Getting Sleep with an Overactive Bladder

After a long day, you’ve settled in bed under the covers for a good night's sleep. Just as your drifting off you feel a sudden wetness between your legs - something you haven’t felt since you were about 5 years old. You’ve wet the bed.

Sound familiar? If you find yourself getting up more than once during the six to eight hour period when you should be sleeping, you’re not alone. For the approximately 16% of people over the age of 18 who have an overactive bladder (OAB), this kind of upsetting incident can become a regular occurrence. Even if they make it to the bathroom in time, they wake up so often to urinate that they aren’t getting a good night’s sleep.

Generally, the amount of urine in our bodies decreases and becomes more concentrated at night, so we can sleep six or eight hours without having to get up to use the bathroom more than once. But many people with OAB have nocturia, the need to urinate several times a night, which interrupts their sleep cycles.

There are several lifestyle choices, health conditions and medications that affect the presence of nocturia. One of the most common is aging. That’s because the older we get, the less our bodies produce the hormone that tells our kidneys to take it easy while we’re resting. In addition, with age, the bladder becomes less elastic, so it can’t hold onto as much urine as it used to be able to. The result? Frequent trips to the restroom in the middle of the night.

According to researchers, nocturia has a significant impact on people’s overall health and wellbeing. It contributes to fatigue, memory issues, depression and anxiety, higher risk of heart disease, gastrointestinal distress and increased risk of falls. Sleep is tied to everything — and without it, our bodies suffer.

Even worse, those who are particularly sound sleepers or can’t get out of bed fast enough can wind up with wet sheets.

Preparation is everything. You might consider sleeping on a towel and keeping a box of baby wipes near the bed in case of accidents, but you can also take these steps to prevent accidents from happening:

  • Limit your fluid intake before bedtime. Try not to drink any liquids after 5 p.m. or 6 p.m.
  • Avoid foods and beverages that can irritate your bladder. If you can’t cut them out entirely, skip them in the hours before bedtime to help prevent nocturia.
  • Caffeine, which is a diuretic, which increases urine output
  • Alcohol can irritate your bladder
  • Avoid salty foods 3 hours before bed.
  • Use an Overnight Incontinence Pad or Overnight Incontinence Underwear

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