run. It’s less likely to make you need to get up at night. With overactive bladder, there’s a mismatch in messages between your brain and bladder, which can result in sudden overwhelming urges to pee. People with overactive bladder may have to get up regularly at night.

“If you have overactive bladder, you could be sensitive to caffeine, so it’s worth a trial of cutting it out (in tea and cola, as well as coffee) to see if it helps. Pelvic floor exercises and bladder retraining can also make a huge difference. Your GP can help you devise a plan.”

“It also makes sense to look for a product designed especially for night-time wear; in particular, one designed for bladder leaks rather than sanitary pads. Sanitary pads are designed for relatively slow menstrual flow, rather than the sudden, large leaks seen in sensitive bladder.” Always Discreet pads and pants, including Maxi Night, offer total protection from leaks, giving you security and peace of mind, to help you sleep better at night.

Check your tablets

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“Water tablets (or diuretics) are commonly prescribed for high blood pressure, as well as some heart conditions. The clue is in the name - they’re designed to make you pee more. Most of them have a fairly short ‘half-life’ though, which means the maximum effect is in the first 4-6 hours after you take them. If you’re on diuretics, never take them after about 5pm.”

Keep a diary

“Knowing whether you’re just peeing frequently at night, or if it's in the day as well, can help your doctor decide what’s causing your symptoms. For instance, feeling more thirsty than usual and passing more urine in the day and at night, could be a sign of diabetes. If your symptoms have come on suddenly and are accompanied by burning or stinging when you pee and low tummy pain, cystitis could be more likely to blame.

“It’s worth keeping a diary of your fluid intake, when and how much you pee and any other symptoms you have over a few days, to speak to your doctor about.”

Decide if you actually need the loo

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Sometimes we decide to go to the loo just because we’re awake. But, needing the loo isn’t the cause of your sleepless night. Ensure you’re following a good sleep routine by cutting out blue light before bed, trying to sleep and wake at consistent times, and ensuring you have the best bedroom set up for sleep.

If you have a sensitive bladder, don’t let it keep you awake. Always Discreet offers a wide range of products designed to make a sensitive bladder feel like no big deal.