Waking up to urinate during the night is nothing to be ashamed of, but frequent bathroom breaks during the night can be annoying and disrupt sleep.

Waking up more than once during the night to urinate is technically called “nocturia” and can happen to anyone at any age.

If you experience nocturia regularly, you are not alone. “It’s one of the most common things that draws people to the urologist, men and women,” Dr. Jennifer Lloyd-Harris, a surgeon and assistant professor of urology at the University of California’s Perelman School of Medicine, tells TODAY.com. Pennsylvania.

Urinating at night isn’t always something to worry about, but it can be a sign of an underlying health problem. How often is it too frequent to urinate at night? Why is this happening and what can be done about it?

How many times is it ‘normal’ to urinate at night?

“It’s normal for most people not to wake up to urinate at night,” Shelby Harris, Psy.D., a clinical psychologist specializing in sleep medicine and director of sleep health at Sleepopolis, tells TODAY.com.

Typically, people should be able to sleep between six and eight hours a night without needing to get up to urinate, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

The normal amount of urine the body produces tends to decrease during the night while we sleep, says Lloyd-Harris.

However, some people wake up to urinate most nights. “I would say one or maybe two (sometimes) is in the realm of normal, considering maybe that second time is right before you wake up,” Lloyd-Harris says.

Regular urination more than once a night is considered nocturia. “If you wake up to go to the bathroom two or more times a night, it’s a good idea to talk to a doctor,” says Harris.

Frequent urination during the night can disrupt sleep and cause tiredness, fatigue, or lack of sleep over time. It may also be a symptom of an underlying health condition.

Reasons for urinating at night

There are many reasons for frequent urination at night; It is often multifactorial and requires some investigation to get to the root cause, says Lloyd-Harris.

Possible causes range from behavioral habits to chronic diseases and aging or pregnancy. These can cause increased frequency or urgency to urinate, excessive urine production, or bladder problems that can lead to nocturia.

drinking too many fluids

One of the most obvious causes of nighttime urination is drinking too much fluid. “How much you drink and how close you are to bedtime are important,” says Lloyd-Harris.

Although the body produces less urine at night, the kidneys continue to function. “(After) drinking, it will take a few hours for the body and kidneys to process the liquid,” Lloyd-Harris says.

The more fluids you consume and the closer to bedtime, the more urine you will produce. When the bladder is full, the body will feel that it is time to go wake you up.

What you drink matters too. “Alcohol irritates the bladder, so it can certainly cause nocturnal urination and the same goes for caffeinated drinks, which are diuretics (promoting fluid loss through urine),” says Lloyd-Harris.

Overactive bladder

Another possible cause of nocturia is overactive bladder, a condition common in both men and women, experts say.

“The bladder is a big muscle, so when it contracts, you have that urge to urinate,” says Lloyd-Harris. Bladder overactivity occurs when that muscle contracts on its own, even when the volume of urine in the bladder is low, according to the Mayo Clinic.

This can cause frequent, sudden urges to urinate that can be difficult to control, both day and night.

Most people urinate seven to eight times a day, but this varies depending on the individual and factors such as age and lifestyle. People with overactive bladder tend to urinate eight or more times a day or two or more times a night, according to the National Library of Medicine.

An overactive bladder can be caused by various health conditions, medications, hormonal changes, and neurological disorders.


In addition to bladder problems, certain infections can also cause frequent nighttime urination, says Harris. These include urinary tract infections, bladder infections, and kidney infections.

In addition to an increased need or frequency to urinate, infections can also cause a burning sensation when urinating, abdominal pain, pressure, and fever.

“If someone has that frequency at night, I wouldn’t necessarily suspect they have an infection, but if there’s an acute change, that may be a good reason to get tested to rule out an infection,” Lloyd-Harris says.

prostate enlargement

Frequent urination at night is also a symptom of an enlarged prostate, also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH, according to the National Library of Medicine.

The prostate, which is part of the male reproductive system, is located just below the bladder. An enlarged prostate can put pressure on the bladder and urethra, which can increase the need and frequency of urination.

An enlarged prostate can also make it difficult to empty the bladder. “They may urinate right before bed and feel empty, but they will get up frequently during the night,” Lloyd-Harris says.

Although BPH is not related to prostate cancer, the two conditions can cause similar symptoms, including frequent urination at night, according to the National Cancer Institute. Always talk to your doctor about any concerns and have regular prostate exams.


“Diabetes and “Its treatment can cause nocturia,” explains Lloyd-Harris. Frequent urination is a common symptom of diabetes, especially when it is undiagnosed or poorly controlled.

High blood glucose levels cause the kidneys to work overtime to remove excess sugar, which ends up in the urine along with other fluids from the body’s tissues, causing excessive thirst and frequent urination, according to the Mayo Clinic. .

Fluid buildup in the legs, a common symptom of diabetes, can also contribute to nocturia, Lloyd-Harris notes.

In addition to increased frequency of urination, other symptoms of diabetes include increased hunger, feeling more tired than usual, and blurred vision.

Other chronic conditions that can increase nighttime urination include heart disease, kidney disease, and high blood pressure.


Some medications can increase the frequency of nighttime urination, says Lloyd-Harris. These include diuretics or diuretics, beta blockers, anticholinergics, and some antidepressants.

Diuretics or medications with diuretic effects should be taken at least six to eight hours before bedtime to minimize the effects on nocturia, according to the National Library of Medicine.

It’s also important to pay attention to how much water you drink with the medications you take before bed, experts say. Even if a medication alone does not increase the risk of nocturia, try to limit water consumption to a few sips.

Sleep disorders

Sometimes sleep disorders and disturbances can cause nocturia, experts say. It’s kind of a chicken and egg situation.

“Sometimes it can be difficult to discern whether someone is waking up at night to urinate or whether they are urinating because they are awake,” says Lloyd-Harris.

Sleep apnea and insomnia, which can cause a person to wake up during the night, often go hand in hand with nocturia.

“When something disturbs your sleep or you have a reduced threshold for waking up, you may also urinate,” Lloyd-Harris says. Snoring partners, crying children and needy pets can prevent deep sleep and make it easier to wake up and urinate, he adds.

We know that spending too much time in front of a screen is not good for sleep, but it can also increase nighttime urination, according to a new study in Neurology and Urodynamics.

Researchers analyzed data from a US survey of 13,294 participants, ages 20 and older, between 2011 and 2016, and found that 32% experienced nocturia. Of those, people who spent five or more hours a day watching television or videos during the day were 48% more likely to experience nocturia than those who watched less than an hour a day.

Does urinating at night disturb sleep?

“Waking up multiple times during the night to go to the bathroom can lead to sleep fragmentation, meaning sleep is interrupted,” Harris says. Disrupted sleep can prevent you from reaching deeper, more restorative stages of sleep, she adds.

“Because of this, you may wake up tired, groggy, or less refreshed in the morning,” says Harris.

Over time, disrupted sleep can lead to sleep deprivation, which can increase the risk of cardiovascular problems, diabetes, kidney disease, Alzheimer’s and mental health disorders, among many other long-term health problems, TODAY.com reported. previously.

“One of the first things that attracts people (to nocturia) is that it disrupts sleep,” Lloyd-Harris says.

How is it possible that people urinate less at night?

When nighttime urination is the result of certain behaviors, a few simple habits can help control the condition. Experts recommend these tips to avoid frequent trips to the bathroom at night:

  • Restrict fluid intake 3-4 hours before bedtime.

  • Reduce alcohol and caffeine consumption at night.

  • Use the bathroom before going to bed.

  • Take diuretics earlier in the day.

  • Wear compression socks or stockings.

  • Elevate your legs during the day.

  • Keep a diary of your nighttime urination habits.

If the problem becomes chronic or persists despite making these changes, talk to your doctor to rule out any underlying health problems, experts emphasize.

This article was originally published on TODAY.com

By Sam